The UK's ecommerce industry will more than double its workforce in the next four years, employing 1.5 million people by 2015, according to new research. At present some 730,000 people currently work in, or support, internet retailing, according to the study from IMRG and eDigitalResearch.
The second annual IMRG e-Jobs Index suggests that 60% of ebusinesses plan to bring in new staff in the coming year.
James Roper, chief executive of IMRG, said: “The continuing strong growth in e-jobs is particularly welcome now when so much employment is being lost across the rest of the economy. The UK leads Europe in e-retail, so many of these new jobs are well paid and right at the cutting edge of commercial innovation, with the skills being developed here arming Britain to win in the ultra-competitive global online marketplace that is already worth billions of pounds per annum to thousands of UK eretailers who are selling cross-border.”
But although this could prove a welcome employment boost to an under-pressure economy, the number of jobs already created in recent months is lower than previously expected. Last year’s index found 80% said they hoped to take on new staff over the 12 months just gone. In fact the true figure was 63%, this year’s research found. Those jobs that have been created are thought to have come thanks to the growth in m-commerce.
Chris Russell, director at online research specialists eDigital Research, said: “As we continue to see the popularity of smartphones and other emerging channel increase with consumers, retailers are beginning to merge and combine multiple departments and operations in order to create a coherent message across the board for all of their customers.
“This is not to say that the ecommerce jobs market is beginning to decline. It simply means that, along with everything else in the ecommerce industry, it is evolving in order to cope with the shifting consumer trends we are witnessing.”
The research found that 42.24% of those who took part in the survey said up to half of their total revenue comes via the internet, but 41.08% said that 91-100% comes from the internet.
It is also estimated that 115,700 delivery staff will distribute more than a billion parcels to online customers in 2011.