Given the big increase in online transactions even for daily purchases, especially since the pandemic struck early in 2020, e-commerce companies have been compelled to beef up their teams across functions. HAN Digital estimates there has been more than a 27% year-on-year increase in active jobs in the technology segment of e-commerce tech during January-March. Of this, about 15% accounts for replacements and the rest are new positions.
Compensation too has seen an increase. Vijay Sivaram, CEO, Quess IT Staffing said the industry was seeing pay hikes of 15-18% for those with semi-niche skills and upwards of 30% for those with niche skills. “Joining and retention bonuses, up-skilling options are also part of the offer package,” he said. This is less true for most non-IT roles where the average hikes are 10-12%. As Kamal Karanth, co-founder, Xpheno points out although there is demand, companies are able to find talent.
Saran Balasundaram, founder and CEO, HAN Digital expects the e-commerce industry to add a net 25,000-30,000 people in 2021. “India is preferred destination for outsourcing product development and developing new age e-commerce solutions. The talent war for attracting the best started from August 2020 onward,” Balasundaram said.
Sivaram said there has been a 15% jump in the demand for management information specialists over the pre-pandemic period. Customers, he added, were also looking for CAD designers, those manning IT help desks, UI and UX developers and full stack programmers.
Ajoy Thomas, a business head at TeamLease Services observed hiring for delivery boys, pickers, packers and loaders had jumped 40% since the pandemic commensurate with the increased demand for food-tech and e-groceries. Xpheno’s Karanth points out hiring for non-IT roles — voice-based customer support, experience design, merchandising — has seen an unusual spurt of 12-15% in recent months. Between growth and replacement hiring, numbers of 80,000-1,20,000 are possible.
Balasundaram observes that while talent is available professionals need to constantly upgrade them given that technology too is fast changing. Employees in technology roles across e-commerce currently number some 1.4 lakh. For perspective, this is about 3% of the total head count of 46 lakh employed in IT and BP management roles and nearly 5% of the 30.2 lakh IT professionals. The number would be much higher if the head count in e-commerce ancillary markets like supply chain and fulfilment under ITBPM are included.