Canadian Demand for Online Business Experts to far Exceed Supply

Every statistic and guru prediction has told us Canada is ready to rock online business. They’re slowly putting eCommerce in place, utilizing online marketplaces, participating in online marketing, and getting a grip on multi-channel retail.  Businesses are embracing eCommerce with good reason.  At the Retail Council of Canada’s STORE 2014 conference, Keith Anderson, VP & Senior Analyst at Retail Net Group, predicted digitally influenced retail will soon trump traditional offline retail.  The latest Statistics Canada data indicates almost half (47%) of Canadians now shop online.

All of this growth and focus on Internet sales and marketing is already resulting in a serious shortage of people who have the talent and expertise to pull it off. One only has to look across the border to see American companies already poaching established eBusiness experts to avoid an expensive hiring error. Whenever you see yet another scandal involving something said or done on social media, for example, chances are there’s a bad hire behind it.  That’s because countless people say they can do the job, but very few actually excel at it.

Don’t look to the universities to eventually cover the skills shortage in this category. It only takes two years for tech-related business education to become obsolete, but the average business degree takes at least four years to complete. By the time they graduate, a student’s education is already outdated. To remain current in this field, eCommerce and online marketing professionals must constantly continue to learn (mostly on their own time). To have the drive and ambition it takes for that level of perpetual learning, the individual must truly love what they do. Those factors alone seriously reduce the chance of any business finding a diamond in the rough.

Further complicating matters is the skill diversity required in these positions. They must have talent in everything from business acumen to writing, tech to graphics design, marketing to public relations, analytical to decisive, planning to leadership, and beyond. There is no way around this, to succeed online Canadian businesses are going to have to make some very smart hiring decisions from a shrinking pool of talent.

Another critical factor is these positions are often very public on a very unforgiving Internet.  By nature, it demands personality, decorum, maturity, sound judgement, and an understanding that they must conduct themselves professionally (or at least respectfully) at all times.

What can you do?

  • Start building your eCommerce and online marketing team right now. The demand remains reasonable at the moment but within the next couple of years it will be next to impossible to find even average online business staff.
  • Talent can be pricey, but small businesses can still afford to score in eCommerce. Your best bet is to find those elusive individuals who can do it all. Often they’ve been in the workplace for 20+ years and have grown with the Internet. They embraced it and expanded their skill set to include it, yet they can still cover traditional jobs for you. For example, I can manage your office, support your sales team, fill in for your administrative assistant, do your online and offline marketing, write for your blog, design your graphics, manage your social media, move effortlessly between online and offline business/retail, work with both techies and dinosaurs, plus set up and maintain your website. We’re out there, grab one while you can and you’ll have several employees for the price of 1.5.
  • Watch the Internet for shining stars in the field. Seeing them in action is the only way to reasonably ensure they’re going to take your company to the top of cyberspace.
  • When you find one of these multi-talented individuals, charm them, woo them, and hang onto them for dear life if you get them. Remember the days when talented computer techs where getting shiny new sports cars as a signing bonus? That’s where eCommerce and online marketing is going.

Be ready before you hire so no time is wasted. For example, you can take the first step of bringing your business online, even if you don’t immediately have eCommerce features. Make sure your website host facilitates Canadian eCommerce in regards to currency and shipping options so your new staff can hit the ground running. The most popular Canadian eCommerce platform provider is Shopify Canada.

The potential success offered by online business in Canada is both exciting and intimidating at the same time. Start now, be ready, and the places it takes your business will make you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.

How has your search for eCommerce and eMarketing experts been going?  Please share your questions or experience in the comments below.

Editor’s note: For information about hiring our digital marketing manager / writer, Melody McKinnon, please contact her directly through the About Our Writer page rather than via customer support. Thank you!

DemacMedia: 4 Key Takeaways from Retail Council of Canada’s STORE 2014
Statistics Canada: Digital technology and Internet use, 2013

✔ You may also be interested in reading:
10 Tips for Taking Product Photos That Sell Online
Canadian Internet Shoppers Spend More, Both Online & Offline
Canadians Spending More Online Than Ever (Stat’s & Infographic)


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11 Responses to "Canadian Demand for Online Business Experts to far Exceed Supply"

  1. Draper  July 3, 2014

    I thought you were exagerating. I’ve been looking since I first saw your post and it’s already a nightmare of people who say they know what they’re doing when they don’t or overeducated snotnosed kids I could never trust my online self to. The agencies are so obviously agencies when they post I might as well not bother. What am I going to do???

  2. Kent H  June 25, 2014

    I don’t think anyone anticipated just how hard it would be to find people who are effective in this online world. If it was just broadcasting it could be learned but it takes gut instinct, insight & solid business knowledge with communication skills on top. If the person applying doesn’t have it all it’s just a waste of money.

  3. Malinda  June 25, 2014

    It isn’t ALL THAT hard to learn as slong as you aren’t blogging about stuff thats hard.

  4. Anthony  June 24, 2014

    What burns me is Canadian companies will whine about not being able to find people but it’s because they don’t want to pay them enough. Those people MAKE A LOT OF MONEY for you but Canadians can’t make the connection. They’d rather lose more than they’d spend on hiring someone good.

  5. Hank Zabinski  June 22, 2014

    Unarguably true and it’s caused our HR department a lot of anxiety already. Oh I knw we can educate people in the basics but it’s impossible to know if the dedication is there. The only hope is that we find one exceptional person to guide the rest of the team.

  6. Uri  June 15, 2014

    We’ve really been struggling with it too. The applicants who are good at it already expect at least $80,000/year in salary and a lengthy list of perks. At the management level anyway.

  7. Haley B  June 15, 2014

    I’m a little comforted that it’s not just me anyway. I was beginning to think I was doing something wrong so nobody wanted to work for me LOL. I guess I am doing something wrong, I’m not offering enough wage or incentive. They’re worth it for sure but I was going by wage scales.

  8. Barb Clarke  June 15, 2014

    We’ve been trying to train select current employees for ecommerce & social media with mixed results. Sometimes the talent is right under your nose. :-)It’s an option if you don’t mind a lot of trial & error.

  9. Hans  June 15, 2014

    You’re not kidding! And most of the talented people we do have end up in the states. We need to be proactive in recruiting & keeping experts or we’ll never make any money online. I LOVE your solution for small businesses! There’s a lot of people who are making their own name in this business in the school of hard knocks. In retail that’s usually more valuable than any piece of paper and it’s especially true online. People like your writer are becoming very popular so hang onto her.

  10. Trent Rooke  June 15, 2014

    To be honest we’re already having a hard time finding qualified people. We’ve had to let two go because their degree meant nothing so believe me this article is right about that. We’re taking a breather while we research more so we can make a more informed decision next time. Thanks for lighting a fire under me, I’ll get back at it first thing Monday.

  11. Nadire  June 15, 2014

    I called this a couple of years back when content took off. Most people just don’t have the skills to do these jobs exceptionally well. It’s a huge commitment of time & effort. The good ones are worth their weight in gold, I agree. The big companies won’t have a problem because they can pay huge salaries like they always do for execs but every other business will suffer if they don’t manage to grab someone while they’re affordable.


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