Pinault Says Luxury Industry Faces Shortage of Non-Design Talent

François-Henri Pinault | Photo: Virgile Guinard

PARIS, France — The fashion and luxury-goods industry is facing a shortage of skilled workers, according to Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive officer of Kering SA, the owner of the Gucci brand.

“We’re struggling to find key people” in functions such as product development, visual merchandising, marketing and communication, Pinault said in an interview today in Milan, where Kering and Vogue Italia presented an initiative to offer internships to young people.

In the past 10 to 15 years, Kering has focused on recruiting and retaining design talent, Pinault said. That focus needs to widen to other functions, he said.

Kering will offer 23 internships at Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Brioni, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard and Pomellato in Italy, France and Switzerland, Pinault said. Vogue Italia will help identify suitable candidates.

Pinault said he’s confident “we will spot amazing people through this partnership.”

Kering employs about 30,000 people, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

By: Andrew Roberts Editors: Thomas Mulier, Robert Valpuesta

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  1. As a high school student it is my dream to be apart of the fashion industry however I, like many other students are aware that in the industry there exists, (to some a degree) social elitism. Everybody denies that they are elitist but nevertheless it’s still there. A while ago one of my favourite bloggers, Hung Tran from Antwerpsex wrote an article describing how unpaid internships are rampant in the industry. To me, this serves as a prime example that elitism does exist in the industry and could help explain why there is a lack non-design talent in the industry. The people that can afford to commit to these unpaid internships able to because they come from an upper class upbringing and therefore their parents are able to support them during the duration of the internship. However, what about the rest of us? We spend thousands towards tertiary education and as soon as we leave we must repay the student loans but how can when the internships offered in the fashion industry are unpaid ones? This problem truly hinders people who have potential to be successful but cannot because they cannot afford to support themselves during the internship. To me this is a very serious problem that needs to be address if we want the industry to move forward.

    Levina Pham from Newtown, New South Wales, Australia
  2. So, there is a shortage of talent. Looks like a problem for many. One thing I believe is that every problem is an opportunity. How can you change your perspective to make this work for you?

    Dave Kaiser
    Business Coach

    Dave Kaiser from Arlington, VA, United States
  3. So, one of the things that I believe is that every “problem” is really an opportunity if you can change your perspective and see it that way. A angry customer returning an item can become your best advocate if treated properly, for example.

    How can your company use this shortage of talent to its advantage?

    Dave Kaiser
    Business Coach

    Dave Kaiser from Arlington, VA, United States
  4. Levina, the best way to get into the fashion industry is to work in a clothing store… a chain store or an independent. You should not face any elitism and you will learn from the grass roots level. Many in the industry started this way while studying and working in their spare time. A job in a store will teach you about product, design, customer service, visual merchandising, merchandising and other areas of the fashion industry as well as about working in general. You won’t have to face your “elitist” fears and will get paid at the same time.
    Good luck.

    rikki kher from Delhi, Delhi, India