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Every morning, Suresh hauls a bag weighing about 30 kilos on his back, carrying everything from clothes, mobile phones, toys to books and heads out on his two-wheeler to various destinations across the city. His job is to ensure timely delivery of goods to customers who make online purchases from the comfort of their homes or offices. Suresh and thousands of similar young delivery men are the foot soldiers of India’s online retail revolution and the physical force behind the industry that is worth billions of dollars today. They are the ones who race against time to keep up the promise of timely delivery of goods to our doorsteps. They are the key assets of the country’s e-commerce growth story.
India’s e-commerce boom, fuelled by top global and domestic brands like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, selling everything from food, fashion, consumer durables and books to furniture, is witnessing a huge surge in growth. Single e-tailers like Flipkart deliver more than 5 million shipments each month. The volumes are large scale. What drives the ecommerce business and sets standards is the timely delivery component.
At Babajob, we’re keeping up with the trend. With demand, for example, one noticeable improvement has been the jump in pay for delivery jobs. We posted the highest surge in pay, for example, in 2012, when most of these etailers really took off. And for the last four years, demand on Babajob for delivery has grown at a breathless pace of 173 per cent year-on-year.
The demand has been, obviously, incredible in Tier-1 cities, and so have been the corresponding pay. For example, an average delivery person in Mysore makes Rs 1,500 lesser than an average delivery person in Bangalore. But, with growing demand, the gap looks like it’ll be closed sooner than later.
While online retail has consumers hooked onto the internet for the convenience and choice it offers, it is also turning out to be the biggest job spinner, overtaking even the BPO segment which reined the job market until now. The category of delivery personnel is especially in high demand. The e-commerce sector currently employs around 100,000 delivery personnel, having grown 200-300 per cent over last year. Figures indicate that hiring is expected to go up by 30 per cent, creating upto 50,000 jobs in the next 2-3 years.
A common sight on the roads today, a delivery boy spends on average 8 hours on road earning anywhere between Rs 10,000 to 15,000 per month. Typically, a male dominated field, women are slowly breaking ground to establish themselves in niche roles. There are no special educational qualifications or prior experience required to land a job as a delivery person. Only driving skills are mandatory. Most field staff have to own a two wheeler as well. However, supply doesn’t always meet or fulfil demand. Even though jobs in the sector are available in the thousands, reports indicate a dearth in finding suitable delivery men, who can be trained to be courteous and friendly with customers, possess good driving skills, be able to handle paperwork and sometimes collect payments against cash on deliveries.
With the e-commerce segment becoming increasingly competitive, several e-tailers have established their own delivery staffing services like Flipkart’s ekart, while others have outsourced the handling services to logistics companies like Blue Dart, Gati, Ecom Express, Delhivery, etc. To offset the talent crunch that the taxi industry faced last year, drivers were given extra benefits and perks. Similarly, to attract and retain quality employees, start-ups are offering delivery personnel higher salaries, plus bonuses and other benefits like accommodation and even two wheelers in some cases. The delivery boys are trained in customer interaction and technology aspects and given the time to acquaint themselves with the localities they are assigned to.
Delivering happiness is the motto for most of the e-commerce brands in the country, but the ones who are actually delivering it go largely unnoticed in this rapidly growing market. Delivery boys have become vital to the success of e-commerce start-ups and stalwarts in and around the country and deserve credit for all the work that they do.
As more and more service/convenience-related businesses crop up, one can only imagine the demand shooting up more. Perhaps delivery jobs are this year’s driver jobs!