As the pandemic has caused more and more companies to go digital, e-commerce recruitment has become a challenge.
The industry itself is still booming, but competition for the best talent is more intense than ever, which means to find and hire the best, your recruitment strategy will have to be more than on point.
In this post, we’ll examine the state of the industry in 2021, and how to best recruit in today’s tight labor market, where technical recruitment in e-commerce is more of a challenge than ever.
What is e-commerce
E-commerce is what it sounds like - shopping online. As the pandemic has left many people unable to visit brick and mortar retail locations, its popularity is only growing. Shoppers prioritize convenience and speed.
E-commerce has gone global
E-commerce is also a very easy industry to break into. Due to low entry barriers and cheap global shipping costs, e-commerce companies compete with each other from across the globe. This means you are competing for talent not just locally, but globally. Just take a look at this chart from CB Insights to get a picture.
Image via CB Insights
E-commerce funding is still hot
In recent years, Angel and Seed e-commerce funding has gradually declined from 53 percent to 38 percent while more aggressive Series, like A, B and E+ are experiencing growth — a sign that the industry is maturing.
With plenty of money available, successful e-commerce companies are able to grow at breakneck speed, placing further pressure on the labor market.
Image via CB Insights
The e-commerce job market
While traditional retail has stagnated, e-commerce employment has grown more than any other retail vertical over the past 15 years, creating over 100,000 jobs.
Image via Bureau of Labor Statistics
In the United States, e-commerce roles tend to be based in urban areas companies require fewer workers to reach higher productivity margins.
Recruitment in e-commerce
As any good e-commerce marketing recruiter knows, to compete, you must first understand what the competition looks like in the labor market.
According to market research, 32 percent of the open positions in the e-commerce industry are for software engineers. This is not entirely surprising. E-commerce platforms do business online, which means they need software engineers.
The most in-demand programming languages were:
- Python – 22.34%
- Java – 22.29%
- Ruby – 16.04%
- Linux – 14.47%
As physical retail locations decrease in popularity, in no small part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for e-commerce companies to make up for lost revenue increases. This pushes companies to set higher goals and revenue benchmarks, which means they need more sales team support.
At present, approximately 14 percent of the open roles in the e-commerce space are for sales positions. Among the sales professionals, the top three most in-demand roles were:
- Account Executive
- Account Manager
- Sales Development Representative
Data & Analytics
E-commerce businesses thrive on data. At the time of writing, 11 percent of the open roles in the e-commerce industry are for data and analytics positions, but this figure is projected to grow. As online sellers become more advanced, they use their customer data in new and creative ways, which makes data analysts even more critical.
The top 4 most in-demand data professionals were:
- Analysis + Reporting
- Data Engineering
- Business Intelligence
- Web Analyst
Without marketing, online retailers can’t attract new customers and sell their products - about 11% of the open roles in the industry are for marketers. The most in-demand roles: digital marketing manager and SEM specialists. Visual designers also play an important role here, making pages look attractive and appealing to customers.
Last but not least, product roles account for more than 6 percent of the open roles in the e-commerce industry. As the need for novelty and innovation continues to rise, so does the need for specialists who can make that happen. That’s where a product team comes in. These specialists help e-commerce companies stay at the cutting edge and meet consumer’s standards.
E-commerce recruitment best practices
To recruit the e-commerce specialists you need, it's important to have the right recruiting strategy.
Make sure that your technical recruitment specialists are doing things like reaching out to passive talent - that is talent which already has a job. Often, this entails doing recruitment research on LinkedIn.
Once you’ve identified likely candidates, you can reach out to them. At this stage, you need to be sure your recruiting team has a strategy in place for communicating with and hiring passive talent, and a few good email nurturing sequences prepared as well.
Alternatively, you can use an AI-driven recruitment assistant, like Employa, to do this for you.
You can also look at candidate information from previous vacancies you advertised. There may be somebody who wasn’t the best fit for the last role but is perfect for this new one. Employa MatchMiner specializes in finding the best-matched applicants among existing candidate databases.
It’s also important to clearly define technical skills and roles clearly. Your job descriptions should be well-written and also avoid any vague language. Concisely and clearly describe the role, its responsibilities, and how it fits into the broader team.
In addition to making sure your listings are well-written, there are other things that you can do to make your company stand out, such as creating a branded, content-rich careers portal. These portals are a space where you can show candidates why your company stands out from the crowd, and why they should want to work with you. Highlight things like company culture, benefits, current employee testimonials, and recent cool projects on this page.
On a related note, a well-designed, content-rich careers portal can also help you attract the right specialists. Talent has options, and talent needs to know why it should want to work with you, and not another organization. If your careers portal does a good job of showing what makes your e-commerce brand a great place to work, this will help you stand out from the competition.
Where not to look
If you’re reading this, you are certainly already aware of most of the major recruiting portals like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster.
But it is just as important as knowing what channels to use, is knowing which channels to avoid.
Established e-commerce sellers should avoid hiring specialists via freelance platforms like Fiverr and Upwork, or at least, should avoid doing so on the lower end of the price range.
The reason for this being is that scams are very common on freelance recruitment systems like these. You may even think that you are hiring a person, but actually, be hiring a company that outsources tasks to unqualified people.
Another red flag, if you encounter anyone claiming to be an e-commerce specialist who sells courses telling you how you could do the same, run away screaming.
Cut Through The Noise With Employa
Recruiting in e-commerce is a real challenge, especially for mid-size organizations will relatively small recruiting teams.
To make it easier, try Employa.
Employa is an AI-driven recruitment solution that can be integrated with your existing ATS, and hires for real skills, not buzzwords. It can used as an external agency, combining human and AI talent to source your organization with the best candidates on the market. To top it all off, Employa charges 20% less than traditional e-commerce recruitment agencies.
If you’d like to see what Employa can do for you, you can give it a try for free.