India's e-commerce market is expected to see revenues catapult from $39 billion last year to $120 billion in 2020, posting the world's highest annual growth rate. With the battle for this red-hot pie intensifying, the biggies in the business are upping the ante on recruitment - aggressively vying for the best and brightest at India's top campuses.
According to The Economic Times, the e-tailers are primarily looking to recruit from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and the recruited students will be put to work on emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence.
Interestingly, early indicators suggest that Flipkart, which is in the process of being acquired by Walmart, just might overtake Amazon at campus recruitment this year - or at the very least promise a close race. Last year, Amazon had taken the lead, both in terms of number of offers made and the salaries offered. Citing campus sources the daily added that it had offered annual packages close to Rs 30 lakh, including stock options, compared with Flipkart's Rs 21 lakh without stock options.
But this year, the Bengaluru-based company appears to enjoy an edge over Amazon. At IIT Kanpur, which starts its summer internship in August, though anticipation is high for both e-tailers, there seems to be a preference for Flipkart. "This year, we are expecting Flipkart to easily hire larger numbers from our campus due to funding from Walmart," a student who's on the IIM Calcutta placement cell told the daily, adding, "Students' interest in these companies is quite high as they offer product development and operations roles."
To stock up on talent it will need in the future, Flipkart reportedly plans to hire more people in 2018 compared to the previous year, and is hitting more campuses to that end. It is making a debut in final placements at NIT Warangal, National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), National Institute of Design, and Faculty of Management Studies Delhi for summer placements.
"This year, both Flipkart and Amazon would be visiting the campus," said Ch. Venkaiah, head of the department of training and placement at Warangal. Last year, Amazon was one of the top recruiters at Warangal.
"Big data, machine learning, decision sciences and artificial intelligence will be the key focus areas for this season's hiring plan - there is increasing need of resources in these emerging technologies," a Flipkart spokesperson told the daily, adding, "We continue to bank heavily on hiring entry level talent through campus."
Among the IITs, Flipkart is visiting Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Bombay, Guwahati, Roorkee, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi and Hyderabad for engineering, product and business analytics profiles.
Amazon, too, intends to scale up campus hiring this year. "The numbers for this year are 10% higher than what we have hired last year," Raj Kaza, director, talent acquisition, Amazon India, told the daily. "Amazon operates at the cutting edge of technology and we are keen to hire candidates with passion for technology such as AI, machine learning, IoT [internet of things], speech recognition and computer vision, in addition to an aptitude to grow with the organisation," he said.
Reaffirming Amazon's commitment to campus hiring, Kaza added that "Internships have worked very well for us and we are increasing the share of pre-placement offers extended to interns. We have also increased the roles for which we hire from campuses."
In addition, the company is also casting its net wider. The report claimed that Amazon is going to visit other top institutions in the country, including the 10-odd IITs that it has been going to in the past.
The race for talent has already kicked off and recruiters are thronging NIT Trichy and Warangal. The NITs are the first to begin their final placements in August, followed by the younger IITs such as Mandi and Ropar that start placements in October. The older and better-known IITs begin their final placements in December. October also marks the beginning of summer placement season at the IIMs.
This year both Flipkart and Amazon will reportedly be visiting IIM Calcutta. Last year, Flipkart made three offers, all final, at this campus, while Amazon made close to 18 final and pre-placement offers. Similarly, at IIM Ahmedabad, Amazon was the highest recruiter in the Retail B2B space with 12 offers made to the Class of 2019 last December, followed by Flipkart.