E-commerce hiring has surged alongside the covid pandemic. According to IBM’s US Retail Index Report, the pandemic has accelerated the shift away from physical stores to online shopping by roughly five years.
With e-commerce projected to grow by 20% and traditional retail expected to decline by 60%, businesses are hiring accordingly. This means replenishing the labor pool with skills that support a pivot to an increasingly digital business model.
Our e-commerce hiring study finds companies recruiting at every rung of the hiring ladder. We analyzed over 25,000 job postings at Glassdoor and LinkedIn to understand the trends in e-commerce hiring, covering which skills and roles are in highest demand in the US, Canada, Australia, China, South Korea, and Europe.
Demands for unskilled e-commerce workers are soaring. After deep layoffs earlier in the year, survived retailers are rehiring lapsed employees as dedicated e-commerce clerks. Manufacturing and business services companies have also rebounded, promising staffs new safeguards to coax their return.
Meanwhile, companies continuously search for top talents in e-commerce management, marketing, and logistics. As the online marketplace expands to accept new players, qualified candidates offer the strategic and technological savvy needed to position their employers for success.
In this post, we'll present this research report that can help you learn about global hiring trends in e-commerce , including which skills and roles are in the highest demand, and which industries are hiring. You can find a full breakdown of our data analysis right here.
To help you navigate, we've listed our key findings below. Click on to learn more about each topic:
- Retailers hire nearly one in three (30%) of all e-commerce professionals, followed by business services (24%), and manufacturing companies (19%).
- The staffing & outsourcing industry posts the most e-commerce job offers (16%), followed closely by consumer products manufacturing (13%), then department, clothing, and shoe stores (10%).
- Less than one in four (22%) e-commerce job titles are for technical positions like analyst or software developer.
- The highest paying job is Director of E-commerce.
- The best-paying e-commerce jobs (on average) in the US are located in Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey.
- London leads e-commerce hiring among European cities, followed by Paris and Berlin.
Retailers Lead E-commerce Recruiting Efforts
Retail companies are at the epicenter of the tectonic shift to e-commerce.
As the figure below displays, unsurprisingly, we found that retailers make nearly one in three (30%) of all e-commerce job offers. Business services companies make almost one in four of all job offers (24%), followed by manufacturers (19%).
Retailers are hiring to match the major rise in consumer demands. As homebound shoppers warm to online purchasing, American retail giants like Walmart and Target have successfully pivoted to digital ordering with omnichannel fulfillment. In efforts to stay afloat, many smaller retailers are also recruiting for building a digital-first sales model.
Millions of full-time and part-time jobs, mostly unskilled, have been added by retailers this past year. In September, Amazon pledged to hire 308,000 new workers by the end of 2020. This includes the 100,000 to 200,000 seasonal employees that Amazon typically adds for the holidays, though it’s still unclear how many of these positions will remain after the new year.
Retail recruiting is up but overall employment is still down. According to Marketwatch, the US economy has only restored 62% of the 2.3 million jobs lost to the pandemic since spring. Moreover, a record 25,000 retail stores are expected to disappear this year. With the exception of mega retailers and a handful of niche brands, long-term hiring in both the US and global retail looks grim.
China and France are the only countries where retail lags in recruiting behind business services companies. In China, business services companies dominate recruiting for e-commerce roles (81%), but barely hire for retail (4%). This makes sense in light of China's booming economy and the almost total lockdown across the country over the past year.
Hiring is also a focus for business services and manufacturing companies around the world. The high volumes of global job offers indicates that manufacturers have covid-proofed their operations and are rehiring positions lost to the initial waves of the pandemic. Similarly, business services companies are rebounding after revamping operations to be contactless.
Retailers make almost one-third (30%) of all global e-commerce job offers.
E-commerce Clerks Are In Highest Demand
E-commerce clerk is by far the most in-demand job in e-commerce.
This job title appears in nearly twice as many job listings as any other e-commerce position in our data. The second most in demand job title is e-commerce manager, followed by e-commerce store associate, which is a variant of e-commerce clerk.
An e-commerce clerk fulfills online orders, answers customer questions online, and delivers products. Our findings suggest that unskilled workers like these, whether their title is clerk or associate or shopper, are in high demand because they’re the backbone of any scaled e-commerce business. As more businesses adopt the e-commerce business model, the demand for these jobs should increase.
However, staffing low-skill and low-pay positions is a challenge for businesses. The chart below presents that the US grocery chain Kroger posts more job openings for e-commerce clerks than any other company worldwide, including the global retailer Walmart.
Grocers need a ready pool of clerks to fulfill online and in-store ordering, yet also face historically high rates of turnover. Low pay plus the threat of infection during a pandemic make these positions even harder to retain than usual.
Recruiters are also hiring e-commerce marketing managers and heads of e-commerce.
Leadership positions like these are tasked with implementing and maintaining the e-commerce function while optimizing the digital experience for sales and customer retention. While these jobs are easier to fill, the competition for these roles is steep.
