Hiring to dip in e-comm this year; jobs become more temp in nature

Consolidation, reduced funding and slower growth in the e-commerce industry is telling on hiring as well. Incremental hiring in the sector is expected to come down this year. E-commerce firms have also become more prudent by hiring only for the peak sales period.
For the past few years, e-commerce has been among the fastest job generators in India. The sector, which has seen a growth of 60 to 65 per cent in hiring in past few years, will slowdown at least by 10 to 15 per cent this year, find industry experts.
“There is a churn happening in the industry. The established players are not hiring as they used to and this has affected the sentiments. The hiring will be down by at least 10 to 15 per cent compared to what it was two to three years back,’ said Aditya Narayan Mishra, chief executive officer, CIEL HR Services.
The industry has been employing four to five lakh people a couple of years back. While the hiring by the e-commerce firms started slowing down in 2016 itself, fintech firms were very active, especially during the end of the year.
Lay-offs were happening in 2016, but it achieved size with the third largest player Snapdeal sending out more than 1,000 employees. Some of the other players who have right-sized themselves in the past few months include Ola, Flipkart, Grofers, PepperTap, FoodPanda and Zomato.
Many firms which have been growing over 100 per cent in the past few years have seen growth slowing to 20 to 25 per cent. This has cut the requirement of fresh talent.
In 2016, the sector also saw a drastic fall in private equity/venture capital funding falling. Reduced fund availability is a reason the sector has slowed.
“Moreover, as the businesses mature, they acquire better learning and technology and find out smarter ways to do things and improve their productivity. If earlier, the hiring was more quantitative in nature, now it has become more qualitative. This will affect the hiring volumes,’ said Rituparna Chakraborty, vice president, Indian Staffing Federation.
According to Lohit Bhatia, business head, IKYA Human Capital Solutions, the hiring patterns too have changed in the sector since the churn started. “While hiring was rampant in 2015, most e-commerce players were doing only replacement hiring in 2016. However, demand from fintech companies offset the shrinkage in volumes last year,” he said
“Most e-commerce companies also have started doing more of temporary hiring. Earlier if the contracts were for one year or more, now they have become shorter for 45 to 90 days,” he said. Such hiring happens largely during the four peak sales seasons of the year.
From now on, the pay packages will become smaller in the e-comm space. "Large e-commerce companies like Flipkart used to hire top talent from within and outside the country for hefty pay packages. This trend has stopped and many such executives also have left the companies. Even campus hiring will become more realistic now," said Sonal Arora, vice president, Teamlease.