Presentation on theme: "Workforce Comprehensive Curriculum Study"— Presentation transcript:
1 Workforce Comprehensive Curriculum Study Research Team:Dr. Mike Brady, College of BusinessDr. Susan S. Fiorito, College of Human SciencesAlexis Allen, Ph.D. candidate, COBCinthia Satornino, Ph.D. candidate, COB
2 ChallengeThe continued success of the retail industry depends on a qualified workforce. The challenge for universities is to determine what knowledge and skills retailers value and then produce graduates that possess these proficiencies.
3 OpportunityThe FRF is in a unique position in that it has relationships with both Florida universities and Florida retailers. By facilitating a dialogue between these groups, a general curriculum framework can be developed that addresses current workforce needs and provides the next generation of retail leadership in Florida.
4 PurposeGoal: To develop a framework for a retail curriculum that would assist in providing a qualified retail workforce and the next generation of retail leadership in Florida. Objective: Determine the knowledge and skills of successful retailers and use this information to develop a curriculum at a University level to promote, enhance, and develop successful retail leadership.
5 Study Process Exploratory Research Pilot Study Online Survey Study BenchmarkingInterviewsPilot StudyOnline Survey StudyData AnalysisDeliverablesReport of Survey ResultsGeneral Curriculum Framework
6 Overview of Phase I & ii (Previously Reported) Workforce StudyOverview of Phase I & ii (Previously Reported)
7 Phase I: Benchmarking Programs Goal: To examine and assess peer and aspirational retail and merchandising programs throughout the U.S.Methodology: Content analysis of 20 university programs in retailing, merchandising, and product development being offered throughout the U.S.Results: Programs varied by required coursework, specializations/tracks offered, and targeted careers
8 Phase I: Benchmarking Jobs Goal: To assess the current employment landscape in the retail industryMethodology: Content analysis of 27 job postings from corporate websites and job posting websites (e.g., careerbuilder.com)Results: Job postings varied by position, hard line/soft line designation, and desired skills
9 Phase II: Exploratory Interviews Goal: To determine retail executives’ perceptions of recent college graduates’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as unmet needs of current retail curriculaMethodology: 13 in-depth phone interviews with FRF members of varying size and typeResults: Six general themes emerged
10 Themes from the Exploratory Study Communication skills are criticalNeed to be able to manage people – they’re not very good at itClasses in accounting and finance are viewed favorablyRetail Math is a critical needInternship programs are criticalStudents are impatient
11 Current State of Retail Education Respondents were satisfied with the retailing education of recent college graduates but expressed a desire for more of an integrated, broad-based retail education“We recruit out of two schools – COB and Merchandising. In both cases, they have background knowledge that is valuable as they grow in their careers. From the B-school, the students have analytical background (statistics, etc.), so they can help build strategy. From merchandising, they have made the decision to get involved with retail. So they are ready to get involved with the realities of retailing.”
12 Current State of Retail Education Other, similar sentiments.“I think the business focus should be more broad so that you’re not limited to merchandising.”“I think that a finance class more devoted to retailer finances would be beneficial.”“I want to know that they’ve had some financial coursework … I think that’s necessary for people to move up in the organization.”“The business/finance/accounting need to have a stronger focus.”
13 Phase iii (NEW) FRF Membership Survey Workforce StudyPhase iii (NEW) FRF Membership Survey
14 Survey DevelopmentPreliminary draft was reviewed by FRF representatives and RMPD faculty.Revisions and comments were addressed and pilot questionnaire was developedPilot Study:200 FRF members were randomly selected using a random number generator for each retailer line typeSurvey was sent 10/5 and closed 10/14A total of 6 responses were received
15 Survey Development Revisions were made from the pilot study results. The final survey draft was extensively reviewed by all of the Workforce Council attendees at the October meeting
16 Main Data Collection Process Surveys were sent to all able FRF members (2,556 members) in two waves. A drawing for an iPad 2 was used as an incentive for respondents. 65 responses were received – a 2.54% response rate.First wave sent on 10/25/201146 ResponsesSecond wave sent on 10/31/201119 Responses
24 Respondents Who Hired College Graduates 220 Hires Were Made Within the Last 5 years (roughly one a year)Store Level Positions: 7725% Sales22% Retail Management20% Store Manager/Asst. Store MangerCorporate Level Positions: 14312% Management Trainee11% Sales10% Information Technology10% Finance9% Human ResourcesSatisfaction with Hires = 78/100
25 Perceptions of Recent College Grads Needs Improvement (M 3)Meets Expectations ( 3 < M < 3.5 )Understand financial statements/financial analysisUnrealistic expectationsWilling to “pay dues”Understanding the “big picture”Knowledge of career pathsMerchandisingVerbal/written communicationPresentation skillsLeadershipTeam managementProject managementProduct knowledgeEntrepreneurship
