Ratio of temporary to full-time staff in e-Com and q-Com rises amid COVID-19 restrictions

As the number of nation-wide COVID cases are ballooning, State Governments have individually implemented various restrictions on movement of the public – from night curfew to weekend lockdown and limited operational hours for markets.

Amid these restrictions, and since the beginning of the year, there has been a sharp surge in demand for doorstep delivery of packaged goods, food as well as essential items. On the other hand, the highly contagious Omicron variant has been infecting a large section of last mile delivery workers, causing increased absenteeism rate. In such a situation, e-commerce and quick commerce companies are hiring temporary staff for fulfilling the last-mile deliveries – thereby, increasing the ratio of temporary to full-time workers in their manpower.

Consumer demand has seen a spike in Tier-1 as well as Tier-2/3 cities. With the entire population making itself familiar and rather habitual to doorstep delivery of packaged goods, food as well as essentials, it is of utmost importance to these organizations that the staff redundancy be immediately filled in so as to meet the targets.

“We have created over 2,000-plus new opportunities within the last weeks and have been able to onboard over 1,400 people across 10 cities.” Blinkit spokesperson

“To meet the needs of customers and also to support seller partners in this wave, we have hired more temporary staff over the past few weeks.” Flipkart spokesperson

There has also been a multiplication of efforts on behalf of these companies to take care of their last-mile delivery staff. For example, Shadowfax as introduced fresh financial and medical assistance for more than 1,00,000 riders plying with them, as demand for grocery and pharma goods witnessed a 50% hike since last month.

“We have implemented policies to ensure that our network partners stay protected, and, in turn, the delivery cycle is guarded and to keep a tab on the spread of infection among rider partners.”

Abhishek Bansal, Co-Founder, Shadowfax

Similarly, Swiggy and Zomato – the food delivery giants – also saw a sudden spike in last mile delivery demand on the New Year and since then, the demand has only seen an upturn. As a result, they have also resorted to hiring for their last-mile fleet to meet the demand surge, with an option for the riders to work on temporary or full-time basis.

Another factor in the increased demand for temporary last-mile workforce is that sellers are pushing deliveries via their own apps, along with e-commerce & social commerce, which requires them to partner with various hyper-local delivery providers as well.

E-commerce has extended its reach beyond metro cities in order to reach a larger customer base, which has led to the obvious increase in fulfillment centers, warehouses, customer service operations, etc. As a domino effect, there has also been a significant growth in the staff required to manage these other parts of the supply chain as well and not just in Tier-1 but Tier-2/3/4 cities too.

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