A woman is using a phone with the Shopify app open on it.
Image: © Jirapong/Stock.adobe.com

Shopify to hire engineers in Ireland in new-year recruitment drive

6 Jan 2021

The e-commerce company is hiring more than 2,000 engineers globally this year and will expand its Irish workforce.

Shopify plans to hire engineers around Ireland as it expands its workforce in the country over the next year.

The company, which develops a platform and tools for businesses to build online stores, has more than 400 remote employees in Ireland currently, mostly in customer support roles.

The recruitment drive is part of Shopify’s plans to double its engineering staff globally this year. It has committed to hiring 2,021 engineers and other technical positions in 2021 in various locations including Ireland.

Much like its customer support roles, the company will be hiring for remote positions here. Outside of its native Canada, Ireland has Shopify’s largest cluster of staff.

“A lot of growth has come in the international arena so it behoves us to actually spread that engineering talent and engineering wealth around the world and we have such a concentration of people in Ireland,” said John Riordan, who heads up the company’s Irish operations.

“It’s quite a natural occurrence for that mushroom cloud of growth to be built around an existing group of people.”

A headshot of John Riordan smiling into the camera and wearing a blue shirt.

John Riordan. Image: Shopify

The Ottawa-headquartered company has historically had a strong focus on remote working, but the pandemic led it to consider a more permanent ‘work-from-anywhere’ model. Last May, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke said the company would become “digital by default”, adding that “office centricity is over”.

Riordan noted that remote working has always been a strong selling point for the company – it is the largest “pure play” remote employer in Ireland, he said – but its reputation has also grown as e-commerce demand has soared.

“The cachet around Shopify has changed quite considerably in the last two to three years and we’re now deemed significantly more attractive from a platform perspective as opposed to a working model perspective, so I think we have equalised the balance between the two,” he said.

“We’re now seen as an incredibly good place to work with a very mature remote model and also one of the fastest growing companies in the hottest space.”

Shopify was one of the few winners of the pandemic when the demand for e-commerce accelerated as countries locked down and high-street shutters were pulled.

In the third quarter of 2020, it reported revenue of $767.4m – a 96pc increase from the same period the previous year – with gross profit of $405.1m. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it saw more than $5.1bn in sales generated through sites using its tech.

“There was an interesting dynamic here because remote work and e-commerce both saw roughly the same dynamics [during the pandemic], where 10 years of growth got condensed into literally a couple of weeks,” Riordan added.

Shopify says that it powers more than 1m businesses around the world. It does not disclose customer numbers on a country-by-country basis but the “rate of growth has been exceptional in Ireland” in 2020, according to Riordan.

The company has traditionally focused on providing services to SMEs and sole traders that needed help with their online presence. It has since expanded into the enterprise space, working with brands such as Heinz, Gymshark and Lindt.

Shopify has been growing its workforce in Ireland for more than five years. It began hiring in the Galway region and eventually the rest of the country, relying heavily on the remote model to secure talent outside of urban centres. When the pandemic took hold, Shopify “didn’t really skip a beat”, Riordan said.

Jonathan Keane
By Jonathan Keane

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin, covering VC funding, start-ups, fintech and the gig economy. He was previously a reporter at business news outlet Fora.

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