Openings for e-commerce marketing managers are more advertised in the US while head of e-commerce is more advertised in the UK. Other countries show no meaningful variance because of small sample sizes.
E-commerce clerk is by far the most in-demand position, appearing more than twice as much as any other role.
Staffing & Outsourcing Firms Post The Most E-commerce Job Offers
Recruiting is a time- and labor-intensive process that businesses often get help with.
We found that the staffing and outsourcing industry posts the most e-commerce job offers (16%), followed closely by consumer products manufacturers (13%), then department, clothing, and shoe stores (10%).
Our findings suggest that retailers, manufacturers and other recruitment leaders are augmenting their hiring efforts with staffing firms. Businesses turn to staffing vendors when they need help finding unskilled and temporary workers. Doing so allows recruiters to skip the lengthy hiring process, gain a workforce, and free themselves up for hiring skilled positions.
Outsourcing companies also offer quick and comparatively inexpensive access to costly, in-demand skills such as software development. Access to coding skills is vital to businesses as they build out their own e-commerce function. Outsourcing programmers from near or far locations helps companies keep costs low and operations flexible.
Manufacturing is another industry that posts a high volume of job offers. As with retail, manufacturers are scrounging to restore their previously furloughed and laid-off workforce. With cases on the rise in the US, workers are likely hesitant to return to work, even with promises of new safety measures.
The staffing and outsourcing industry posts the most job offers in e-commerce, suggesting that companies delegate their recruitment efforts to fill low-skill positions.
Nearly Three in Four E-commerce Jobs Require A Bachelor’s Degree
It came as little surprise that e-commerce recruiters want to hire top talent.
With regard to job descriptions mentioning an education level, nearly four in five (79%) require a bachelor's degree. More than a fifth (21%) of e-commerce job postings require at least a master’s degree.
Employers are more likely to require a bachelor’s degree in North America (88%) and Asia (84%) than in Europe (71%). By contrast, e-commerce roles that require a master’s degree are more concentrated in Europe (29%) than in Asia (15%) and North America (11%). This divergence could be caused by differing expectations for entry-level positions in e-commerce. In other words, American and Asian employers are perhaps more likely to assign master-level work to bachelor-level workers than employers in Europe.
Skilled e-commerce roles are uniquely in-demand since the pandemic. Unlike most sectors where hiring has flagged due to the slumping economy, competition for top talent in e-commerce professionals remains strong. These positions are critical to helping companies reposition themselves for success during the e-commerce revolution.
Common roles that require a bachelor’s degree or higher include:- E-commerce manager
- E-commerce marketing manager
- Software developer
- UI/UX Manager
- Project manager
- Account manager
As the figure below displays, we also found that the average minimum experience required in skilled e-commerce positions is three years.
Most jobs in e-commerce (73%) mentioning education level require a bachelor’s degree.
Manager and Marketers Are The Most Common Job Titles in Job Postings
Most companies recruiting for skilled e-commerce roles are seeking managers and marketers. As the following figure shows, by far the most common term in global job listings that have an educational requirement is “manager.” Following this is “marketing,” “clerk,” “executive,” “digital,” and “developer.”
This indicates that companies need e-commerce managers, marketers and clerks more than developers and analysts.
Unlike analysts and software developers, managers and marketers are essential to e-commerce businesses of all sizes. Similarly, managers are first-hires for companies pivoting into e-commerce because they’re relatively inexpensive. By contrast, developers and analysts are costly employees that tend to work for larger companies with more sophisticated e-commerce functions.
To this point, almost half of all e-commerce job postings (48%) on the hiring site Glassdoor come from companies with 200 or fewer employees (see chart below).
Generally, e-commerce managers are responsible for coordinating and executing strategies that grow and retain a brand’s online audiences. They maintain the omnichannel customer experience, manage vendor relationships, and oversee administrative details. Oftentimes these roles ask for experience in Agile or Scrum management methods but minimal technical expertise.
Similarly, our data shows that the vast majority of job postings ask for experience with a single tool. The tool that most employers want experience with is Google Analytics, followed by Jira, Segment and Mailchimp.
Most job postings for e-commerce professionals (78%) are in management and marketing instead of technical roles like analyst or software developer.
Software development is essential to e-commerce success, as are certain key programming languages.
Software development allows businesses to create the seamless and sophisticated omnichannel shopping experiences that consumers expect.
"Fluency in various languages has become even more critical to business success since the pandemic," says Tom Dunlap, research director of Computer Economics, a research and consulting firm in El Segundo, CA.
“Now, with the pandemic forcing people to use digital technology more in their daily life, organizations in every sector are having to accelerate their web/e-commerce initiatives. That makes developers for these systems a hot commodity,” says Dunlop.
With an increased share of economic activity moving online, other coding languages may see an increase in demand.
The Highest Paying Job Is Director of E-commerce
It’s no surprise that the most lucrative positions in e-commerce are within leadership.
