Press Release

1.5 Million UK Jobs in e-Commerce by 2015

1.5 Million UK Jobs in e-Commerce by 2015

  • 730,000 now working in, or in support of, the e-commerce industry
  • 60% of e-businesses are looking to bring in new staff over next 12 months
  • Increase in employment opportunities welcome news for under pressure UK job market

An estimated 1.5 million UK staff will work within the e-commerce industry within the next four years according to new research from IMRG and eDigitalResearch.

The second annual IMRG e-Jobs Index shows that 63% of online businesses increased staff levels over the past year alone, with an estimated 730,000 now working in, or in support of, the e-commerce industry as revenues continue to grow.

The study, conducted in association with eDigitalResearch, shows that 74% of e-commerce departments and businesses have increased their turnover since last year and presents a huge opportunity for the industry to develop further, as another 60% of e-businesses are looking to increase staff numbers over the next 12 months.

However, this figure is considerably lower than what was anticipated. Last year, over 80% of those surveyed said that they hoped to recruit over the coming months. The actual number of companies that recruited new members of staff stands at 17.45% lower than this and is likely to be attributed to the recent and rapid growth of the m-commerce market.

Chris Russell, Director at eDigitalResearch, explains, “As we continue to see the popularity of smartphones and other emerging channels 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 e-commerce jobs market is beginning to decline. It simply means that, along with everything else in the e-commerce industry, it is evolving in order to cope with the shifting consumer trends we are witnessing”.

Almost half (43.24%) of those surveyed suggested that up to 50% of their total revenue is generated via the internet. More importantly, another 40% (41.08%) indicated that 91-100% of overall revenue comes from e-commerce channels, an increase of 4% on the same figures last year, and represents the continued growth of the e-commerce industry and the importance for dedicated e-commerce teams and staff members.

James Roper, CEO at IMRG, comments, “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 e-retailers who are selling cross-border.  Despite the recession, domestic e-retail continues to grow at 18% year-on-year as millions of hard-pressed consumers shop online to make their money stretch further, and with a third of the UK’s adult population yet to shop online, e-retail is set to continue to be a key employment generator for years to come”.

Unsurprisingly, Christmas remains the most popular time of the year for online businesses to recruit extra staff, with one in four retailers (27.5%) declaring that they will look to employ temporary staff to help with the increase in online activity.

It is also important to acknowledge that a considerable amount of staff also work in areas supporting the e-commerce industry, including distribution and delivery, customer support and website development. It is estimated that 115,700 delivery staff will distribute over one billion parcels to online customers in 2011.


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