IDS, the employment research arm of Thomson Reuters, has conducted a survey that has found that in 2013 e-commerce roles are valued higher than IT support roles by organisations that include Heineken, British Airways, John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Transport for London.

IDS found that e-commerce, or online roles, had a wider distribution of midpoint salaries between the median and upper quartile, than between the median and lower quartile. Meanwhile, the midpoint salary distribution for IT user support technicians is relatively narrow when compared with the midpoint salary distribution for e-commerce executives.

Simply put, online execs paid in the upper quartile get paid more, on average, than IT support execs in the upper quartile, despite having similar median salaries when looking at pay across the board.

“The difference is obvious when comparing IT user support technician with e-commerce/online marketing executive salaries,” reads the Thomson Reuters report.

“This could be an indication that organisations do not experience many difficulties recruiting IT user support technicians.”

The survey also found that although the majority of respondents (68%) said that recruitment issues were ‘about the same’ as a year ago, with only 30% saying that recruitment had become ‘more difficult’, there were specific examples provided by companies of problems recruiting in e-commerce.

The report states: “A number of respondents in retail, hospitality and leisure reported difficulty recruiting e-commerce roles, such as ‘e-commerce strategic development’ and ‘e-commerce technical roles’.

With regard to IT and e-commerce recruitment drives going forward, e-commerce wins out again. IT employees are expected to increase in about 24% of organisations this year, whilst e-commerce jobs are expected to increase by 40%. However, both these figures are down on last year’s results.

Also, staff retention is significantly more difficult for these in-demand online job roles.

“Our survey finds that organisations are more likely to have problems retaining e-commerce professionals compared to IT professionals. E-commerce employees typically have a shorter length of service and higher employee turnover rates than IT employees,” said IDS.

“The median length of service for e-commerce professionals is three years, while the median length of service for IT professionals is 6.3 years.”

Elsewhere, the report found that just over half of respondents operate bonus schemes for IT and e-commerce employees. The median award for bonus payments was 15% of salary, but senior staff and managers tend to receive higher bonuses than junior staff.