Based on job postings that included a salary, we found that a Director of E-commerce makes an average yearly salary of $104,600 (see figure below). This data only reflects job openings in the US. The second-highest paid role is e-commerce business analysts which earns an average of $67,000 per year.
Compensation for leadership roles in top companies skews much higher. For example, the job posting for Director of E-commerce at Rodan and Fields promises between $173,00-$304,000 per year. The same role at Gap, Inc. was posted at $133,000-$243,000 per year.
With high pay comes high expectations. Directors of E-commerce must design and capitalize upon the omnichannel digital experiences of thousands to millions of customers, using “an entire technology stack and organizational culture to enable real-time, contextually relevant experiences,” says Sheryl Kingstone, VP of Research of 451 Research.
As expected, the delta between six-figure leadership roles and the rest is sizable. As the chart below exhibits, e-commerce managers make an average of $48,400 per year, while the average posted e-commerce salary in the US is $60,000 per year. This suggests a saturation of higher-paying positions like e-commerce business analyst or e-commerce director.
The average posted e-commerce salary in the US is $60,000 per year, yet the average posted e-commerce manager role earns $48,400 annually.
E-commerce Jobs in Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey Pay Best
Compensation for e-commerce professionals in the US varies widely by state.
The figure below shows that based on compensation listed in job postings, e-commerce jobs in Washington offer the highest average salaries at $75,900 per year. Next is Illinois with an average annual salary of $72,500, followed by New Jersey at $71,400, and Minnesota at $70,800.
Trailing the state pay leaders are California, New York, and Texas. Though we would expect the most populous states with the largest cities to pay best on average (i.e. California, New York), our data suggests that salary is more a function of employer location than population.
Washington, for example, is home to Amazon headquarters as well as tech-friendly Seattle. Illinois has Chicago, a major distribution hub for interstate commerce and its many well-established employers. Northern New Jersey, with its sprawling network of ports and truck depots, is the backbone of commercial operations for New York City and the surrounding seaboard. Lastly, retail giant Target is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN.
As stores shutter and e-commerce sees increased penetration, industry leaders will continue to offer the best pay in their respective regions.
U.S. based e-commerce jobs in Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey have the highest average pay.
London Leads European E-Commerce Hiring
Unsurprisingly, large cities offer the most job opportunities.
The figure below displays that most e-commerce job offers in Europe originate in London, UK (4.9%), followed by Paris, France (2.7%) and Berlin, Germany (1.9%).
Our data confirms that most job opportunities in e-commerce are within urban centers. Large international cities are home to European retailers and digital e-commerce brands, as well as satellite offices and operations for global players like Amazon.
As illustrated in the figure below, job postings in the UK are concentrated in London, followed by long standing industrial hubs like Sheffield and Leeds.
This distribution of opportunity suggests that companies are hiring for a range of positions, from unskilled associates to leadership roles. Large cities need workers in warehouses as well as managers and directors in the main offices. Smaller towns, by contrast, have fewer offices but may need operations associates.
Similarly, e-commerce hiring in France is concentrated in Paris (see the map below).
This map reflects that Paris is the hub of e-commerce hiring in France, with less activity countrywide than the UK.
In Germany, however, job opportunities are more equally distributed. The following map shows high recruitment in Berlin and Hamburg with a smattering of hiring in several regions.
This wider distribution of hiring suggests a greater density of low-skill opportunities in Germany. This is because e-commerce clerks are in-demand everywhere, unlike skilled positions that cluster in cities. Germany might be home to fewer e-commerce businesses in total, or, alternatively, the country has a more stable relationship with e-commerce and just needs fewer top roles filled.
London, Paris, and Berlin lead European e-commerce hiring.
Final Summary: E-commerce Hiring Is Increasing As The Industry Grows
- As covid wears on, e-commerce is gaining momentum with consumers who are increasingly comfortable with online ordering. International hiring reflects this upswing in e-commerce penetration.
- Our research shows that retailers dominate hiring in their efforts to satisfy demand for online ordering and fulfillment. Manufacturers and business services companies are recruiting again to get operations back up to speed after layoffs earlier this year.
- E-commerce store associates, and similar titles, are the most hired-for position. Retailers, grocers, and other delivery-based businesses all need extra hands.
- The staffing and outsourcing industry posts the most e-commerce job offers, followed by consumer goods manufacturers and specialty retailers. Companies in need of frontline workers appear to be relying on staffing firms to replenish their workforce.
- The majority of e-commerce job postings that mention education require at least a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, companies seem to be hiring managers first and then marketers, as these are the two job titles that appear most often in job postings. Technical titles like developer or analyst are far less common.
- The highest paying job is Director of E-commerce, followed by E-commerce Business Analyst.
- The most lucrative jobs in e-commerce on average are in Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey. In Europe, e-commerce opportunities are most plentiful in London, Paris, and Berlin.
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