Online retail is a fast-growing field crying out for STEM skills.
Millions of us are loving the ‘find-like-buy’ process – Aussies and Kiwis jointly spent almost A$34 billion with online retailers in the 12 months to September 2019 according to reports from the National Australia Bank and the Bank of New Zealand. Retail businesses are rapidly transitioning from physical stores to digital platforms and massively enhancing the user experience (UX) for online shoppers. The National Online Retailers Association says the consumer experience is “far more complex and fragmented than ever before”.
Which means, the industry needs serious numbers of STEM-smart people to fill jobs like data analysts, software engineers, UX designers and web developers. So, not only can you shop online but now you can get a cool tech job with the retailers you follow!
And it’s not just the big brands dominating online – there are plenty of exciting startups
in this space looking for new talent. New Sydney-based online retail platform TheUrge was launched in April 2019. Since then, the new online fashion retail search portal has had more than 210,000 page views and made AU$250,000 in sales. But the company is struggling to find STEM- smart school leavers and uni grads.
According to the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Business, by May 2023 the total number of STEM-reliant jobs will grow by 10.8%, compared to 6.1% for non-STEM
jobs. “The industry needs a very different skill set now compared to old retail stores
but there are not enough people to meet the demand,” say TheUrge co-founders Cayley
and Doron Ostrin.
Google-style fashion startup looking for STEM grads
Doron and Cayley Ostrin are the husband-and-wife co-founders of cool new online retail startup TheUrge, a platform that takes a Google-style pure search engine approach to fashion retail.
TheUrge, which aims to be the world’s one-stop-shop for online fashion retailing, is actively searching for young STEM-smart girls and guys to fill their ranks. This is driven by the fact that the site has grown super-fast since launching in April 2019. Check it out: 210,000 page views, 93,000 unique users and A$250,000 in sales in under a year! They’ve also launched in the US and are aiming for the UK in 2020.
Doron and Cayley say as companies like theirs accelerate in growth, it’s becoming clear where the gaps are in the workforce. “There are lots of new roles now in things like UX, design, feedback gathering, data analytics, etc. This means the demand for STEM-smart graduates in online retail is outstripping supply,” they say.
TheUrge co-founders are particularly keen to recruit data scientists, and more girls in particular – as online retail has, to date, had a predominantly female audience. “We need more people in the team who are actually shoppers as well as having the STEM skills, so they understand the brand and the buying process. But these people are very hard to find. The female developers we see are cool and funky but they are getting snapped up so quickly by other employers because of the demand for their skills – and not just in retail.”
– Matthew Brace
RELATED: The science of shopping
Online shopping career checklist
When you think about working in retail, you might think about sweeping floors and dressing showroom dummies. But in the age of online shopping there are loads of tech jobs crying out for STEM grads to fill them. Here are just a few:
Data analysts: categorising products, working on ranking and relevancy, search navigation and search experimentation platforms. $50K–$98K
Digital marketing specialists: identifying target markets, creating brand images and using search-engine optimisation and marketing to create online campaigns. $47K–$84K
UX designers: creating captivating, graphics-rich online experiences so customers love the shopping experience. $50K–$110K
Web and app developers: driving expansion and keeping up with customer demand for shopping via screen and voice. $45K–$88K
*Source: salaries according to payscale.com
This article was originally pulished in Careers with STEM: Digital Retail special edition. Read the full emagazine for free here
Author: STEM Contributor
This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.