Ecommerce companies ramp up delivery workforce
Last year, during the Diwali season, festive sales had crossed ₹1.25 trillion breaking all records in 10 years

E-commerce firms on hiring spree for delivery workers before festive season

India’s e-commerce companies are ramping up the hiring of delivery personnel ahead of festival and shopping seasons that will kick off next month. The firms are on a hiring spree as they fear that there will be a labour shortage and they will lose out in one of the biggest annual shopping season in the country.

Last year, during the Diwali season, festive sales had crossed ₹1.25 trillion breaking all records in 10 years. Local shops on Amazon clocked a 2x spike and sold over 10 products every minute. Goods worth $4.6 billion (32,000 crore) were sold online during Diwali, according to a report released by homegrown firm RedSeer Consulting at that time.

Keen not to miss out on this annual wave (which had disappeared for two years during COVID), e-companies, along with retail, gifting and hospitality industry, have stepped up their recruitment drives by 25-30 per cent.

Also read: 34% Indians want to switch jobs, 81% feel remote work feasible: PwC survey

According to experts, most of the staffing happens for the last-mile delivery, supply chain, warehousing, customer service and manufacturing. There is a surge in the demand for the gig workforce, admit industry people, but it becomes a challenge as people look at a delivery job as a “job in transit”. The industry is always battling with shortages and when there is a specific event or festival, the delivery requirement goes up and the firms are scrambling to hire people.

Gig work employment, of which delivery workers and salespersons form a large chunk, is expected to reach 9.9 million in India in 2022-23, which is up by about 45 per cent from 2019-20, according to a NITI Aayog report in June.

This race to hire delivery workers come in the backdrop of a high unemployment rate (which went down below 7 per cent only in July) and high inflation.

Meanwhile, Big Basket, has ramped up its number of delivery partners in its instant delivery segment BB Now to 2,200 in the quarter ended June, from just 500 in the March quarter. Further, the grocery retailer hopes to hire 6,000 delivery partners by March 2023. Flipkart is hiring as well across a wide range of roles in supply chain, such as sorter, picker, data entry operator and delivery executives, according to media reports.

Also read: Retail inflation eases to five-month low of 6.71 per cent in July

BigBasket and other e-commerce firms such as Dunzo have their own personnel for delivery, while others such as fashion and beauty retailer Nykaa rely on third parties for providing the service. The Mukesh Ambani backed Dunzo currently has 75,000 delivery partners.

Recruiting companies like Quess and TeamLease help e-commerce firms and job seekers in tier 2 and tier 3 cities in the country. Some firms are however optimistic that the labour crunch situation will get better. For, the stakes are high as these e-commerce firms vie with one another to get a slice of the country’s online market projected to soar to $1 trillion by 2025.

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