Recruitment consultant Patrick Tame highlights the surge in demand for digital skills, particularly e-commerce, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Patrick Tame is CEO of Beringer Tame, a start-up he founded in 2004 that has since evolved into an award-winning e-commerce and digital marketing recruitment consultancy. Throughout Covid-19, he has seen an uptick in demand for digital skills.
The pandemic, he said, has made consumers “far more wary about leaving their houses”, driving “significant uplift” in e-commerce: “In fact, it has become abundantly clear that, following lockdown, consumers are relying on e-commerce more than ever before.”
Tame continued: “It became evident very quickly after the UK went into lockdown that many companies across a wide variety of sectors did not have the digital skills and infrastructure in place to cope with the unprecedented demand for online services.
“For example, the online offering of supermarkets, particularly at the beginning of the lockdown period, was not even nearly satisfactory and smaller businesses had little to nothing in place having never needed to provide such services before.”
This has led to a high demand for e-commerce skills, he explained, across such sectors as food delivery, contact solutions, e-learning and e-tourism. Companies in these industries have had to quickly pivot to online offerings.
“With the future looking as digitally enabled as ever, there is plenty of growth and opportunity for talent within e-commerce,” Tame added.
The digital skills in high demand
Digital talent is in huge demand, Tame said, and this covers a vast number of skillsets. These span UX skills for companies hoping to build e-commerce platforms and CRM knowledge to help brands enhance customer engagement, as well as building presence on social media and understanding the data.
“Roles in analytics are ever more sought after and those well versed in the marketing mix, spotting trends and actioning insights for growth, will always be needed,” he told me.
With more people online than ever before, Tame added, “digital demand has resulted in greater opportunity for those who have solid digital marketing and e-commerce skills”.
The roles Tame sees as the most in demand right now are CRM managers, SEO and pay-per-click experts, email marketing specialists, marketplace managers, e-commerce traders, digital analysts and digital marketing or brand managers.
How to pick up the right skills
Tame is a massive fan of learning on the job, he told me. “Most people will learn far more from having first-hand experience rather than learning from observing for hours. A learning mindset or desire to learn will always be favoured.”
If you’d prefer to take up a course, however, he advised choosing wisely given the vast array of options.
“It’s a bit of a minefield so I’d recommend having a chat with your connections and asking for their recommendations on which option is best suited to you. Also ask yourself whether you need a formal qualification or whether a quick YouTube video is sufficient.
“With so many courses at your fingertips, it’s always best to check out what is on offer, research fully what you will learn and understand what will help you in the long run. Time is precious, so use it wisely.”
How companies can begin to bring in more digital talent
There are a number of steps businesses can take to successfully incorporate digital talent into their workforce, Tame says.
“Firstly, plan ahead. Don’t just dip your toe in the water and wait to see if something bites – it takes times to hire talent and in the current climate with increasing levels of unemployment, it could take even longer to sift through candidates’ applications.”
Employers need to recognise the “competitive market”, he adds: “Good people have choices and you may need to headhunt people who are still working. This takes dedicated resource and commitment.”
Companies should also have “a vision and a story”. It’s best to keep these from being convoluted or complicated. Tame advised: “Just ask yourself why people should work for your company. Create something that will spur people on to want to work for you.”
He also said to keep recruitment in-house where possible. “It’s an integral part of your business. You may need to rely on specialist recruitment agencies who will work alongside your internal team to provide strategic headhunting and talent acquisition services, but done right, they will give you the competitive edge.
“Digital is a broad church and one person is unlikely to be your panacea. Winning in digital comes through people, not technology. Everyone has the same technology but winning in digital will always come from hiring the best people who bring skills and experience to enhance your company. It’s a no-brainer to invest in getting this right.”