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E-tailers, Startups Plan to Go Big on Hiring Delivery Staff

April 16, 2019 06:53 AM


E-tailers, Startups Plan to Go Big on Hiring Delivery Staff
Better customer experience pushes cos to ramp up staff; vacancies pegged at 51,500 in H1
Sreeradha D Basu & Brinda Sarkar

Kolkata | Bengaluru:

India’s big e-commerce companies as well as startups are set to ramp up delivery fleets, the most crucial last-mile link in the supply chain, amid intensifying competition to grab a larger share of the customer wallet.

Swiggy, Grofers, MilkBasket and Shadowfax are doubling delivery teams this financial year, while biggies such as Amazon and BigBasket have equally aggressive plans.

Better customer experience — the key differentiator — is pushing companies to hire more delivery staff, given the fund infusion, market expansion and entry of new players in the industry.

An estimate by staffing firm TeamLease Services pegs the number of vacancies at 51,500 delivery agents in the first half of this fiscal. It is supposed to go up to 121,600 by the end of the year, says co-founder Rituparna Chakraborty.

Staffing firm Randstad India predicts 50,000-plus last-mile delivery jobs will be up for grabs in the first six months.

Most large hyper-local delivery platforms have raised significant capital and a substantial portion of that will go towards increasing the delivery fleet size, says Paul Dupuis, MD and CEO of Randstad India.

“Also, expansion beyond the metros has been identified as a key priority area for these firms. A combination of capital and enhancement of operations will be the prime drivers for the increase in hiring,” Dupuis said.


Grocery delivery startup Grofers, which raised around $60 million in fresh capital from SoftBank Vision Fund last month, expects to double its 3,000-strong delivery team this year to widen service footprint, said Ankush Arora, head of its HR department.

BigBasket, which joined the unicorn club in March-end with a further $150 million in funding, is set to hire about 4,000-5,000 delivery boys across the country. “This will be the direct result of growth in existing business as well as new businesses like Subscription which we have launched in several T1 (tier 1) cities,” said Tanuja Tewari, GM-HR at the online grocer.

Ecommerce behemoth Flipkart did not respond to queries, but rival Amazon said it would continue to focus on building a strong fulfillment network, and invest in expanding delivery footprint even in the remotest parts of the country. The company says it delivers even to locations such as Havelock Islands, in the Andamans or to Majuli Islands, in Assam.

Food technology company Zomato has ramped up hiring to 1.8 lakh partners across 213 cities, compared with the 74,000 partners it had across 38 cities in September last year. The food technology company said it would continue to strengthen its fleet as it gears up to deliver across 500 cities in India by September this year.

Rival Swiggy, which wrapped up a $1 billion funding round in December, said it was looking to double the number of delivery partners over the next year, from 1.25 lakh active partners currently.

The market is likely to grow faster than last year, says crowd-sourced B2B last-mile delivery services platform Shadowfax, which counts major ecommerce players and startups among its clientele

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