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Ecommerce's job-hopping generation

Increasing specialism within ecommerce means finding the right people can be a challenge for retailers – and keeping those skills within the business can be even harder.

Age and gender breakdown

Age and gender breakdown

“Recruiting people with deep ecommerce specialisms can be a challenge as digital is still a growing industry,” says River Island ecommerce development manager Helen Colclough.

“There is real opportunity for career progression for candidates and the chance to move up the ladder very quickly, but on the flipside this can make life hard for recruiters to try to decipher what someone’s experience really is.

“Add this to changing job titles, a move into new methodologies and newer specialisms, such as conversion rate optimisation, and it becomes harder to navigate the candidate landscape.”

Geography of ecommerce roles

Geography of ecommerce roles

In light of these difficulties, research by ecommerce recruitment specialist Cranberry Panda has found the average salary across all ecommerce disciplines has reached £51,250, up from £40,200 last year, compared to a wider national average across all sectors of £24,000. More than 71% of the people surveyed said they had received a pay rise over the last 12 months, up from 60% in the previous year.

Its annual survey, which polled 334 ecommerce professionals across different roles, identified that one of the major issues faced in the industry is how quickly people move between jobs, with the average length of service just 12 to 18 months. Some 49% of respondents have been in their role for less than a year, with only 4% having been at their current company for more than five years.

“We generally find that the vast majority of ecommerce teams are between five and 20 people, even for retailers with turnovers of up to £25m to £30m, so people move on quite quickly to be able to progress,” says Jonathan Hall, CEO and founder of Cranberry Panda.

“On the other hand, if you are working in a niche area, you are definitely in demand. To put it into perspective, only about 15% of the roles we fill come from people actually applying for jobs and the rest we approach directly.”

Neil Sansom, the former omnichannel director of Moss Bros who joined online knitwear retailer Wool Overs as chief executive in September, agrees: “People also tend to move quite quickly in terms of roles because of the demand for skills and to get better salaries.”

He says digital marketing roles are particularly in demand and there is a shortage of data scientists or analytical roles as the business becomes increasingly “data hungry”. Salaries for these kinds of roles can range from £20,000 for a junior marketing executive role up to £180,000 for a digital marketing director and between £30,000 for a junior web analyst up to £70,000 for a senior position.

Headline figures

Headline figures

Other areas which are a challenge for recruiters include UX/UI (user experience/user interface) or usability, from building a site’s architecture to how it looks for consumers, in-house web designers and search specialists, where salaries can range from £25,000 up to £80,000.

“Even junior web designers are going freelance to get more variety and money now,” says Hall. “The trend to wrap creative design and front-end development into one person is decreasing.”

The survey found that the gender split of roles is 53% male and 47% female, but that 26% of men earn less than £35,000 compared to 41% of women.

Predicted growth in ecommerce teams

Predicted growth in ecommerce teams

“Women were perhaps slower to enter the sector so there are more women in the more junior roles, although the situation is definitely improving,” says Hall. “Ecommerce was more IT-driven when it started to take off between 2000 and 2002, so it was very male-dominated. But what is encouraging is that you are now starting to see women who did enter the industry three or four years ago making their way into those mid-to-senior management roles.”

“It’s a similar parallel to what happened in marketing. At one point in time all the top marketing directors were male, but now you see a lot more women in those roles,” adds Sansom.

 2014                      2015
Marketing executive £20,000 to £30,000 £20,000 to £32,500
Digital marketing director             £80,000 to £160,000 £80,000 to £180,000
Junior web analyst          £25,000 to £38,000 £30,000 to £40,000
Senior web analyst £35,000 to £65,000 £42,000 to £70,000
Ecommerce director £120,000 to £250,000 £120,000 to £250,000


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