BENGALURU: Food-delivery startup Swiggy may emerge as the largest private-sector bluecollar job enablers in the country as it plans to hire close to 3 lakh delivery executives in the next 18 months taking the total to 5 lakh.
“If some of our growth estimates continue, it will not be too many years before we can be the third-largest source of employment in the country, behind the Army and Indian Railways,” co-founder and CEO Sriharsha Majety said at the company’s maiden annual tech conference called Gigabytes.
The Indian Army employs 12.5 lakh and Indian Railways had over 12 lakh people at the end of March 2018. IT major TCS, which had 4.5 lakh staff as of September 2019, is the largest private-sector employer which mostly include engineers. All three give employees benefits and full-time employment, as compared to blue-collar jobs that Swiggy offers to delivery personnel who are paid depending on the work done.
Swiggy currently has 2.1 lakh monthly active delivery staff and about 8,000 corporate employees on its payroll. While delivery personnel are not entitled to standard benefits like provident fund etc, since they are not on Swiggy’s payroll, the expansion in its overall delivery fleet will make it one of the largest job nenablers underlining the importance of ‘gig-economy’ in India. Swiggy defines a delivery partner as active who at least logs in once a month.
Among the blue-collar job creators, Swiggy’s arch-rival Zomato had 2.3 lakh delivery executives in September, while online retail platform Flipkart has 1 lakh delivery executives. Amazon India did not disclose the number but said it has ‘tens of thousands’ of such executives in India.
Flipkart and Amazon see seasonal spikes in their delivery fleet size during the festive season to manage higher demand. App-based cab-hailing companies like Ola (20 lakh driver-partners) and Uber also one of the major hiring sources for the blue-collar workers, but neither has shared how many are active on the platform.
Incidentally, last month the government released a draft proposing social-security benefits for workers in the unorganised sector. Majety’s ambitious hiring plan comes at atime when Swiggy, last valued at $3.3 billion, has expanded to 500 cities in India and is doing 500 million orders a year.
The Bengaluru-based firm, where South Africa’s Naspers is its largest investor, plans to open ‘pods’– where several restaurants use one common kitchen–with 8-10 popular brands that would be reachable to 99% of its consumers within 10 minutes. “We aim to have 100 million consumers transacting with us 15 times a month over the next 10-15 years,” he added.
Swiggy has been expanding its cloud kitchen business. To explain the potential of growth Swiggy has got, Majety said India has 2 lakh restaurants while Beijing alone has 3 lakh restaurants.