About a quarter of the world’s biggest furniture company IKEA’s 3,000 employees in India are on part-time roles, working as few as two days a week, and most of these roles are held by students and women to suit their personal requirements, amid early signs of gig work taking shape in the country.
“We have approximately 25% part-time assignments-based roles in stores today with an ambition to be 30% and more of IKEA India workforce. It varies depending on units. For instance, Bangalore has 40% part-timers,” the Swedish furniture retailer’s Country People and Culture Manager Parineeta Cecil Lakra told Business Today on the sidelines of the 'Manning Modern Retail' event in Mumbai recently.
She said the part-timers are employed by IKEA India and are not on third-party payrolls. While their pay is proportionate to the contracted hours they wish to choose, their other benefits such as medical/health insurance are the same as a full-timer.
They hold positions in both store and office roles across functions such as logistics, sales, customer interaction, people & culture and food, etc. Some are maybe doing 16 hours, 24 hours or 30 hours a week. Some prefer only weekends, while others prefer only weekdays. Lakra said co-workers choose between these options based on their personal life situation.
“A majority of them are students. There are a lot of women, especially those returning from parental leave. There are retired people who want to be gainfully employed. Some have been in full-time roles; some were in teaching or even in retail and others have been with IKEA also earlier.”
Their reasons could be that they are studying, pursuing something else in the rest of the time, navigating a life situation such as tending to parents, children or a health condition.
Outside of their contractual assignments, they are free to take up any other employment as long as it doesn’t clash with their commitment here, Lakra said. “We’ve seen that if our part-timers find the need to find another employment, they come back and ask us if they can do more hours with us instead of going somewhere else.”
On the slow but increased acceptance of gig and freelance work among the Indian workforce, especially after the pandemic, she said that flexibility is good for both the co-workers as well as business. “I’m increasingly seeing that the generation entering the workforce now or will be entering in future, their life is not defined only by their work. They are finding more meaning to life.”
Copyright©2023 Living Media India Limited. For reprint rights: Syndications Today