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2021 Ecommerce Salary Insights & Digital Marketing Salary UK Survey

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Welcome to our 2021 Ecommerce Salary Insights & Digital Marketing Salary UK Survey which shares key UK macro-economic market data as well as details on in-demand roles, skills and average salaries within the digital and ecommerce sectors. 

2020 is unlikely to be remembered with enduring affection as a global public health emergency led to worldwide lockdowns, business closures and high unemployment. 

However, it was also a year of breakthrough transformation and reinvention. Rapid and continuous change created a hugely challenging environment for multiple professions, and perceptions of existing working practices were questioned. 

Countless organisations that did not adapt swiftly enough fell, whilst many that pivoted quickly by shifting their working patterns and modifying their business models not only stayed afloat, but reached new heights of success.

2021 will bring its own challenges too, however the record growth experienced by online retail in the past year will keep it at the forefront of economic growth as the population continues to shop online. 

Flexible working will continue to be a major draw for employees as they search for more balance in their lives and ecommerce and digital skills will be in high demand as employers build a digital-first business strategy.

Should you have any questions about our ecommerce salary insights or if you’re looking to hire top digital talent into your business, our ecommerce recruitment consultants are always on hand to help.

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  1. Economic Impact 2020
  2. Ecommerce & Digital Marketplace
  3. Ecommerce & Digital Salaries
  4. Digital Jobs Marketplace
  5. Driving Force Behind Digital Job Hunting
  6. What Does The Future of Digital Recruiting Hold

The UK Economy

Economic Impact 2020

The UK economy shrank by a record 9.9% in 2020 (more than twice as much as the previous largest annual fall on record). 

During the first two months of lockdown, UK GDP fell by 24% (April vs February 2020); this was followed by a short term recovery as the economy opened up during the spring and summer and then further shrinkage later in the year as restrictions returned.

However, it is expected that the economy will avoid a double-dip recession after economic growth of 1.2% in December.

UK Economic Shrinkage 9.9% 2020

 “Making the right investments now is vital both to support the recovery when it is urgently needed and foster resilience. Our response to the pandemic crisis today will shape our common future for years to come. We should seize the opportunity to lay the foundations for a durable, equitable, and sustainable global economy.”

(David Malpass, President, World Bank Group)

Consumers & Businesses Adapted To Restrictions

  • Consumers adapted their spending "levels and patterns" to lockdowns restrictions
  • People and businesses adapted to working, travelling, socialising, consuming and producing while restrictions were in force

Consumer adaption to socially distanced economy

The UK economy revealed a dynamic relationship between public health restrictions, mobility and economic activity – with the economy becoming increasingly adapted to operating under lockdowns and other public health restrictions during 2020.

The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR)

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment, unsurprisingly, spiked (especially in the younger age groups) in 2020 as nearly 3/4 million people lost their jobs. The UK national unemployment rate currently sits at an estimated 5.1% and is expected to peak at 6.5% next year (although this is much lower than the original prediction of 11.9%).  

Unemployment 2020 Image

  • 700,000 people lost their jobs in 2020
  • Unemployment rate (Oct-Dec 2020) 5.1%
  • Unemployment estimated peak (2021) 6.5%
  • 16 - 24 year old's have suffered the biggest rise in unemployment 
  • Unemployment has been driven by those aged 16-64

UK Unemployment rate by age ending Dec 2020

Data: UK unemployment rate by age (aged 16 years and over), seasonally adjusted, cumulative growth from October to December 2019, for each period up to October to December 2020

(Source: ONS)

Redundancy Rate

The UK redundancy rate increased during 2020 to 12.3 per thousand as businesses laid off staff. Non-essential businesses closed in sectors such as travel, entertainment and hospitality and huge losses in profitability followed as the population hunkered down.  

