E-commerce Recruitment In 2019: What You Need To Know

Take a deep dive into the data behind e-commerce recruiting.
May 16, 2019
Updated: June 4, 2019
Written by Bailey Reiners

Recruiting in the e-commerce industry is not for the faint of heart.

While it’s a booming industry with almost limitless potential, the competition for top talent is through the roof, making it more difficult than ever to find, connect with and hire elite candidates.

As with most obstacles in life, the best way to overcome this challenge is to better understand what you’re up against and seek a little inspiration from other people that have found success.

In that spirit, we’ve created this guide to provide a primer on the e-commerce industry, identify the most in-demand e-commerce roles in 2019 and cover a few examples of e-commerce companies that are nailing recruitment.

 

E-commerce industry Breakdown

E-commerce is on the rise as consumers opt for the convenience of online shopping over the time and energy commitment of going to a store in-person. One thing we’ve learned in recent years with e-commerce is that above anything, people value convenience and options to fulfill their shopping needs.

 

e-commerce has gone global 

Thanks to low barriers to entry and relatively affordable shipping costs, e-commerce companies are popping up all over the world. This is good news from a business perspective, but it also means you’re competing for talent on a global scale. Market research firm CB Insights mapped the e-commerce industry by country to paint a more complete picture.

ecommerce-recruitment-top-startups
Image via CBInsights

Surprisingly, the US is not the top producer of e-commerce companies with $100M+ funding. The US comes second to China, which accounts for 36% of such companies (the US has 29%, followed by India with 14%).

 

E-Commerce Funding Is Still Hot

In recent years, Angel and Seed e-commerce funding has gradually declined from 53% to 38% while more aggressive Series, like A, B and E+  are noticing growth — a sign that the industry is maturing.

With plenty of money available, successful e-commerce companies are able to grow at a breakneck pace, placing further pressure on the labor market. 

ecommerce-recruitment-funding-cbinsights
Image via CBInsights

 

The E-commerce Job Market

Much has been said of the so-called death of brick and mortar retail of late, but those predictions appear to be very premature. Despite all its success, the e-commerce industry accounts for less than 10% of all retail sales in the United States.

But that statistic belies that outsized impact e-commerce has had on the labor market. While it may still be a smaller piece of the total retail pie, e-commerce employment grew more than any other retail vertical over the past 15 years, creating 178,000 new jobs.

ecommerce-recruitment-growth
Image via Bureau of Labor Statistics

E-commerce companies and jobs tend to remain in large metropolitan areas in the United States, and they require fewer workers to reach higher productivity margins. Also, e-commerce companies pay on average 26% more than their general retail counterparts.

 

 

the Most In-Demand Roles in E-commerce

ecommerce-recruitment

To successfully recruit in the e-commerce space, you must first understand the supply and demand fundamentals driving the sector’s labor market. We analyzed e-commerce jobs data from our seven local communities to better understand the trends driving the marketplace today.

At the highest level (we’ll go into more detail below), we found that five disciplines account for more than 75% of the open roles in the e-commerce industry, making them the most in-demand positions.

 

the-most-in-demand-roles-in-e-commerce
Image via Built In

 

Software Engineering

Per our analysis, more than 32% of the open positions in the e-commerce industry are for software engineers. This makes sense, given the nature of the space. E-commerce platforms do business online, and without software engineers the industry simply wouldn’t exist.

Of course, software engineering is a broad discipline that encapsulates a wide array of unique sub-traits, so we dug a little deeper to determine the most in-demand languages and frameworks as indicated by their inclusion in job descriptions.

  • Javascript - 44.43%

  • Python - 22.34%

  • Java - 22.29%

  • Ruby - 16.04%

  • Linux - 14.47%

Operations

Customer expectations have changed a lot over the last decade. These days, we expect to be able to place an order 24/7 and receive our item within two business days. Of course, this requires an absurd amount of logistical wrangling to pull off, making a well-disciplined operations team critical to success.

This is validated by our data, which found nearly 16% of the open roles in the e-commerce space are for operations positions.

