Bengaluru: Gig workers are back in demand, although big technology firms and offline retailers are unable to fill roles quickly since many of these workers have returned to their hometowns following the Covid-19 induced economic crisis. 

Open positions for gig and blue-collar staff were at 250,000 in March, but increased to 600,000 in April and currently stand at around 500,000, according to data from staffing agency TeamLease. The vacant positions that companies such as Amazon, Zomato, Swiggy, and PharmEasy, as well as Future group’s BigBazaar, are seeking to fill include ones in warehouse management, packaging, and delivery and for electricians, cooks, ward-boys, operational and healthcare workers well as interestingly these companies are offering the gate workers three times their previous salaries and an additional 15% Incentive compared to levels before the pandemic. They have also offered flight tickets and are going ahead with virtual onboarding experts tracking the space sale. Grofers for instance has hired people from industries deeply impacted by the current crisis-manufacturing, textiles, and car rentals.

We also encouraged supply chain hiring through referrals by giving bonuses to those who are referring friends and family for work and collaborated with other platforms for their delivery fleet, said Rohit Sharma, head of supply chain at Grofers.

The demand for workers and Incentives offered, however, differ across industries, the experts said. These workers now have virtual job fairs where they can choose multiple companies to work and onboardings are done within an hour, from the earlier 15 days at least, said Kaushik Banerjee, vice president and business head of Teamlease. The volume of hiring too has increased.

Further, startups such as Swiggy, Grofers, Big Basket, Urban Company and Flipkart, are now training these employees in soft skills virtually, in just one three days and have pushed the envelope with respect to workforce safety measures. “ Over the last 2 months, we have hired over 3000 people for our supply chain operations, and plans to hire another 2000 warehouse and delivery staffs in the coming months” said Sharma of Grofers.

First published on The Economic Times.