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Best Buy set to hire 200 IT pros

Retailers are hiring as e-commerce traffic picks up

Electronics retailer Best Buy plans to hire 200 IT professionals over the next year, and plans to advertise 100 of the positions in the next several weeks.

The company said Thursday that it is seeking candidates "from all backgrounds, industries and locations" to be part of the in-house IT team at its Minneapolis headquarters. (A number of other firms are also hiring .)

Best Buy didn't detail the reasons behind the hiring spree, but its second quarter earnings report offers plenty of clues. The company told investors that its online revenues increased 13% in the most recent quarter, while comparable store sales declined 2.8%.

In an investor conference call, Best Buy CEO and Director Brian Dunn said "we have real opportunities to improve our performance in the online channel, and we're taking actions now to do this," according to a transcript on Seeking Alpha.

The company said it wants people with skills "across the IT landscape," including e-commerce, business analytics, application development, engineering and project management.

Best Buy isn't the only retailer expanding its IT division.

In January, Macy's said it would be hiring 725 people over the next two years to support the growth of macys.com and bloomingdale.com. As part of that plan, it said it would increase its systems and technology organization by 150 positions over the next two years at its central campus in Johns Creek outside of Atlanta. That will boost the size of its technology workforce to more than 1,200 people.

Macy's has 85 IT positions listed on its career page . A check of Target's career page turned up more than 100 IT job openings.

Target's website ran into problems earlier this month after being hit with unusually high traffic after it began selling items from the Missoni Italian fashion house.

Jody Davids, Best Buy CIO and senior vice president of its Global Business Services, said, in a statement that "bringing in the best and the brightest IT talent will help us to achieve our ongoing goals of providing a unique and engaging customer experience - whether in-store, online or across our mobile platforms - and creating a work environment for employees that encourages collaboration and sparks innovation."

Hiring people in Minneapolis may be difficult because the area is seeing a high demand for IT workers, said Adam Hoffarber, director of the IT division of the McKinley Group, a recruiting firm in Minneapolis.

"It's going to be brutal to fill that many positions," said Hoffarber, who believes IT unemployment in that city is less than 2%, with the hottest areas related to e-commerce, application development and analytic -- areas also sought by Best Buy.

Salaries have gone up in the last 12 to 18 months "considerably," said Hoffarber.

"Best Buy historically has been a pretty good place to work from an IT standpoint - that will help them, but there just isn't the workforce to try to pull in 200 positions," Hoffarber.

There are a lot of small to mid-sized companies, in the range of 50 to 500 employees, also seeking IT workers for e-commerce and analytics-related work, said Hoffarber. He noted, too, that .Net development also dominates this market.

Best Buy is trimming hiring in other areas, according to Dunn, who was interviewed by Reuters this week. The company plans to hire 15,000 workers this year in the U.S. for the upcoming holiday season, a sharp reduction from the 29,000 it hired last year.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com .

Read more about it industry in Computerworld's IT Industry Topic Center.


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