With another year almost in the books, it is a good time to take stock of trends in talent and hiring seen in the ecommerce industry in the past year. This will help us assess the hits and misses and better understand the direction we can expect to take in 2019.
The Indian ecommerce industry is considered to be one of the fastest growing industries operating in the Indian economy. A study by Assocham projected that the market will touch $100 Bn by 2020. Apart from encouraging disruptive business models, it also has a huge impact on the creation of employment opportunities. These employment opportunities have influenced the complete value chain with logistics, warehousing, technology, and support services, being the most positively impacted. Besides creation of employment in direct industries, the sector has also provided new opportunities to craftsmen, traditional artisans, merchants, sellers, etc.
Roles & Skills in demand with onset of new employment model
According to recent reports, around 12% of all jobs were created in the ecommerce industry in 2017 alone. And, 2018 saw an upward trend in talent acquisition in e-commerce. The industry has further impacted the entrepreneurship and startup culture in the country and has helped people build careers from a range of varied skills such as developers, content writers, designers, photographers, etc. Some proactive initiatives by the Government of India such as Make in India, Skill India and Digital India have boosted the ecommerce sector which in turn has positively stimulated the economic growth of the country.
In addition, we witnessed a growing number of employers in ecommerce industry ramp up hiring for tech roles. The ongoing discourse of technology has made it a market for analytics professionals given the wide use of recommendation engines across ecommerce websites. Some technical skills like big data analytics, supply chain management, AI / ML, UI/UX/ app development are the most desired. Other job roles such as digital marketing, merchandising, warehouse and logistics handlers, delivery staff, social media influencers, packaging services etc. have also been much sought after by e-commerce businesses.
As the ecommerce industry grows, the demand for skills also increases. We have seen a rise in demand for trained employees with specific skills set such as web analytics, Business Intelligence, etc. Additionally with the increasing focus on cost and time efficiency, varied employment models have also been explored. This is apparent from the rise in contractual and temporary staffing requirements, especially seen during the festive seasons. Many employers are also encouraging flexible and freelancing opportunities to attract talent. Sales, logistics and customer support are the main areas where temp workers have got more opportunities. Besides temporary employment, the commerce sector has also offered options of work from home, flexi employment (like part time, selected day employment) to retain their existing employees and align with business requirements.
Recruitment and Salary trends
The country’s retail sector hiked salaries by 11.3% in 2016-17, second only to the 11.7% in the life sciences/pharmaceuticals and health care sector. Within retail, ecommerce gave out an outsized 12.5% in average, according to the KPMG Annual Compensation Trends Survey. Hiring in India’s ecommerce sector has jumped a good 25% in 2018 over the levels of 2016; the average pay has gone up by about 15%. For some functions the raises in salaries have been much higher than the average; the India Salary Benchmark 2018 report by Michael Page says pay packages for technology-related job profiles have increased by 26-30%, while digital and analytics profiles are paying 31-35% more than they were in 2017.
2018 has seen a rise in the recruitment processes while leveraging technology. From a talent perspective, using AI-based applications have expedited the recruitment processes and also allowed recruiters to focus on more complex tasks.
Increasing investments / developments
According to IBEF (India Brand Equity foundation), the ecommerce industry in India witnessed 21 private equity and venture capital deals worth $ 2.1 Bn in 2017 and 40 deals worth $ 1,129 Mn in the first half of 2018. Some of the major developments such as Walmart Flipkart deal, Google entering into the e-commerce space and Google and Tata Trust programme, has transformed the Indian e-commerce sector.
Every good initiative takes a lot of pain points and stabilization period in a complex country like ours, but GST has been a good and beneficial initiative by the government. It has increased the demand for temporary jobs and organized flexi-staffing firms more in India. It has proven to be a boon for the Rs 33,000 Cr flexi-staffing industry.
The ongoing digital transformation in the country will continue to drive the growth of this industry. The search for top-notch talent with the right skills will continue to remain a priority as we move into 2019.
The author, Aarthi Ganesh, is the Business Head – Professional Staffing at Adecco and her insights into industry trends is based on years of experience.