Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 September 2019

Hiring and retaining talent is a challenge for some tech firms

But while Farfetch is having huge success in selling to the fashionistas of the UAE, back in Europe the company, like all tech businesses, faces challenges hiring and retaining staff.

LONDON // Farfetch is a global online retailer that was founded in Portugal but chose, like many European start-ups, to set up its headquarters in London. The luxury goods seller has about 300 staff in London and about 700 in three locations in Portugal.

Farfetch is enjoying a lot of success in the Middle East, which it now counts as one of its top markets with a loyal customer base. This month, it begins selling Islamic fashion in its first ever collaboration with the Islamic Fashion and Design Council.

Working with the IFDC, the e-commerce retailer has created a special edition of modest clothing called Pret-A-Cover, where high-end fashion pieces that are suitable for customers will be selected and showcased together on a dedicated part of Farfetch.com’s site.  

But while Farfetch is having huge success in selling to the fashionistas of the UAE, back in Europe the company, like all tech businesses, faces challenges hiring and retaining staff.

These challenges are not the same as those found in the smallest start-ups, but they are all too real.

Sian Keane, its vice president, says: “Hiring and retaining talent is a critical area for our business.

“This is particularly pertinent for a business like Farfetch where we are creating new technologies and therefore new ways of working in all business functions that is attractive not just to our direct competitors but across all industries.”

In a relatively short period of time, Farfetch has gone from a small start-up to a global company with 11 offices in London, Porto, Guimarães, Lisbon, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and São Paulo.

It now has more than 1,300 employees around the world.

“Our biggest challenge is the pace at which we need to find the right people with the necessary skills. We are continuing to grow our approach to investment in people.”

Ms Keane says that the company has become much more strategic in its approach to talent.

Farfetch is concentrating on four broad areas: effective ways of assessing potential at the recruitment stage to hire people who are more likely to succeed at the company over time; investing in learning and development; investment in leadership to ensure managers have the right knowledge to develop people within their teams and compensation and reward, so that employees are paid competitively in the sector.

business@thenational.ae

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Updated: December 12, 2016 04:00 AM

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