At a time when the corporate world is seeing layoffs and salary cuts due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the nationwide lockdown, several ecommerce firms are on a hiring spree for their warehouses and delivery positions to fulfil the rising online demand for products.
Amazon India on Friday said that it has created close to 50,000 seasonal jobs in order to be able to effectively serve its customers and meet the surge in demand as customers are banking on its platform for their safety during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These jobs, which are temporary in nature, are for a variety of roles at the e-commerce major’s fulfilment centres and delivery network, including part-time flexible work opportunities as independent contractors with Amazon Flex. “One thing we’ve learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is how important a role Amazon and e-commerce can play for our customers as much as for small businesses and the economy. We take this responsibility seriously, and we’re proud of the work our teams are doing to help small and other businesses deliver to our customers through this difficult time,” said Akhil Saxena, VP, Customer Fulfilment Operations, APAC, MENA & LATAM, Amazon.
As India continues to maintain social distancing to fight the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon India said it firmly believes it has a unique role to play in providing a critical service for the community. This includes helping them get the items they need for their families without leaving their homes.
While creating these job opportunities, Amazon said it remains committed to the health and safety of its associates, partners, employees, and customers, and has implemented a number of measures towards their well-being.
Early this year during India visit of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the company said it planned to create 1 million jobs in India by 2025 through continued investments in technology, infrastructure, and its logistics network. These will be in addition to the 700,000 jobs Amazon’s investments have enabled over the past six years in India.
Amazon has so far committed $6.5 billion to the India market, including $1 billion announced by Bezos in January this year, to tap the e-commerce market in the country.
Other e-commerce players are also on a hiring spree to meet the surge in demand as people prefer to confine themselves at home during the pandemic. E-grocery start-up Bigbasket which had announced hiring 10,000 executives for its warehouses and last-mile delivery said that the last two months have been very critical in terms of managing the manpower requirement.” Our regional teams have been aggressively hiring using multiple channels. In most of the locations we have been able to bridge the gap and have hired people,” said Tanuja Tewari, Vice President-Human Resources, BigBasket. Another e-grocer Grofers is also employing an additional 2,000 people from the industries which have been deeply impacted by the Covid-19 crisis such as textile, manufacturing, and services.
In view of the rapid growth in orders, Gurugram based Snapdeal too is working closely with logistics partners towards creation of additional delivery capacity to handle the increase in demand. “This will include new hiring by our partners while we are also encouraging delivery staff on leave to resume work,” said a company spokesperson.
Online pharmacies are also resorting to aggressive hiring in order to cater to the rising demands. While Gurugram-based 1 mg is immediately looking to hire 1,000 people over the next 2-3 months, Bengaluru-headquartered Medlife is working towards filling up 400 open positions mostly for last-mile deliveries and warehouse management.
As dependence on getting things delivered home will continue, experts feel this would create job opportunities at least for the blue-collared workforce.
“E-commerce and retailers do hire temporary workers to handle seasonal peaks. This is a non-seasonal peak but was expected as there is a lot of pent-up demand as people had only access to essential products till now,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of management consulting firm Third Eyesight. He, however, added that largely India still shops offline but there is a growth in online shopping as the concept of social distancing is in favour of e-commerce
“Until a vaccine is found (for Covid-19) and even beyond that, there will be a huge surge of opportunities for blue-collared workers as customers will be uncomfortable going to stores to try and buy, or even for eating out,” said Pinakiranjan Mishra, partner and national leader, consumer products and retail at EY India.
With the lockdown situation starting to slightly ease out in different parts of the country, digital payments platforms are witnessing a spike in transactions in the last few days, particularly in e-commerce. “On our platform, we saw that the transactions in e-commerce (including transactions for non-essentials) increased by 25 per cent in a week's time (between May 11-18, as compared to May 3-10),” said Harshil Mathur, CEO and Co-founder, Razorpay. “Also, the usually hailing payment methods like UPI and Cards grew by about 30 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively, indicating that the spending patterns are getting back to normalcy.”
According to data analytics firm GlobalData, Covid-19 pandemic will accelerate the growth of India’s e-commerce market taking it to about Rs 700,000 crore by 2023.