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Demand for IT staff in the retail sector soars 46% in six months

Demand for IT staff in the retail sector soars 46% in six months
Demand for IT professionals within the retail sector has leapt 46% over the last six months, according to calculations by ReThink Recruitment (ReThink), the business and technology staffing company, based on the number of new instructions it has received.
ReThink says that the resurgence in demand for IT skills in the retail sector is a result of retailers investing in or replacing their core e-commerce platforms as well as upgrading their core Merchandising and Supply Chain systems to become truly multi-channel.
According to ReThink, IT professionals with experience of multi-channel and e-commerce IT platforms who try to move jobs are being persuaded to stay with their current employers with buyback offers of between 15-20% increases of their current pay. Project managers and business analysts are particularly sought-after.
ReThink explains that buybacks are lucrative counter-offers made by employers to candidates who resign in an attempt to hold on to them.
ReThink says that contract project managers and business analysts working in the retail sector can now command an average daily pay rate of 500 and 450 respectively compared to 450 and 400 six months ago. Some Business Analysts who are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in specific areas of retail can command considerably more.
A recent Martec report found that 19% of retailers are planning to replace their e-commerce platforms in the next 12 months, with 5% planning to implement an e-commerce platform for the first time. By 2014, 37 million consumers will be buying online, compared with 27 million in 2010.
Iain Blair, Director at ReThink, comments: Competition among retailers is leading to a shortage in the supply of candidates with key skills. Counter-offers of up to 20% were virtually unheard of this time last year. There has been a huge increase in demand for IT professionals skilled in e-commerce and multi-channel retail platforms.
The market is increasingly candidate-led. We actively have to seek out well over a third of the project managers and business analysts we now place with retailers. A year ago candidates were knocking on our door. Its been a dramatic turnaround.
Consumers increasingly demand a very quick and responsive online shopping experience. They are often surprised that they are unable to personally return unwanted goods bought online to a store near their home or workplace. Retailers who do not add this functionality to their systems risk losing market share.
Consumers also want the option to buy online and collect from the store itself. Surprisingly few retailers provide this functionality. 
ReThink Recruitment adds that many retailers are still not able to offer their entire product range through their existing e-commerce platform.
Retailers are also keen to enhance the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which also have to integrate into e-commerce platforms. Websites, such as Amazons, which recommend new or alternative products to consumers, based on data gathered from previous purchases or searches, are still quite rare.
Iain Blair says: We are seeing an increased demand for candidates who have specific experience in e-commerce personalisation projects as well as those who have helped retailers achieve the holy grail - one single view of stock and customer.


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