Umbrella companies supplying contractors to the IT skills market may find themselves moving into the retail sector in the light of new figures from the recruitment firm ReThink Recruitment.  Demand for IT professionals has soared in the sector, more than doubling in the space of a year: ReThink received 218 requests for candidates with IT skills in the fourth quarter of 2009 but this had leapt to 564 by the same quarter of 2010.

Iain Blair, ReThink Recruitment’s Director, attributes the rise to increasing retail competition in providing mobile, multi-channel online and home delivery customer services.  This has not only increased demand for IT professionals but has also pushed up their pay rates, he observed, adding that IT specialists with e-commerce experience “are now commanding up to a 24% pay premium over colleagues in equivalent roles in other sectors”.

By way of comparison, programme managers in other industry sectors can secure pay rates of around £685 per day at present; in retail, by contrast, programme managers with e-commerce experience can expect to be paid £850 per day.  Project managers and business analysts can also command similar pay rates in the retail sector, ReThink Recruitment believes.  Blair was forthright in his assessment, declaring that “E-commerce and financial sector IT skills command the highest salaries.”

Retailers such as Morrisons, Waitrose, and John Lewis have driven the demand for IT skills as they seek to expand their home delivery services.  In addition, there may be even greater demand for IT skills in the sector – according to a report by Martec, 19 per cent of retailers intend to replace their e-commerce platforms over the next twelve months and a further 5% are planning to acquire an e-commerce platform for the first time.

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