March 27, 2008, 12:00 AM

Survey: Help wanted

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To recruit and retain qualified employees, 53.5% of survey respondents are also offering workers enhanced benefits and perks such as bigger 401K contributions, higher bonuses for superior individual or group performance, more paid holidays, reduced summer hours, flexible time schedules and the option to work from home. “I have a web retailer headquartered in Florida who hired a new Internet marketing manager who lives and works in Rhode Island and it’s working out just fine,” Joiner says. “If retailers want to find all of the workers they need these days, they are going to have to be creative in crafting a work environment and benefits package that is different from the norm.”

Web retailers are clearly in a hiring mode, or were until now, as evident by the 73.2% of companies that have expanded their e-commerce staff by at least 10% in the past year, including 13.4% by more than 50%. However, 32.7% expect to curb their hiring this year.

But even with plenty of jobs to offer potential candidates and a desire to offer fatter paychecks and better perks to qualified specialists, web retailers won’t see the tight labor market ease for at least the foreseeable future, experts predict. Other companies in other industries, including travel, hospitality and entertainment, also have a demand for e-commerce technicians and search engine marketers. “E-commerce is a growth channel within a wider variety of industries these days and companies know that web retailers do a nice job in training entry level employees,” Mitchell says. “Retailers need to stay very good at recruiting and keeping their talent. If they don’t, someone else will.”

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