Vinay Sajnani

My Take on the Retail Design sector in 2018

​Calling all Store Project Managers, Retail Designers, and Visual Merchandising professionals! Are you looking for a career change? Read our interview with Vinay and find out his thoughts on how the sector is performing.

1. Vinay, tell us something about yourself!

Not many people know that I was one of Argyll Scott’s first hires in Asia, and I’m currently the longest-serving member of the business in this region! Having been instrumental in helping build up our Accounting & Finance and Sales & Marketing teams initially, I joined the Real Estate team over five years ago as it was a new sector for the business in a booming market and I was super excited about taking on a new personal challenge.

My primary focus now is recruiting Manager to Regional Director level positions across Asia, specifically within the Retail industry, as that’s where most of my success has come in the past years. The types of positions I recruit are Store Project Managers, Retail Designers, and Visual Merchandising positions. While helping grow our team, I have leveraged off some of our existing client relationships and as a result, have built up a more extensive portfolio for the business with other brands and retail groups.

2. What are the main recruitment challenges in Retail Design sector right now?

Generally, this sector has been a candidate driven market for a long time. There weren’t as many challenges recruiting within the Retail industry then as there are today, specifically within Store Project Management and Retail Design, as brands were looking to expand specifically within the APAC region, with Greater China being their focus. However, with the retail market slowing down in recent times and expansions plans have been put on hold, hiring needs have certainly lowered.

Nevertheless, what’s helped me be so successful is knowing my clients and candidates well, and keeping up with the market – with all the changes, company restructures, brands looking to expand within Asia.

3. How has the sector evolved over the years?

Compared to five years ago, when I was first exposed to the Retail industry, expansion plans have decreased. The Greater China region was a booming market at first, and companies wanted to hire more in Shanghai and other parts of China, whereas in today’s market not so much.

Although, there’s an increased needs for Designers and Project Managers in the South-East Asia market as Retail brands are starting to invest in opening more stores in that region, and many have their employees based in Singapore to run various projects.

The Travel Retail market has expanded a significant amount, and I’ve seen cosmetic brands in particular continually hiring and opening more stores and counters in that area too.

4. Where do you see the market heading in the rest of 2018?

From a recruiter’s point of view, there have been quite a lot of hiring needs since the beginning of 2018, and it’s something we should continue to see throughout the remainder of the year. There has been more movement in the market this year already in comparison to last year. Historically, the summer months are generally quieter than other months, so by mid Q3 we should expect the hiring to pick up as budgets will be finalized for the new year, and typically companies like to bring in individuals before the year-end.

5. Any tips for job seekers in your sector?

The key is to highlight your motivations around why you want to move away from your current role. Market conditions vary, so commitment is needed if one is seriously looking around for a new opportunity. Some retailers’ hiring processes can take up to a month or two, but there are also some that can take only a week to close – so having patience is also important!

I would also recommend keeping an open mind when it comes to salary negotiations, as we need to manage both a client’s and a candidate’s expectations – acting as the middle person, we keep everyone’s best interest in mind.

If you are currently looking for a career change or if you would like to find out more about how I can add value to your business, please do email me at or visit

Posted over 5 years ago
About the author:
Vinay Sajnani

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