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John Lewis to hire more than 150 tech workers

As the retail group continues its drive to digitise, the John Lewis Partnership is aiming to hire more than 150 tech workers

The John Lewis Partnership is looking for tech talent to fill more than 150 roles as part of an ongoing digital push.

The retail group aims to recruit software engineers and delivery leads to work on the John Lewis and Waitrose websites, as well as further develop the customer-facing apps for each of the brands.

Sandra Christie, head of engineering at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “We have an industry-leading team driving the digital growth of our two iconic brands, Waitrose and John Lewis. It’s our partners who make the difference, and we’re really excited to be making this significant investment in growing our engineering talent.”

Pre-pandemic, the John Lewis Partnership was working towards better digital adoption, using its annual startup programme JLab to discover new technologies that could contribute towards solving current challenges in the retail sector – 2019’s cohort of “experiential” businesses, for example, were selected to develop immersive or personalised shopping experiences.

In 2019, the retailer announced it would be expanding its use of Google Cloud to include artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data analytics tools in an aim to grow its digital remit and to better cater to its increasingly digital customers. It used technology from Blue Prism to automate many repetitive processes in a bid to increase productivity.

As the pandemic shifted customer behaviour, more retailers are thinking about how to better use digital not only to cater to surges in online shopping, but to make store visits more experiential and relevant to customers – a trend that has been accelerated now the easing of pandemic rules is seeing people back in shops.  

The Partnership is focused on recruiting people into engineering roles focused on software, data, cloud platforms, and its native apps to cater to current customer demands, including “access to quality, value and sustainability” across both online and offline.

Both JohnLewis.com and Waitrose.com have grown over the past two years, accounting for a combined 55 million visits each month, according to the brand.

Around 70% of sales for John Lewis now come from online, up from 40% two years ago; and online now accounts for around 20% of sales for Waitrose, up from 5% two years ago. The John Lewis and Waitrose apps contribute to around a quarter of sales for the brands.

For the software engineering roles, candidates will use Kotlin or Java on the back end, and React and Next.js on the front end for website development. Meanwhile, native app engineers will develop on iOS and Android. New data engineers will work with a Google Cloud platform, and the cloud engineers will be using Google Cloud and AWS-based platforms.

The Partnership also claimed those who join the retailer will have the opportunity to take part in ongoing training and development.

In an effort to be one of “the most inclusive” firms in the UK, John Lewis Partnership will be offering flexible/blended working, leisure and learning subsidies, and equal parental leave for successful candidates.

The John Lewis Partnership isn’t the only retailer looking to hire more tech workers over the past few years – at the tail end of 2020, Tesco hired 16,000 staff to cope with Covid-19 shopping habits; Amazon announced plans to create 10,000 new jobs in UK across its online retail and cloud divisions in 2021; and this year Ikea announced plans to hire more than 150 tech and data workers across Europe in 2022.

Those looking to apply for engineering at roles at the John Lewis Partnership can do so through its jobs website.

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