As with software engineering, we were able to dig a little deeper to determine which specific roles are the most in demand, and they broke down as follows:

  • Customer Success

  • Customer Support

  • Information Technology

Marketing

All told, nearly 12% of the open roles in the e-commerce industry are for marketing positions. Given the transactional nature of e-commerce, this should come as no surprise. After all, a steady stream of new customers is critical to the success of most e-commerce companies.

Data & Analytics

As of today, more than 10% of the open roles in the e-commerce industry are for data and analytics positions, but expect that number to continue to grow. As e-commerce companies gain sophistication, they continue to utilize data in new and creative ways, making the discipline even more important.

Again, we examined the broader category in depth to identify the most in-demand skill sets and found the following results:

  • Analysis + Reporting

  • Data Engineering

  • Business Intelligence

Design/UX

Last but not least, the design and UX fields account for more than 8% of the open roles in the e-commerce industry. It takes an army of UX pros to ensure those websites are clean, attractive and easy to navigate, so this one is another no brainer.

 

 

9 E-Commerce Recruitment Examples

Looking to fill some in-demand roles at your company? Check out how these nine e-commere companies attract top candidates for their open roles.

 

Harry's Starts from the Beginning

Harry's greets candidates on their careers page with this well-crafted video about the story of how and why the company was founded based on a mission to create affordable, quality razors and disrupt the previously monopolized industry. 

 

Remitly Shares Employee Testimonials

ecommerce-recruitment-remitly
Image via Remitly

To provide an insider’s take on what it’s like to work at Remitly, employees share why they love working for the company on their careers page. When candidates first land on the page, they can watch a brief video with employee interviews and further down the page are these additional short quotes on why individuals like to work there.

 

Chewy Stays True to their Mission

ecommerce-recruitment-twitter-chewy
Image via Chewy

A company that helps pet owners care for their animals and is equipped with an office full of dogs, cats and even turtles, Chewy has no shortage of great content. On the company’s twitter account, they’ve ‘pinned’ the Tweet above, a recruitment video with adorable footage of their work companions along with interviews from employees on how and why they love contributing to the company’s mission.

 

McDonald’s Targets Their Candidate Persona

ecommerce-recruitment-mcdonalds
Image via McDonald's
ecommerce-recruitment-mcdonalds
Image via McDonald's

McDonald’s knows their target candidate audience — candidates early in their career. Individuals looking to start their career are greeted with this tagline “Committed to Being America’s Best First Job™” followed by videos of current employees and a wealth of information about education opportunities and benefits. They also provide information to help those new to the workforce prepare for their interview along with tips on crafting a resume.

 

HomeAway Recruits Students & Graduates

ecommerce-recruitment-homeaway
Image via HomeAway

Recruiting university students is a great way to fill entry level roles and help graduates jumpstart their careers. HomeAway offers a two-week training program for Computer Science students to work with their applications and a four-week training program for college graduates hired full-time to bring them up to speed.

 

Arrow Electronics Reinvents the Career Path

ecommerce-recruitment-arrow-electronics
Image via Arrow Career

More and more companies are creating programs to help professionals, who have taken an extended period of time off, get back in their careers. Arrow Electronics explains their program on their careers page, calling it their Arrow Career Reinvention Program for qualified professionals in finance and accounting to get back into their career. They help ease any nerves or uncertainties by providing further information about the program and requirements.

 

ShopRunner Builds a Talent Community

ecommerce-recruitment-shoprunner
Image via ShopRunner

It’s always a great idea to continue building your talent pipeline no matter your current open roles. At ShopRunner, they encourage candidates on their careers page to connect with them on a variety of popular national and local recruiting platforms so that they are the first ones notified when a role that fits their interests opens up.

 

BigCommerce is a Proud Top Employer

ecommerce-recruitment-bigcommerce
Image via BigCommerce

Many of the big e-commerce companies are highly competitive employers. To distinguish themselves from other similar companies, BigCommerce shares awards and recognition they’ve received as an employer on their careers page.

 

iHerb Built a Culture of PHILANTHROPISTS 

ecommerce-recruitment-iherb
Image via iHerb

The team at iHerb is passionately charitable, partnering with local and international organizations to give back. A section of their careers page is dedicated to sharing the philanthropic opportunities they provide as an employer and how their culture is deeply rooted in such work. 

Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us