  • UK Redundancy Rate (2020) - 12.3 per 1000

(Source: ONS)

Our economy could rebound with 4% growth in 2021 and "return to pre-Covid levels by mid 2022 with growth of 7.3%" 

Economic 'Roadmap to Recovery'

After a period of austerity often comes a boom and given the end of Brexit transitions and the success of the British vaccination programme, we're in a better position than most other nations to get our economy back on track.  

The Government has a plan in place for a gradual easing of restrictions in England which will result in the economy being fully open by late spring 2021 and although there will be some caution (as unemployment is expected to rise further throughout the year) there is also room for huge optimism.

  • Consumers have increased savings and paid down credit
  • Mortgage borrowing has remained steady
  • Consumer spending could underpin strong growth

Reasons for optimism 2021

According to PwCs annual survey of global CEO's, 11% said the UK was in its 'top 3 targets' - an increase of 9% vs 2019.

"The UK yield curve has steepened since the start of 2021, as the rapid pace of vaccinations, end of the Brexit transition period and continued policy support boost growth expectations."

(Source: Deloitte)

Ecommerce and Digital Marketplace 2021

There will be no slowing down in the ecommerce & digital marketing space. Indeed new research carried out by has recently reported that the UK has been rated as the top European country for ecommerce startups.

  • Revenue in the eCommerce market is projected to reach £80,675m in 2021.
  • Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2021-2025) of 3.47%, resulting in a projected market volume of £92,461m by 2025.
  • The market's largest segment is Fashion with a projected market volume of £27,059m in 2021.
  • User penetration will be 86.2% in 2021 and is expected to hit 89.6% by 2025.
  • The average revenue per user (ARPU) is expected to amount to £1,372.78."

(Source: Statista)

Ecommerce grew by 46% in 2020 - its strongest growth for more than a decade 

(Source: Internet Retailing, ONS)

Ecommerce & Digital Salaries

Average National Salaries & Vacancies

The average national salary has increased by 7.4% over the past 12 months to just under £37,000 (similar to a Digital Marketing Manager role).

Average national salary and vacancies

Source: Adzuna (data correct as of 1358, 02/03/21)

Digital and ecommerce jobs will continue to grow in number as both B2B and B2C companies conduct business (primarily) online.  

We've already seen a sharp rise in the number of executive and manager roles being advertised (and placed) and predict that come the summer, more higher level roles will start to open up as organisations battle it out to find best in class digital leadership.

"Come Q3 the hunt for senior digital leadership will commence with fervour!"

(Patrick Tame, CEO)

Digital & Ecommerce Salary Bands

Below are average salary ranges based on roles that Beringer Tame has recruited during the past 18 months.

Ecommerce salaries

Further ecommerce salary insights and digital marketing salary data can be seen below, where average salaries from the digital & ecommerce industry are shown by role type;

Digital Marketing Salary UK Roles and Pay Rates

(Sources:  Beringer Tame, YouGov, ONS,, Reed, Adzuna, Michael Page)

Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Salaries P12M

National salaries remained steady throughout 2020 with ecommerce and digital manager roles sitting above the national average. 

  • Both the number of digital marketing jobs and digital marketing salaries increased following the first lockdown in March 2020 as the sudden need to hire talent capable of facilitating digital transformation hit. 
  • This was short-lived and salaries flattened out later in the year. 
  • There was strong competition for roles with so many people out of work (especially from non-essential industries).
  • It was an employer's market.

Ave salaries over time DM and EC Mar 20 Feb 21  DM & EC vacancies Mar 20 Feb 21

Source: Adzuna Labour Market Stats

"Lockdown combined with the long term shift towards online shopping has brought ten years of change in just 12 months."

Sharon White, John Lewis

The Effect of Covid on Digital & Ecommerce Salaries

During the middle part of 2020 organisations no longer wanted to spend money on recruiting, high salaries or large bonuses - little wonder given the tightrope many businesses were walking at that point.  However, that all changed from mid September 2020 when ecommerce and digital marketing recruiting really took off again.

