The fashion and textile industry in Poland are facing challenges

The challenges facing the fashion and textile industries will include adapting production to relevant ecological standards as well as introducing and developing digital solutions. Experts forecast the development of technologies related to measuring clothes online and even greater popularity of slow-fashion, i.e. a prudent approach to fashion and shopping. Detailed conclusions from the report will be presented on 7 of April, 2022 during the online meeting “Round table”.

The Industry Balance of Human Capital (BBKL) is a project of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, in which research is carried out in 4 sectors: construction, automotive and electromobility, fashion and innovative textiles, as well as health care and social assistance. The goal of BBKL is to provide knowledge about the current and future demand for competences.

The study in the fashion and textile industry was conducted from October 2020 to November 2021. It was the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, which significantly affected the situation of this sector. 

More than half of the employers indicated that its effects had a negative impact on their company due to the disruption of supply chains and a decline in recipients of finished products. Interestingly, as many as 20% of respondents declared that the company’s situation had improved in this period. 

Based on the opinions of experts, it can be determined that among the entities declaring an improvement in the situation, there are companies that operate fully domestically, create niche clothing (e.g. specialist clothing) or have switched to the production of hygiene products.

Ecological standards in Poland’s  textile industry

53% of representatives of fashion and textile enterprises believe that adapting production to appropriate ecological standards is a key challenge for the industry in the future. This is in line with the expectations of consumers. Experts say that customer awareness of the ecology and environmental impact of clothing production is growing. 

The growing popularity of the slow-fashion trend – which consists in resigning from low-quality “chain” clothes in favour of more expensive clothes, but made of good materials and better finished – is already visible on the market. However, the implementation of sustainable solutions does not only result from the willingness to meet customer requirements, but also from legal conditions related to the circular economy.

Technological challenges

New technological solutions play an increasingly important role in the fashion industry. The Covid-19 pandemic popularised ordering clothes online. The problem here is that we are not able to fully predict and imagine how a given cut or colour will fit our figure. The solution to this inconvenience may be a digital product that allows you to remotely measure clothes and personalise them before the production stage.

“The challenge of introducing and developing digital solutions was considered significant by 35% of the surveyed employers. Industry experts also drew attention to these solutions. Their forecasts show that in the next 5 years we will have to deal with faster and faster development of technologies allowing for remote measurement and personalization of clothes – said Dariusz Budrowski, president of PARP.

Future competencies

Experts related to the fashion and textiles industry forecast that the employment of employees with competences in e-commerce and running online stores will be very important in the next 3 years. They indicate the move away from brick-and-mortar stores in favour of e-commerce as the reason. Analysts also forecast that in the coming years, finding new employees responsible for the production stages (including seamstresses, tailors) will be a growing problem. The average age in these positions is high and relatively few young people are enrolled in these occupations.

The textile industry shows that not only competences related to new technologies are in demand on the labour market. There is also a need for craftsmen who will make, with great care, e.g. tailoring activities. Research shows that, according to 24% of employers, within 3 years the importance of competences will increase, which is the knowledge of the rules of cut and sewing various elements of clothing.

The results obtained in the report show a relatively high demand for employees in the fashion and textile industry compared to other industries. 20% of employers have been looking for new employees in the last twelve months. Half of them declared that finding new employees was associated with some problems. The most frequently indicated was little interest in the job offer – such an answer was given by 59% of the surveyed employers.

Other, less frequently indicated problems were: employment conditions (31%), low prestige of the profession (26%), low potential earnings (22%) and the lack of clear paths for promotion and career. Most employers expect an increase in employment in the position of seamstresses and tailors in the next 3 years.

Assessment of working conditions in the sector

Three-quarters of fashion and textile companies are satisfied with the skills and commitment of their staff. Only 20% of employers considered that employees’ competences are satisfactory, however, in some areas they require development. Over the next 3 years, 41% of companies intend to introduce courses and training for their employees. Employers prefer forms of development that take place in the workplace.

Most, i.e. 90% of the surveyed employees, employed in key positions in the industry, expressed their satisfaction with the performance of their work. On the positive aspects, respondents most often indicated good relations with other employees and superiors (94% of responses) and favourable working conditions (93% of responses).

The lowest grade concerned the possibility of promotion (78% of responses). It is worth noting that more than half of the surveyed employees believe that they have too many duties to be performed at a given time.

Detailed conclusions of the report will be presented on 7 of April, 2022 at 10:00 am during the online meeting “Industry Balance of Human Capital – Fashion and innovative textiles”.

Source: PARP


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