26 Perceptions of Recent College Grads Exceeding Expectations (M > 3.5)Technology SkillsInnovativenessMultitaskingBasic Retail Math
27 Skills RankingEmployers often desire a blend of hard and soft skills. On average, the ideal blend of hard and soft skills: Soft Skills vs. Hard Skills 53% vs. 47%Most Important Soft SkillsCustomer ServiceLeadership SkillsVerbal CommunicationMost Important Hard SkillsComputer CompetencyProduct Knowledge
28 Most Important Soft Skills % Ranked in the Top 5/11MedianRankingCustomer Service78.9%1Verbal Communication73.7%2Leadership68.4%3Managing Others47.4%2.5Written Communication42.1%Presentation Skills4* Skills are listed in order of a combination of columns 2 & 3* For rankings: 1 = Most important
29 Hard Skills Most Important Hard Skills % Ranked in the Top 5/10 Median RankingComputer Technology78.9%2Product Knowledge68.4%Financial Analysis44.7%Store Merchandising52.6%3Retail Math60.5%4Forecasting/Trend Analysis42.1%3.5Human Resources26.3%2.5Project Management36.8%Supply Chain* Skills are listed in order of a combination of columns 2 & 3* For rankings: 1 = Most important
30 Desired Professional Experience Most Important Experience% Ranked in the Top 5/13MedianRankingLeadership68.4%2Retail Management65.8%Team Management/training63.2%3Store Operations47.4%Marketing26.3%Administrative SupportData analysis/reporting34.2%Merchandising management44.7%4Finance/accounting31.6%3.5Strategy Implementation23.7%* Experiences are listed in order of a combination of columns 2 & 3* For rankings: 1 = Most important
31 Educational Criteria Specialized Certificates Internships Certificates make job candidates moderately more desirable (M=3.6)Most respondents were unfamiliar with specialized certificates (M=2.6)Most respondents were neutral on whether or not certificates indicate higher skill sets (M=3.1)Internships make job candidates significantly more desirable (M=4.2)Internships provide valuable experiences (M=4.4)More than one internship was slightly favored (M=3.3)*Mean response rate shown in parens. Strongly Disagree = 1; Strongly Agree = 5
32 Most Important Coursework Desired CourseworkMost Important Coursework% Ranked in the Top 5/8MedianRankingConsumer Behavior78.9%1Accounting/Finance76.3%2Merchandising71.1%Logistics/Supply Chain55.3%4Product DevelopmentOther28.9%3Sourcing/Global Trade15.8%Textile/Apparel10.5%4.5*Other courses include: Communications(3), Computer, Labor Relations, Managing People, Math, POS computer course, Sales, Work Ethic, Writing courses
33 Results By Primary Product Category Workforce StudyResults By Primary Product Category
34 Overview of Results by Primary Product Offering Category Several differences emerged across industries at the corporate level:Services hired relatively more Finance and Human Resources positionsSoft Lines made up the majority of Allocator, Buyer, and Product Development positionsHard Lines hired primarily for Management Trainee and Sales positionsFood and Beverage hired more at the Management Trainee position than any other positionThere were far fewer differences at the store level, as all industries hired primarily for management and sales positions.
35 Overview of Results by Primary Product Offering Category There was not significant variation across industries in the specific hard and soft skills that were valued by respondentsSimilarly, there was little variation across industries with regard to desired professional experiences and activities with a few exceptions:Hard Lines and Food and Beverage valued students’ having more than one internshipSoft Lines placed less emphasis on Marketing than other industries
36 Satisfaction and Skill Importance by Primary Product Offering CategoryServicesHard LinesSoft LinesFood and BeverageUnreportedSatisfactionwith Recent Hires79.5%74.0%74.9%63.3%80.0%Hard Skills Importance52.0%40.0%44.4%44.3%42.0%Soft Skills Importance48.0%60.0%55.6%55.7%38.0%
37 Conclusions and Recommendations Workforce StudyConclusions and Recommendations
38 Conclusion 1:Current programs address textile and product development needs for retailers. To supplement the current supply of graduates from textile/fashion-focused programs, university retail programs should enhance existing curricula to emphasize an integrated, broad-based skill set.
39 Conclusion 2:While most graduates meet expectations of entry level retail positions, issues of their awareness of career opportunities in the retail industry could be expanded. Unrealistic expectations of what a retail career entails and general unwillingness to “pay their dues” were identified by those who did not graduate from merchandising or retail certificate programs.
40 Conclusion 3:Hard skills and soft skills are both valued. Curricula should focus on cultivating both types of skills for all graduates.
41 Conclusion 4:Internships are critical in making graduates more attractive to retail employers. Preparing students to make the most of their internships is a necessary part of a comprehensive curriculum.
42 Curriculum Framework Recommendations Framework Features:Multiple tracks to address diverse needs of retail employersIntegration of merchandising, retailing, and business core coursesCornerstone/Capstone courses and experiences for career awareness and expectations management
43 Cornerstone Fundamentals Focus onCareer path optionsOrganizational skillsEthics and legalAdditionally, (for ALL tracks)Communications: Presentation skills, written and electronic communicationAnalytics: Retail math, finance, accounting, trend analysis