The ‘e’ in e-commerce could well stand for electrifying increments. Even as the Indian IT industry’s annual salary increments have shrunk to single digits, offering 6-8% on average, the e-commerce industry is doling out an average hike of 15-18% with top performers being granted a salary raise of 25% or more, driven by a highly competitive market largely crippled by a shortage of talent.
“There no denial that we live in a competitive world where we keep tab of top talents in other firms and get them on board. We have paid up to 22% hike for our top performers and also have rolled out various HR benefits to retain the talents,” Saurabh Nigam, HR vice-president of e-commerce major Snapdeal told FE.
Snapdeal, which has around 5,000 employees, has given a 22% hike to 30% of its employees. Players like Paytm too have said they have given its employees an increment above the industry average of 15-18%.
The e-commerce industry, which is still in its nascent stages in India, has been largely industry-agnostic when it comes to hiring talent and retaining them. However, the segment is faced with the challenges of talent crunch and high attrition at various levels.
“The attrition in the customer service department and product development teams is high. Especially in the product and technology segment, people who have seen and evolved with the ecosystem from scratch have the urge to start something on their own and hence have quit,” Nigam said.
Amit Sinha, vice-president (business and people) at Paytm, told FE that people in the product and development team will remain in the company for the long term if given a platform where they are provided the kind of freedom that employees enjoy in a start-up. Paytm claims to have paid up to 50% hike in certain cases.
Vidhya Shankar, head, partner alliance at Nasscom’s 10,000 start-up initiative, says that since the core of e-commerce is built on technology, it is easy for the IT/ITeS people to shift to e-commerce, which in turn pushes the salary expectations higher. “There is definitely a war for talent with the growth of the industry and also people relocating to India because they see big business for the next five years. The momentum will continue as the innovation drive continues to kick in,” Shankar said.
The e-commerce companies which are on a hiring spree are investing heavily on people and technology. Amazon India says its employee base in India had gone up by 48% in 2014 compared with the previous year and Snapdeal is all set to hire 1,000 people for its tech team this year. With the shortage of the right talent, e-commerce majors have been hiring experienced people from FMCG, offline retail and other sectors like shipping and logistics.
Companies also have tie-ups with universities and institutions for capacity building and on-the-job training.
Amazon India says candidates from India’s leading engineering institutes and business schools form a major part of its talent pool. Snapdeal, meanwhile, has joined hands with the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology, Department of Electronics and IT, ministry of communications and IT, to roll out digital marketing courses for small and medium sellers and artisans across India.