The Battle for #eComm Talent
By Josh Woody, VP of Human Resources & Managing Director, Talent Acquisition
As the COVID-19 pandemic gained momentum here in the US earlier this year, numerous states and localities scrambled to try to “flatten the curve”. In an effort to contain or slow the spread of the virus, some places enacted strict measures such as mask mandates and stay at home orders. As a result, businesses scrambled to come up with a game plan to accommodate a remote workforce and continue to deliver their products and/or services.
An initial reaction displayed by many companies was to immediately freeze any new hiring, and, in some cases, furlough or layoff workers. Unfortunately, some of our staffing clients canceled job orders and even pulled offers off the table. Mirroring the broader economy, hiring activity amongst our clients came to a halt, and the US entered a period of the worst GDP drop in history (-32.9%). Certain industries such as restaurants, travel, and entertainment were significantly impacted. Many retailers declared bankruptcy and closed their doors as well. However, this severe drop in some areas of the economy set the stage for increased demand for others…
For the first 6 months of 2020, online consumer spending was up 30.1% from the same period in 2019 (source: Digital Commerce 360).
The pandemic thrust eCommerce to the forefront of retail. Consumers turned to their devices to purchase items and have them delivered to their homes or make available for “contactless” curbside pickup. Many large retailers had already implemented pick up at store functionality, but with COVID keeping shoppers out of stores, the ability for someone to get their purchase faster than delivery has become almost a required feature for retailers and their websites. As of August 2020, 43.7% of the 245 retailers with stores ranked in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 500 offer curbside pickup, a sharp increase from 6.9% at the end of 2019 (source: DC360). Companies have had to quickly pivot to omnichannel fulfillment capabilities in order to remain competitive.
Early in the pandemic, many companies responded to the economic impact by cutting contractor budgets. However, data from Gartner show there has been a shift as companies figure out a new normal and begin to plot strategy and rethink workforce planning moving forward. Gartner found that 32% of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers as a cost-saving measure and “…organizations will continue to expand their use of contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in workforce management post-COVID-19, and will consider introducing other job models they have seen during the pandemic, such as talent sharing and 80% pay for 80% work.”
This booming growth in eCommerce is driving demand for experienced professionals to develop and implement new features such as curbside pickup. Websites also need to be able to handle the increased traffic from shoppers. Companies are addressing these needs in a variety of ways. Some are outsourcing development to consultancies such as the Technology group within BlueSky. Others are addressing business objectives by leveraging the talent acquisition capabilities of staffing companies such as the Talent team here at BlueSky. BlueSky Talent is focused on the eCommerce and digital marketing niches and can source & vet direct-hire talent or provide consultants as staff augmentation resources.
Our talent pipeline runs deep with experience around:
- BlueSky Cloud Commerce
- HCL Commerce (formerly IBM WebSphere Commerce)
- SAP Hybris
- Salesforce Commerce
- Marketing Automation
- Email Marketing
- Content Creation
- Social Media
- Customer Journey Mapping
- UI/UX Optimization
eCommerce jobs are experiencing double-digit growth, and the battle for talent will only intensify as we head into the holiday shopping season.
“It’s critical for business leaders to understand that large-scale shifts are changing how people work and how business gets done,” says Brian Kropp, Distinguished Vice President, Gartner. “HR leaders who respond effectively can ensure their organizations stand out from competitors.”
Whether you have everything figured out or need some guidance on this journey, BlueSky consultants can apply decades of experience to formulate a winning digital strategy… or lend staffing expertise to support your game plan! Contact us today!
Josh Woody manages global HR functions for BlueSky offices in the US, Canada, and India. He also spearheads talent acquisition efforts to attract and secure top professionals to the organization. In 2017, we formalized BlueSky’s Talent Acquisition division, a recruiting and placement division focused on delivering talent to client companies either on a direct hire basis or contract staff augmentation. Josh manages this division and its team of seasoned recruiters.