With expectations of festival season demand to be back with a bang after two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, temp staff hiring is also anticipated to see a spike.

As consumers return to in-store shopping, experts and industry players predict a sharp increase in temp staff hiring in segments such as FMCG, electronic goods retail stores, entertainment and hospitality, and also in e-commerce and logistics.

Balasubramanian A, Vice President, TeamLease Services said over 5 lakh short-term jobs are expected to be created this festival season. “A lot of these would be for store promoters or feet on street salespersons in consumer durables and electronics as well as some jobs for service engineers and in call centres,” he said.

In-store shopping growth

About 20-25 per cent incremental jump in hiring is expected in store promoters with short-term contracts ranging from 45 to 90 days, he said. About half of them may get retained due to sustained demand.

The festival season is typically from August 15 to mid-January and a lot of hiring in these segments is understood to have started already. The demand for temp staff will not just be concentrated in metros but also in tier-II cities.

Spike in e-comm sector

“Hospitality will be another area where large seasonal hiring will take place,” said Lohit Bhatia, President, Indian Staffing Federation.

E-commerce, logistics, and delivery increase hiring for the festive peaks and that is expected as normal each year. “E-commerce hiring peaks with approximately 20-25 per cent additional hires during this period and similar numbers are expected, whereas retail and consumer hiring might touch 30 per cent higher than non-seasonal peaks,” Bhatia noted.

Sales (in-store, on-field), delivery staff, pickers and packers in warehouses, customer care executives in the hospitality industry, chefs, and kitchen staff in these industries are some of the job roles in high demand, he added.

Battle for talent in retail segment

However, the battle for talent is worrying retailers ahead of the season. Attrition is high and over 40 per cent. Like in the IT industry, employees in the retail sector leave if a competitor offers a few thousand more, and there is no loyalty too, said an official of a leading recruitment firm.

L Subhash Chandra, Managing Director of the Bengaluru-based Sangeetha Mobiles agreed and said, “Store-level attrition is always high across the category. Nothing really worth mentioning at other levels.”

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the retail sector employed over 4.5 crore people but lost almost 50 lakh during its peak. The industry has recouped and has re-hired almost an equal number. “Now, retail businesses are looking to expand their workforce, both at the front and back end, to drive the next phase of growth,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI).

The retail industry is witnessing a growth of 20 per cent as compared to pre-pandemic levels. Retail has become an omnichannel play, which requires a diverse range of talent to function and grow, he said. “In addition to front-end employees, retailers are also looking for individuals to work at their distribution centres,” Rajagopalan added.

Bhatia, who is also President, Workforce Management, Quess Corp, a large staffing solutions provider, said, “After a nearly three-year gap, we are optimistic to witness a joyful and prosperous holiday season with growing demand for festive hires.”