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E-commerce to propel job avenues in food industry during festive season
Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
E-commerce is now seen to transform the employment avenues in the food industry. This is driven by the preference from consumers towards digital ordering platforms enabled by mobile apps to order their food choices.

This festive season has seen nearly 50,000 jobs only in the delivery segment. The current scenario is that there are always jobs in most locations. The hiring freeze, stop or slowness is not expected at this point.

Today, the reach of e-commerce companies has gone to the Tier-I and II cities as well. The cashless delivery trend and the birth of the e-wallet industry are fuelling the growth of this sector even more.

The spur in employment opportunities are well aligned with the festive mood and the trend of high spending during this time.

During these 90 days of the year spanning between September and November, the  business usually grows by 30 per cent, and to address this e-commerce companies pay lucrative incentives.

“The gig economy takes a leap during this festive season, and people come to join the workforce from Tier-II cities and rural areas and earn 40-50k per month,” Mayur Saraswat, head, digital, information technology (IT) and telecom vertical, TeamLease Services, told F&B News.
Contending that this was a new avenue for a job opening for the unemployed youth, Saraswat stated that the service platform was a much more structured and lucrative phase of the gig economy, given the open opportunities and ease in getting a job. This has become a new avenue for blue-collar manpower to earn higher than a few white-collar jobs.

“Usually the pre-requisites for candidates seeking employment in the food e-commerce space are the need to have a valid driving license and be well-versed with the local language,” he added.

“The candidate should be efficient and committed to earn. Even though delivery executives are the connecting point between companies and customer, very little investment has been made to make this experience as a good skill,” Saraswat said.

“This is where staffing companies play a critical role in hiring training and deploying these people. These companies train these people in soft skills and technical skills, thereby making these delivery executives more productive and impactful,” he added.

“Given the demand of such manpower, 80-90 per cent of the candidates who join the workforce can continue working but earning potential comparatively comes down,” said Saraswat.

“There is not much consistency in delivery as the skills required to do the job are not tangible. Even though this is a critical part of customer value chain, but the lack of investment on skill enhancement and career progression is not considered,” said Saraswat.

The challenges that most of these companies face are productivity, attrition, compliance, training and managing the workforce.

Many delivery executives face trouble with per delivery model without salary. It is here the transparency of incentives is a major concern and it has been observed that it creates a lot of challenges to the business.

Also, the statutory benefits are not offered to the delivery executives in the per delivery model.

In case of an accident, the candidate cannot avail health insurance. Moreover, there are no savings or benefits like provident fund provided.

“Therefore, the scene for food retail sales force is volatile. It is a rapidly growing space and companies need to ensure that they are following laws in recruiting and offering all statutory benefits,” stated Saraswat.

“While businesses are growing at a rapid pace, the compliance and investment in technology, predictive analysis, route optimisation, skilling people and handling customer issues effectively are a must for this sector,” he added.
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