As India’s festive season kicks into high gear ahead of Diwali, Amazon India and Flipkart are likely to create about 120,000 new temporary jobs to service the anticipated e-commerce demand surge, recruitment companies and executives. That is twice the number they hired last year at this time. All told, some peg the additional requirement for temporary workers during the season at 200,000. The binge is being fuelled by Flipkart’s new financial muscle, following its recent acquisition by Walmart, to compete fiercely for festival shoppers in terms of product offerings and readying an army of foot soldiers for logistics and delivery. They want to ensure that all backend operations including last mile delivery go off without a hitch.
Amazon has been forced to match investments made by a rejuvenated Flipkart, said executives at recruitment firms Teamlease, Quess and Randstad, which provide temporary staffing solutions. “Flipkart has been frugal in their plans the past couple of years,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, cofounder of TeamLease Services. “However, with the fresh cash infusion and with Walmart coming in, they… are aggressive this year. For Amazon, it is about effectively competing with a revitalized Flipkart. They will take the fight to their door clearly.” Flipkart had the edge over Amazon in the first five days of festival sales this year, according to a report by research firm RedSeer Consulting. “Hiring temp resources makes sense for ecommerce companies in the festive season,” said Ujjwal Chaudhry, engagement manager at RedSeer. “However, as the competition for a larger market share is at an all-time high, we see lesser reliance on third parties for manpower among top players.” The two top ecommerce companies are hiring a greater number of delivery and logistics executives than last year in order to have greater control over these areas. “This year has so far been the best in terms of investments in marketing, products and human resources made by these two companies,” said Chaudhry. Total demand for manpower during the season will be close to 200,000 this year with sectors such as fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), retail, apparel and ecommerce driving demand, said Randstad India CEO Paul Dupuis. “This is a 30 percent increase over what we saw last year, primarily led by Flipkart and Amazon,” he said. “In addition, there are more warehouses and sorting centers coming up across India by bigger companies. This is an evolution phase for logistics in the country,” Chakraborty said.
Those employed directly by Flipkart will be in delivery, warehouses and hubs. “This is exclusive from the jobs generated by Flipkart’s network of sellers, estimated to be 500,000-plus, as they also prepare for the festive season demand.”
Flipkart has also scaled up hiring this year by leveraging alternative delivery models in existing communities. “This year we have scaled up our FQuick service, which allows people from all walks of lives to take up delivery, as freelancers,” the spokesperson said. Flipkart carries out 35 percent of its total deliveries through this model.
“In preparation for the fifth edition of The Big Billion Days, we added more than 30,000 direct jobs to our supply chain and logistics arm, and expect our seller partners to have added an estimated 5 lakh plus indirect jobs at their locations,” the Flipkart spokesperson said. The Big Billion Days ran over 5 days starting October 10.
Amazon has doubled its headcount of temporary workers at its fulfillment network and customer service centers from last year. “Associates who have been provided opportunities specifically for the festive season will join the thousands of associates at Amazon’s 50 fulfillment centers, 30 sort centers and close to 150 delivery stations across the country to help pick, pack, ship and deliver customers’ orders more efficiently” an Amazon spokesperson said.— Gadgets Now