Demand for IT professionals within the retail sector has jumped 46 percent over the last six months, driven by sales channel upgrades, according to ReThink Recruitment.

ReThink says that the resurgence in demand for IT skills in the retail sector is a result of retailers investing in or replacing their core e-commerce platforms, as well as upgrading their core merchandising and supply chain systems to become truly “multi-channel”.

According to ReThink, IT professionals with experience of multi-channel and e-commerce IT platforms who try to move jobs are being persuaded to stay with their current employers, with “buyback” offers of between 15 and 20 percent increases in their current pay.

ReThink says “buybacks” are lucrative counter-offers made by employers to candidates who resign in an attempt to hold on to them.

Project managers and business analysts are particularly sought-after. ReThink says that contract project managers and business analysts working in the retail sector can now command an average daily pay rate of £500 and £450 respectively, compared to £450 and £400 six months ago.

Some business analysts who are subject matter experts  in specific areas of retail can command considerably more.

A recent Martec report found that 19 percent of retailers are planning to replace their e-commerce platforms in the next 12 months, with 5 percent planning to implement an e-commerce platform for the first time.

Iain Blair, director at ReThink, said, “Competition among retailers is leading to a shortage in the supply of candidates with key skills. Counter-offers of up to 20 percent were virtually unheard of this time last year."

Blair said, “The market is increasingly candidate-led. We actively have to seek out well over a third of the project managers and business analysts we now place with retailers. A year ago candidates were knocking on our door. It’s been a dramatic turnaround.”

Blair added there was an increased demand for candidates who have specific experience in e-commerce personalisation projects, as well as those who have helped retailers achieve the “holy grail” - one single view of stock and customer.