May 6, 2013, 11:31 AM

E-retail jobs are set to grow

E-commerce companies will increase staff by 25% over the next five years.

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Companies are hiring more for web-related jobs, and e-commerce companies in particular will increase their number of employees over the next five years, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

U.S. e-commerce companies will hire 100,000 more employees by 2017, increasing staff count by 25% from the current 400,000 to 500,000.

Forrester says across all companies, not just e-commerce companies, e-business teams grew by 20% from 2011 to 2012. E-business teams include such jobs as such web analytics analysts and information technology staffers. Forrester polled 235 e-business professionals from its marketing and strategy research panel of volunteers in December for its report.

However, while businesses are hiring more for e-business roles, many say it is difficult to find employees that have the skills needed for some positions, particularly I.T., business analytics and customer experience jobs.

“The high demand for e-business positions and the race to create differentiated digital experiences tax e-business professionals to find specialized skills like I.T. and customer experience,” the report reads. “It’s a double whammy for these functions: e-business professionals feel both understaffed in these areas and think they are the hardest skills to hire for.”

The average e-business team has 96 staffers, according to Forrester’s research. Companies with worldwide annual revenue of more than $10 billion have an average of 189 e-business employees. Companies with sales of less than $1 billion have an average of 48. However, smaller companies grew their teams the most. Companies with less than $1 billion in sales grew their e-business teams by an average of 27%.

Other findings include:

• I.T.-related positions account for the largest part of e-commerce staffs, making up 23% of e-business teams. Marketing roles make up 15%, operations accounts for 12% and project managers 11%.

• While I.T. is the most common job, I.T. it is also the area where businesses say they are the most understaffed. 22% of survey respondents say I.T. is the e-business field where they most need more employees.

• 62% of respondents say customer experience-related jobs are challenging or very challenging to fill. 54% said the same about finding I.T. staffers with cutting-edge digital skills, and 55% said the same about finding business analysis and analytics professionals who can extract meaningful insights from multiple data sources.

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