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Posted on August 9, 2016 by staff

Retailers struggling to attract digital talent

Retailers are struggling to recruit digital talent as online sales become ever more important to their future success.

The British Retail Consortium reported on Tuesday that online sales had risen at the fastest pace for six months, up 11.2 per cent in July.

The older generation is slowly adopting technology, with a reported 69 per cent of 55- to 64-year-olds purchasing goods online in 2015 and sites run by the likes of online specialists Shop Direct leading the way.

But many of the High Street stalwarts they are familiar with, such as BHS, are struggling to keep up with the pace of digital change.

That is in part because they are unable to attract the developer talent needed to deliver an attractive and frictionless online experience to customers.

As they struggle amid the tech skills shortage, many have turned to ‘employer branding’ in an effort to facilitate change.

James Parsons, above, CEO and founder of consultant Arrows Group Global, said: “Creating a digital presence is not just an optional extra; it is essential for long term survivability.

“The difficulty for retailers is that their digital offering is entirely dependent on the talent available.

“Retailers are having to compete for digital talent against some of the most famous technology companies in the world, each launching the latest high-tech solutions every year.

“The financial industry has been able to increase its attractiveness to digital talent, particularly with fintech innovations, but that appeal is still elusive for the vast majority of high-street retailers.”

Eighty per cent of businesses who took steps to improve their employer branding cited improved digital recruitment as their primary motivation.

“It is vital that retailers understand the talent market’s perception of their brand, particularly in relation to competitors,” added Parsons.

“Then retailers can begin to create a hiring proposition that positively targets and influences the desired talent.

“Maximising the employee value proposition is a vital part of any digital transformation process, as being able to attract suitable talent will give retailers the expertise they need to navigate the new realities of retailing.”