DHL to Boost Headcount by 15% to Take on Ecomm Rivals
Logistics major to also set up new service centres and invest in infrastructure here
Mumbai: The DHL group plans to increase its India headcount by 15% to take on aggressive rivals in the ecommerce space such as Flipkart and Amazon. DHL employs about 21,000 employees in its four divisions DHL Express, DHL Global Forwarding, DHL Supply Chain and Blue Dart in India. The group globally employes 500,000 people.
“Globally, we have the fourth largest number of employees in India. We are starting new service centres and are investing in our infrastructure heavily. Of course we are very heavily investing in our people. It’s a very dynamic labour market and you have to have a very strong brand as an employer if you want to attract people,” Melanie Kreis, corporate board member HR, Deutsche Post DHL told ET in an interview.
It has increased its collective staff strength by 25% in the last two years, she added. In India, the biggest chunk of DHL’s staff is employed with Blue Dart. The company has expansion plans which includes increasing its aircraft fleet size and setting up warehouses.
In the last two years, ecommerce players such as Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, have aggressively expanded their businesses in India, setting up logistics arms and com- peting with traditional players. Flipkart, for instance, has a staff strength of more than 30,000 of which it employs about 20,000 in its logistics unit EKart.
Kreis said the companies make constant efforts to poach from the likes of DHL.
“From the HR perspective, India is a fantastic opportunity but there are also some challenges, it makes us a hunting ground for other companies. It makes us work on topics such as employee engagement even more than in the past,” she said.
“Amazon said they would invest $1 billion into India. There are new ecommerce players that are looking at how best to position themselves in the logistics market. That is something we follow very closely in our company. And when you are a new ecommerce logistics player who is looking to start operations in India, it’s probably a safer bet to hire people who already know how to do it. And we know many of our people are approached. Clearly, with the entry of new players funded with a lot of private equity money, just competing on the salary package is not going to do the trick,” she added.
DHL has in the past invested over $100 million into a programme called Certified International Specialist under which its courier employees are taught they are part of a global value chain, said Kreis. Under another programme called ‘Umang’, it provides distance learning courses and certificates to its employees. DHL has various shared services programmes through which its outsources several functions specifically to India.
“If you look at accounting processes, this is something in which India has had a very strong position for a very long time,” said Kreis.