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Edtech, logistics and gig-economy to drive jobs

By Samreen Ahmad & Neha Alawadhi
February 25, 2021 13:08 IST
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Fresher hiring is expected to more than double compared to last year.


Illustration: Dominic Xavier/

After a year of job uncertainty and salary cuts, the start-up ecosystem is stepping up its hiring plans as many large firms look to scale up their business.

According to a survey by Scalar, venture capital-funded start-ups, especially in edtech, logistics, and gig economy, will be key drivers of the job market in 2021.


Live learning platform Vedantu plans to hire 1,500 employees across all levels, with domain expertise in the fields of technology, product, finance, strategy and human resource this year.

“Due to the tremendous potential of online learning in current times, it is our duty to ensure that all students and teachers get perfect experience of our product.

"Hence, we are ramping up our hiring across domains from India’s premium B-schools and engineering institutes,” said Vamsi Krishna, chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder, Vedantu.

Mumbai-based edtech start-up Lido Learning is looking to hire close to 1,000 employees in the next one month.

The recruitment will be diverse, spanning across roles like tutors, customer support personnel, and sales and marketing executives.

This is in addition to building strength for the existing teams.

“There has been a big surge in start-up hiring in the past two-three months, and it is not only limited to fintech or edtech.

"All segments, including consumer tech, SaaS (software as a service), gaming, and media tech, are now picking up,” said Anshul Lodha, regional director at global recruitment consultancy Michael Page.

The outbreak of Covid-19 impacted most start-ups as their business contracted and many had to resort to job cuts.

For instance, food tech platform Swiggy, which handed pink slips to over 1,400 employees after the pandemic broke out last year, has gone back to the 2019 hiring plans for the March quarter, with an increased focus on technology and product functions.

“Attracting the right talent in engineering, product, data science & ML is our primary focus while also strengthening our business category and supply chain teams for our new initiatives.

"This would be a mix of both entry-level roles (15-20 per cent) and lateral hires,” said Girish Menon, head of HR at Swiggy.

The need to hire aggressively also comes on the back of fundraising that start-ups have seen amid rising demand.

Walmart-backed PhonePe has managed to reach the milestone of 1 billion monthly payment transactions.

PhonePe has about 700 positions to close in 2021.

“Despite the lockdown, our headcount grew by 700 people across roles since the end of February 2020, taking our employee strength to 2,240,” said a spokesperson for PhonePe.

The Tiger Global-backed start-up is also expanding its offline merchant network to 25 million (currently at 16 million) by the end of 2021 across rural and semi-urban areas.

This expansion will be creating 10,000 jobs across 5,500 talukas, wherein people will be hired from the locally available talent pool to service the merchants.

Fintech unicorn Razorpay will be hiring 650 employees across its engineering, products, customer experience, sales and marketing teams in the next 10 months, to meet the growing payment and banking needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and freelancers.

The Bengaluru-based startup onboarded 550 employees in 2020.

According to Teamlease, fresher hiring is expected to be higher this year, given that the 2020 pass-out intake just started around November-December 2020 and the activity has increased in Q1 of 2021.

“Fresher hiring is expected to more than double compared to last year. Lateral is also in the positive trajectory; some of the roles that laterals are preferred are full stack developer, content writers (mostly copy writers), whereas for roles of testing, sales, teachers and digital marketing, companies are open to take freshers,” said Kaushik Banerjee, vice president and business head of Teamlease & Freshersworld.

IPO-bound Zomato, which laid off 13 per cent of its 4,000 workforce last year due to Covid impact, is planning to hire 400 people this year, according to reports.

Online grocery platform Grofers, another start-up which is drawing up IPO plans, has an ongoing talent reinforcement, primarily in technology, supply chain and demand functions.

“Our focus continues to build high-performing teams across the organisation with a blend of fresh perspective and diverse experience,” said Ankush Arora, head of HR, Grofers.

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Samreen Ahmad & Neha Alawadhi in Bengaluru
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