Changes to Salaries 2019 vs 2020

  • During 2019 we saw base salaries across all levels rise vs the previous year.
  • In 2020 the opposite was true - we saw many of our candidates willing to forego a salary increase and even take a base pay cut in order to gain greater job security or to obtain long term career growth.

Change to salaries 19 vs 20

(Source: Beringer Tame)

The Digital Jobs Marketplace

The digital jobs market has changed significantly over time

Beringer Tame has seen the dot-com crash and the boom that followed. We've seen digital and ecommerce change beyond all recognition and the top echelon of talent get better and better.  We have also witnessed many individuals try to enter the space without the technical skills needed to really drive their career forward.

  • As mainstream businesses failed to take advantage of online growth during the late 1990s and early 2000s, smaller, more entrepreneurial businesses took hold. 
    • This was also true when looking back at some of the most successful online brands following the recession of 2007/8; they were those that were started in someone's garage or bedroom, not big corporates which had money to spend and easier ways to access talent.

Big businesses are often risk-averse and less pioneering than their smaller counterparts. This is a huge disadvantage during times of great change.

Historically, small businesses and start-ups had been the most successful at hiring digital talent

  • In the early 2000's those looking to work in digital were NOT looking to start or build their career in a well-known company. 
  • Success and status came from working in smaller, exciting, fast-paced companies (often start-ups). 
  • This often meant accepting a lower base salary, but with the potential of big rewards and bonus' as well as faster career development. 
  • This was the polar opposite to standard marketing roles whereby the bigger the brand, the better your reputation.

Digital talent started flowing back to the corporate world around 2009 as perceptions changed and big business began to invest in online

  • There was a significant change to candidate's perceptions in the late 2000's when companies such as John Lewis and M&S started to embrace digital. 
    • John Lewis in particular started to attract digital talent when it separated their digital business from the rest of the company and individuals started flowing back to the corporate world. 
  • Those people who had started their digital journey in SMEs and start-ups started to see the potential in big business for their future careers. 

"In high growth markets, salaries tend to creep up as the competition for talent increases."

(Patrick Tame, CEO)

Today, employees will stay in a digital marketing or ecommerce role for around 2-3 years

In the current climate where digital is (and will continue to be) a growth market, salaries will rise vs other sectors, job scope will broaden and the potential for career growth is insurmountable.

  • Generally, the majority of people now employed in digital roles are already paid the market rate. 
  • It is a stable market and therefore salaries (generally) remain balanced.
  • Most people will transition into new roles for reasons other than money.  
  • It is an industry built on experience and skill (of which there is a global shortage).

The world's 'Top Most In Demand Jobs'?

According to the WEF, Data Analysts, Digital Marketing & Strategy Specialists and Digital Transformation Specialists are in high demand along with Ecommerce Managers.

This is in line with the roles we have seen being advertised during 2020 and the early part of 2021.

Top 20 job roles in increasing and decreasing demand

Ecommerce comes in at number 7 in technologies most likely to be adopted globally by 2025.  

This is unsurprising given changing consumer habits and the length of time we are now spending shopping online.

Technologies likely to be adopted by 2025

(Source: World Economic Forum)

"Roles within ecommerce & digital marketing will not only increase in number during 2021 and beyond leading to stiff competition for talent, but this demand will also pave the way for higher salaries and significant career growth... especially for the top 20%."

(Patrick Tame, CEO)

Top 7 Most Advertised Digital Roles 

There has been a staggering rise in the number of executive and manager roles being advertised versus previous years. These jobs are more often than not 'doing' roles, essential for facilitating the pivot into digital work practices vs the more strategic thinking of more senior roles.

  1. Digital Marketing Manager
  2. SEO Manager/Exec
  3. PPC Manager
  4. Social Media/Community Manager/Exec
  5. Ecommerce Manager
  6. Digital Data Analyst
  7. Email / Content Marketing Manager/Exec

With this comes the need for employers to hire professionals with first-class technical skills.

