What Is Retail’s Fastest Growing Tech Job?

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Most Popular Retail Job Title

Logistics Specialist
Software Developer
Marketing Specialist
Operations Specialist
HR Specialist
IT Support Specialist
Business Strategist
Business Analyst

As digital sales continue to make up a bigger piece of the retail pie, traditional in-store staff numbers are shrinking and tech jobs are rising in prominence.

Five years ago, nearly 200,000 people self-identified themselves as retail associates on LinkedIn. In 2017, that number shrunk nearly in half to 116,000, prompting the popular social media platform to dig deeper into the trend.

The just released LinkedIn report “Data Reveals the Fastest-Growing Job in Retail (And It's Not Sales)” discovers that although sales is still the most popular retail job function, various tech jobs are surging in important and popularity. According to the report, software developer is now the third most popular job title in retail, up from eighth place in 2013, marking the fasted growth among any retail title.

To snag one of these in-demand software developer jobs candidates need a very specific set of skills. According to the report Java, JavaScript, and SQL are among the most common skill sets, while WMS implementation, Akamai, and supply chain optimization are the most unique and will likely set a candidate out from the crowd.

Key skills held by retail software developers

  • Most common skills


  • Fastest-growing skills

    Amazon Web Services

  • Most unique skills

    WMS implantation
    Supply chain optimization
    Oracle Retail

While sales is still king of retail positions, five of the nine other positions that make up the 10 most popular job titles are tech jobs or have a major tech focus ― logistic specialist, software developer, marketing specialist, operations specialist, and IT support specialist.

Workers that identify themselves as retail associates

2013: 198,000
2014: 199,000
2015: 187,000
2016: 159,000
2017: 116,000

Retailers recognize that strong tech is the driving force of retail success and their realignment of their workforces highlight this fact. In 2013, 33% of retail workers were in a sales role, with just 7% in engineering and IT. Fast forward to today and 29% are in sales and 9% in engineering and IT. While the percentage changes are not drastic, the fact that they occurred over a relatively short five-year time period is significant ― and in just one year’s time engineering and IT increased from 8% to 9% of the total retail workforce.

Retail associate has always been a high turnover position, and that trend continues today and will surely endure into the future. But where do associates go after they leave their position? According to LinkedIn, these are the five most popular positions for ex-associates: administrative employee, customer service specialist, student, food service professional, and operations specialist.

Most popular retail roles

Sales: 29%
Operations: 13%
Engineering & IT: 9%
Support: 8%
Marketing 6%
Other: 35%


LinkedIn analyzed aggregate member data to uncover its Insights on the retail industry’s workforce composition, hiring trends, popular job titles, and skills. For the research, the retail industry comprises companies of at least 100 employees that sell general merchandise (e.g., supermarkets), specialty goods, or sell online as e-commerce businesses.

The social media platform analyzed the skills of software developers at retail companies to find their top skills (by volume of members), fastest-growing skills (calculated by percentage of  retail developers adding that skill in last 6 months), and most unique skills (calculated by comparing the percentage of retail developers with certain skills against the percentage of all software developers with those skills).


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