Home Depot is planning to hire more than 1,000 new employees into technology-related roles this year, increasing its current roster of about 2,800 people by one-third, according to a Recode report.
The new hires will be based primarily in the retailer's current technology offices in Atlanta, Austin and Dallas, and the jobs will cover roles in product management, user experience design and software, and network engineering, the report stated.
The hiring commitment is one element of an $11 billion long-term investment plan designed to keep Home Depot ahead of its competition, and get the company into a position to compete with potential new threats from Amazon and other online retailers, according to recode's story.
This news represents a huge commitment by a major retailer to the notion that technology-related investment and a bigger technology workforce can help retailers become more competitive and better-positioned to meet the evolving needs of customers.
Even as Home Depot continues to focus on keeping its brick-and-mortar stores in a position to thrive, the company needs to evolve its operations with the mindset that more of its sales are happening online and via mobile.
That means its workforce should be weighted toward technology talent. And while hiring technology pros is not the same thing as investing in specific technologies, it represents a commitment to technological innovation that will likely bear fruit once those jobs are filled. Moreover, it's a sign that Home Depot is looking to keep some of that innovation in-house, rather than working with third parties.
This news of a massive hiring plan is also impressive in that it's not coming from a retailer fighting to survive, but from a retailer already leading its sector. The retailer not only already has one of the best digital experiences among retailers, according to L2's Digital IQ Index, but Home Depot has also been putting distance between itself and chief rival Lowe's in recent months, reporting in February that revenue had grown almost 7% during the previous fiscal year, including growth in online sales of more than 21%.
Amazon so far has not proven to be much of a direct competitive threat to Home Depot, but the technology hires, along with other investments, like last year's acquisition of e-commerce operator The Company Store, seem primed to help Home Depot defend itself against evolving online threats.