Top 5 In Demand Technical Skills

  1. Digital Advertising (PPC, CRM)
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Content Management (SEO, CRM, Email)
  4. Social Media / Community Management
  5. Marketplace Management

In Demand Sectors

As people spent more time in their property, seeing imperfections on a daily basis, inevitably it created the desire to renovate and redecorate both their inside and outside living spaces.

  • Businesses focussing on Home and Garden products have been on a huge hiring trajectory over the past year.

Filled roles by sector 19 20

  • We’ve also seen a use in hiring within higher-end Fashion and Accessory businesses as well as Health & Fitness.
  • Our client Wing of St Mawes who saw years worth of growth in just a few months in 2020 as they drove their entire offering online and pivoted from B2B to B2C.

(Source: Beringer Tame)

"Brits spend £40.6 billion on items to 'lift spirits during' lockdown."


Why have people left their jobs during such uncertain times?

It has been abundantly clear that most people have wanted to stay 'safe' during these tumultuous times and not move job.  However, many still have - but not for the reason you might think. 

 “Money has not been the driving force behind our candidate’s moving jobs over the past year.  Nearly all of the candidates we've placed in the past 12 months have changed role for career growth and job security.”

Reasons for leaving a jobWhilst having a bad boss is still classed as the number one reason for leaving a job (according to Gallup 2020), this has not been true of our candidates.

The success of headhunting vs job advertising

In the past year, our greatest successes have come from headhunting (not asking candidates to respond to an advertised roles).  

  • With clients and potential candidate's at home, we've been able to have even more open and honest discussions about any concerns and desires moving forward and reach passive talent much more effectively. 

This method has also provided both candidates and clients with reassurance throughout the hiring process, leading to high quality and efficient ecommerce recruitment.

What does the future of digital and ecommerce recruitment hold?

Digital transformation isn't over.  It's just getting started. 

  • Strong digital leadership will be essential to enabling a business' successful future digital journey.
  • Roles will change, some will die out and we'll see the birth of new ones.  
  • The increasing skills gap needs to be rectified through upskilling, training and transfer of knowledge. 

Recruiting will continue to change and adapt to the new world

The ecommerce recruitment process is costly and time consuming. Working through a pandemic year has not only enabled creative ways of working with clients and candidates, but also allowed us to adapt and improve processes and increase efficiencies. We’re all the better for it.

This is unlikely to change as the fight for talent gets ever more competitive.

 “A good ecommerce recruiter, who really understands your industry and the talent within it could (and perhaps should) become one of your most trusted allies and business partners”

(Patrick Tame, CEO)

Hiring will take off across most industries in 2021, but digital and ecommerce recruitment are set to skyrocket. As the fight for talent gets ever more competitive, there will be some very strong benefits for companies and internal talent acquisition professionals who partner with a really good recruiter; especially in niche markets such as digital.

Demand for professionals with good recruiting skills has increased 63% since 2016.


As quality of hire becomes ever more important, a good ecommerce recruiter will help to build successful working teams whilst also providing hiring strategy as recruitment demands evolve.  They will also ensure you don’t miss out on passive talent by implementing headhunting strategies.

The future of digital and ecommerce recruitment is exciting.  It's not often we get to reinvent the wheel and create something just as good - or even a little better - so watch this space.  

Supporting Articles

The Future of Jobs Report 2020 - World Economic Forum

Employment in the UK - ONS

Salary Statistics Centre - Adzuna

Average Salary - Find Courses

Stats roundup: the impact of Covid-19 on marketing & advertising - eConsultancy

Brits spend £40.6 billion on items to lift spirits during lockdown - Barclaycard

Coronavirus: Economic impact - House of Commons Library

UK Ecommerce - Statista

Ecommerce grew by 46% in 2020 - Internet Retailing

Global Economic Prospects - The World Bank

How the economy has adapted to the virus - OBR

Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales (ratio) (%) - ONS

UK economy suffered record annual slump in 2020 - BBC

Associated Press

Covid’s digital impact - The Global Recruiter

Covid’s impact on the digital sector: one year on - HR News

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