The Need for Innovation in Retail

23 May 2019

Earlier this year, tech firm Ricoh and StollzNow Research shared the findings of its Workplace Innovation Index research. The report was a look into the challenges many retail Australian businesses face in driving digital innovation and adapting to change caused by global competition. It showed that 75% of Australian companies admit that innovation is not a core value for their business and only two-thirds of business leaders believe they can drive innovation programs. Globalization continues to threaten many retail companies in Australia and the United States. Many companies are caught off guard as the demand for innovation is growing in emerging industries.

Despite the number of government programs that offer research models and solutions to aid businesses, the growing skill gap is making it difficult for many brick and mortar companies to stay competitive. Sadly, most of them are forced to close down because they failed to see the importance of innovation in global competition. Because of this, many Australian businesses are continuously looking at how to bridge the gap between innovation and skill as we move towards a more technological future.

Bridging The Gap

Education plays a significant role in responding to the needs of current and emerging industries that aims to help local businesses to bridge the growing skill gaps between jobs. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Emerging Jobs research, tech roles are highly in demand in the emerging jobs market across different industries. In Australia, many retail companies are shifting their focus and resources to data and digital products. However, only 4.9% of the total number of enlisted students in 2017 were enrolled in Information Technology programs, 21.8% higher compared to the first half of 2016.

Employees amplify their education through company training programs.
Employees amplify their education through company training programs.

New job opportunities are also emerging more rapidly, and the current research and education system might not be producing the right talent to meet the needs of emerging industries. It’s not just a case of new jobs replacing traditional ones. These roles are also evolving into new positions. Professions that didn’t exist a few years ago like Data Scientists and Experience Designers are suddenly in demand today. As technology advances, so does the job market and so must the education system in order to keep up with the times.

What We Need To Consider

Being prepared to adapt to innovations brought by technology is vital in determining the success of a business. We are now looking for specialized skills and hiring jobs that did not exist ten years ago, and we must foresee where the gaps in our workforce will be in the next few years. With this in mind, Is it right to wait for the next generation to fill in the skill gap we need? Or should we be prepared to upskill our existing workforce to rise to the challenge?

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