Revival in e-commerce demand leads to increased hiring at BPM firms

Business Process Management (BPM) firms are hiring more people to respond to customer enquiries and to support back office and supply chain management, as online commerce gains traction among consumers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.The sector has hired up to 5,000 professionals in the last month, according to staffing experts.BPM industry executives have pegged the number at between 5,000 and 6,500 at a 25-30% increase in hiring based on a 40% increase in workload.“The fear of the pandemic is pushing people to shop online...this is resulting in more volumes of work coming in for BPO firms…and we are hiring accordingly,” Rajiv Ahuja, president of NYSE-listed BPM firm Startek said.Demand is predominantly from tier 2 and tier 3 cities and has shifted to non-essential goods as well, according to Ahuja."In our estimate, the BPO industry has hired nearly 5,000 people in the last month. Though this addition doesn’t take the numbers back to pre-Covid-19 levels, it’s a welcome sign," said Aditya Mishra, chief executive of CIEL HR Services. Staffing firms also said the demand for products has not only been higher across larger ecommerce companies like Amazon and Flipkart, but also smaller digital commerce companies which have been hiring customer support executives since July. “Some of the smaller digital commerce firms are hiring talent on their own payroll while others are outsourcing to BPO firms. So, the BPO firms who had laid off due to lack of work, are now hiring again,” said Mishra.Traditional FMCG and retail companies are also hiring customer support executives who are being trained remotely, he said.“Smaller digital commerce companies and traditional FMCG companies are also getting the nearest dealers to deliver goods. A new kind of digital supply chain is emerging where we are recruiting people who are being trained remotely on such services and are working from home,” Mishra said. Bengaluru-based virtual onboarding firm tydy is building an additional business channel as more retailers look to create and build an online presence.“We are looking at the ability to not just do employee onboarding but also other types of people...merchant onboarding for ecommerce is huge. How do we onboard more and more merchants who suddenly want to be online? Those are the natural expansion opportunities for us,” said Kiran Menon - Co-Founder - tydy.Apart from a surge in hiring for customer support roles, demand for advanced data analytics from retail clients and clients across other sectors globally has prompted BPM firm EXL Service to hire more talent with such domain knowledge during the past few months. EXL, which has a significant presence in India, said demand from global clients is driving its strategy for building digital analytics and digital technology-led service delivery.