As Mauritius looks to regain its strong foothold on the economy in the second half of 2021, the retail and FMCG sectors are leading the country’s post-Covid recovery.

The Mauritian economy is thriving on the success of retail businesses even as the country’s darling sector, tourism, takes a hit due to the pandemic. 

Mauritius is preparing to fully reopen its international borders with measures like removing the ‘resort bubble’ requirement of vaccinated travelers staying within a resort for the first two weeks of their stay. From October 2021, travelers will be able to explore all parts of the island nation upon showing a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of traveling to Mauritius, reports The National. Still, tourism is expected to pick up slowly. Fitch Solutions, an American credit rating agency that specializes in country risk and industry intelligence, forecasts that tourist arrivals into Mauritius will increase by 109% in 2022 but a full recovery can be expected only by 2025. 

In such a scenario, the economy is looking to retail and all its forms, including food, non-food and FMCG products, to steer business forward. “Although the last two lockdowns have been hard on the country’s retail, some businesses have creatively expanded to capture more of the market. This expansion has led to a demand in hiring for retail roles,” explains Aurelie Rugbur, Manager of Michael Page, Sub Sahara Africa. 

Steering brands out of choppy seas

Rugbur explains that the immediate concern for most businesses is to gain stability and the optimum position for recovery out of the pandemic. “Clients within the retail industry are seeking candidates with strong financial leadership, critical thinking and innovative business strategy acumen that can help restructure businesses and expand the value chain,” says Rugbur. 

Towards this end, the online world has become a crucial part of most business restructuring and innovating. “Roles that are in high demand include Strategy, Operations and General Management,” says Rugbur. Brick and mortar brands are increasingly creating an online presence and seek experienced candidates who can navigate the e-commerce business.  

Big brands are optimising the use of technology to finetune their delivery and customer experience. Smaller businesses and entrepreneurs are using social media platforms to conduct business and sell their wares and services online. For e-commerce to survive, businesses will need to think beyond online environments and focus on syncing delivery and customer experience, writes Jason Bholanauth, senior digital marketer at PwC Mauritius, in AuFait Media in January, 2021.  

Digital processes are the focus of businesses. Since the government has increased taxes, retailers are making their back-end processes more efficient using technology. Candidates with skillsets in this part of the business are in demand right now. 

A local flavor

The restrictions on international movement that was brought on by the pandemic have led to clients prioritizing local talent wherever possible. Mauritius has always boasted an internationally diverse workforce. While this will continue, there is a greater awareness and intent to promote local candidates, even Mauritian national returnees from other parts of the world. To this end, many clients are proactively searching for talent within the company. 

What clients and candidates must do

Rugbur says that clients need to re-think their business strategies and disrupt old ways of doing things. This includes finding innovative solutions to maximize the value impact of their talent management processes.  

Candidates must be at their creative best. It is time for candidates to be open-minded about new opportunities and go to interviews well prepared. “Do not be desperate. Remember that skills are transferable. Go with a can-do attitude and show willingness to learn new things,” advises Rugbur. The same applies to the manner in which candidates network, apply for and interview at jobs – everything is done with creativity today.  

If you would like to know how we can support you hire talent in Mauritius, get in touch with us. Our Port Louis based team are experts who can advice you on your recruitment strategy and source top candidates for your vacancies. Meanwhile, we welcome you to browse through our hiring advice

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