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IT jobs market grows fast as online retail booms: study

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The job market for IT and web design workers is growing fast as online retail booms, new figures suggest.

Hiring for IT roles grew by 12% in 2012, compared to 3% for retail hires, specialist technology recruiter Greythorn found. Some 32,000 new roles in IT and web design were created in the last year, its analysis concludes, with the biggest demand for web designers – up by 19.4% to from 31,000 jobs to 37,000 jobs in total.The number of IT business architects and system designers also grew over the year, up by 18.8% from 85,000 to 101,000 over the period.

Greythorn says it has seen growth of 89% in IT roles placed in online retailers over the past year, compared with the previous 12 months.

The growth comes at a time when online spending is growing fast. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index suggests that ecommerce grew by 14% in 2012, and predict it will grow by 13% in 2013.

But at the same time high street retail sales are showing only slight growth. The ONS estimates that in January the volume of retail goods bought fell by 0.6%, while the value of those goods stayed flat. At the same time online sales rose by 8.7%, according to ONS figures. The same month John Lewis, which has just reported online growth of 41% in 2012, announced it was to hire 100 new IR staff.

Mark Baxter, director at Greythorn UK, said: “The list of high street insolvencies is becoming a roll-call and there appears to be no end of famous names struggling or going under. It is undoubtedly sad news, but there is a silver lining in the growth of IT roles. As online shopping grows, companies are increasingly investing in improving the customer experience and the back office operations supporting online sales. It is a key stage in transferring to a high tech economy. The number of specialised new roles is growing and that is only good news for IT professionals.”

These new jobs in online retail also carry higher salaries, with the average salary of an IT system designer standing at £37,092, while a retail manager with a similar level of seniority earns on average £21,237, although wage growth in both IT and retail have been slow in recent years.

Baxter said: “A career in IT is potentially very lucrative and the number and diversity of roles is growing rapidly. Obviously, there are specific technical skills that are needed, but it is a candidate’s market for experienced IT professionals who are either already in online retail or those in other sectors with transferrable skills.

“For people looking to retrain, web design and online retail offer excellent opportunities that will only increase as people vote with their feet and choose to stay at home rather than shop on the high street.”

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