A perceptible shift in consumer behaviour towards online services in the aftermath of the nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, which led to significant growth for internet companies during the period, has translated into these companies make a beeline in the job market.
On Sunday, online marketplace Amazon India announced 20,000 seasonal opportunities in the customer service segment across Hyderabad, Pune, Coimbatore, Noida, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Mangaluru, Indore, Bhopal and Lucknow. This was preceded by companies like Bigbasket and Grofers (e-grocery segment), Paytm Mall (e-commerce), BharatPe (financial technology), Licious (online meat delivery), NoBroker.com (online real estate), and Ecom Express (logistics) also announcing hiring at a time when several consumer internet companies have laid off employees with an aim to cut costs.
In a statement, Amazon India said the new positions will require associates to support customer needs through various mediums like email, chat, social media and phone. The eligibility criteria for these positions include minimum educational qualification of 12th standard pass and proficiency in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu or Kannada. “We are continuously evaluating hiring needs across the customer service organisation in response to the growing customer demand. We estimate that customer traffic will further scale up over the next six months with the onset of Indian and global holiday seasons,” said Akshay Prabhu, director—customer service, Amazon India.
Online retailer Paytm Mall, which recently shifted its headquarters from Noida to Bengaluru, said it plans to hire over 300 new members for product & technology roles, aiming expansion across its business categories. It said that the shifting of headquarters to Bengaluru would help it “tap into the rich talent pool available in the city’s consumer internet and startup ecosystem”.
Anticipating a similar growth in the online retail segment, third-party logistics firm Ecom Express — which counts e-commerce companies like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Myntra, Paytm, etc among its customers — also announced plans to hire 7,000 people over the next two months across business functions such as last-mile delivery, warehousing management, operations, information technology and data sciences. These positions represent around 25 per cent of the company’s total workforce, and the recruitment is set to be made across metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad as well as tier-II cities such as Ahmedabad, Surat, Chandigarh, Indore, Patna, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bhopal and Jaipur.
“As a provider of logistics services to e-commerce industry, employees are paramount and a pivot to what we do. In these difficult times, we see increase in demand for online shopping across cities and we need to support the scale and size for doorstep deliveries. Hiring of new employees is driven by the unprecedented need to keep the supply chain running for e-commerce industry and ensuring safe and timely deliveries,” said Saurabh Deep Singla, senior vice president & chief human resource officer, Ecom Express.
The need to keep up with the sudden surge in demand post the announcement of lockdown on March 25 also pushed e-grocery companies like Bigbasket and Grofers to raise their staff strength in last-mile delivery and warehouse functions. While Bigbasket had chalked out plans to add 10,000 on-ground staff for warehouses, distribution centres and delivery personnel, Grofers started additional hiring of 2,000 workers.
Companies in other segments, such as fintech and online real estate, too, announced or plan recruitment. Fintech company BharatPe has made two top-level hirings and is in the market for a third one. The company said it has hired Nishant Jain as chief business officer from Zomato, which recently asked over 500 of its staffers to start looking for new jobs. Additionally, BharatPe hired former Walmart Labs executive Ankur Jain as its chief product officer, and is in the process of hiring a vice-president of human resources.
Further, shortly after securing additional funding of $30 million from General Atlantic, online real-estate listings firm NoBroker.com last month announced plans to hire over 100 people across marketing, business, operations and technology-related roles. Similarly, online meat delivery startup Licious, after losing 50 per cent of its workforce immediately after the lockdown, hired 300 workers to meet the hike in demand.
By the end of second month of the lockdown in May, five large companies in the consumer internet space in India — Uber India and South Asia, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy and Cure.fit — had announced reduction of more than 4,000 jobs in just a month. However, fresh recruitment activity and people returning to work has also been witnessed in certain macroeconomic indicators.
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