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Retail sector paying IT staff 24% more than other sectors

Retail sector paying IT staff 24% more than other sectors
Demand for e-commerce specialists more than doubles year on year
Arms race among retailers to ramp up home delivery services
IT specialists with e-commerce experience are now commanding up to a 24% pay premium over colleagues in equivalent roles in other sectors, according to ReThink Recruitment (ReThink), the business and technology staffing company.

ReThink says that this is because demand for IT professionals in the retail sector with experience in e-commerce platforms has more than doubled (158%) over the last year. ReThink received 564 requests for candidates with e-commerce skills in Q4 2010 compared with 218 in Q4 2009.

According to ReThink, the daily rate for Programme Managers with e-commerce experience in the retail sector is now around 850 per day, compared to 685 per day for Programme Managers working in other industry sectors. Other roles, such as Business Analysts and Project Managers, are commanding similar premiums.

ReThink says that the last six months has seen a huge surge in retailers stepping up their e-commerce activity. For example, Morrisons is considering a dramatic expansion into the home delivery market, which includes the acquisition of a stake in internet grocer Fresh Direct.

Waitrose and John Lewis have also stated that they intend to accelerate their home delivery activities.

ReThink says that the surge in demand for e-commerce skills is being driven by an arms race among retailers who are looking to ramp up their home delivery services and make their core e-commerce platforms truly multi-channel.

ReThink explains that multi-channel e-commerce platforms enable customers to shop online via mobile devices, order online and collect from stores (click to collect), and purchase goods via third party marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon.

Iain Blair, Director at ReThink, comments: We are seeing unprecedented demand for e-commerce specialists as major retailers compete to introduce advanced functionality to their e-commerce platforms. Investment in e-commerce platforms has become a top priority for retailers as they respond to a more sophisticated and demanding online customer.

The last 12 months has witnessed an astonishing turnaround in demand for IT staff in the retail sector. The market for e-commerce skills is now very much candidate-led. Retailers are now locked into bidding wars for candidates, which is creating a pay spiral. Buy-backs where candidates receive counter offers from their existing employer to retain them of up to 25% are now common.

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 customers will be buying online, compared with 27 million in 2010.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are also being integrated into multi-channel e-commerce platforms. Websites such as Amazon which can offer recommendations and suggestions for alternative purchases based on previous searches and purchases are still quite rare. Several retailers are looking to build bespoke systems, which will give them more sophisticated data about customer shopping habits, enabling them to cross-sell related products and services.

Iain Blair says: Retailers are keen to implement systems which provide a single view of their customer and their buying trends. For example, many existing retail platforms have separate systems for home delivery and separate systems for mobile buying. Multi-channel platforms can bring all this together, which is a huge bonus from a retailers point of view.


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