Ecommerce companies in India are dramatically scaling up their businesses and it has made them to look overseas, particularly the Silicon Valley, for professionals with relevant skills needed to fill top positions. Especially, companies like Flipkart, Jabong, Quikr, PolicyBazaar, Ibibo-Group, Urban Ladder, Caratlane and CBazaar are looking to persuade highly qualified Indians and even some expats to switch to them and are all set to pay to get them on board.

In fact, the study found that such professionals have already proved to be very productive for companies like Flipkart and Infibeam and that these ecommerce players are smitten with adding more such employees to their payrolls as they upscale at breakneck speed.

“Online retail in India is expected to grow to $6 billion in size next year!”

– Gartner

“We do believe that expats and Indians working abroad bring a different perspective in conducting and scaling the business,” said Manu Midha, V-P of planning and strategy at Infibeam.

“We are also recruiting for overseas expansion of the platform .E-commerce in India is witnessing phenomenal growth and has become an attractive option for many techies at senior level with rich experience and knowledge to return (to India) and join the bandwagon.”

Just for want of the right skills, companies have to look for it outside just like the way Flipkart is filled with employees with international experience in key positions across technology, retail, marketing, supply chain, corporate development and other departments.

“If we find people that match the job profile and have a passion to succeed, we hire across boundaries as well. For an organization like Flipkart that is looking to create a world-class experience in the Indian market, this kind of talent adds value,” said Mekin Maheshwari, chief people officer at Flipkart.Most such hires are in their late 30s or 40s and are attracted to the prospect of coming home.

Note: Flipkart was founded in 2007 when there was actually a dearth of skilled digital marketers in India.

Of course it is a fact that it came late in India and so no wonder international professionals are found to be extremely proficient in it, but there isn’t any doubt that in spite of its late arrival digital marketing has thrived like anything in India and that still if professionals want to excel in the field and have that spirit, the country is not deficient with experts to train them.


“The advent of the Narendra Modi government with a substantial majority also acted as a tonic!”

“While pay packets vary, annual salaries are typically pegged at Rs 1.5 crore along with stock options. If there was one event that brought home to e-commerce companies that they needed to get serious about hiring the right people, it was the $1-billion investment in Flipkart. Suddenly, they were about to move out of the shallows and into the deep ocean with such leviathans as Amazon and would need to swim or sink. The advent of the Narendra Modi government with a substantial majority also acted as a tonic”, said Mayank Pande, a partner at Amrop India.

The Growth!

“A number of major players in the ecommerce arena are accumulating huge investments to power their growth!”

• Flipkart has raised more than $1.2 billion this year
• Snapdeal has received about $850 million, including the backing from SoftBank this week
• Amazon India got a commitment of $2 billion from its parent in July

“No wonders if staffing surges!”

As per the report, by the end of the fiscal year:

• Flipkart will increase employee count to an estimated 26,000 that also includes hiring for its logistics arm
• Snapdeal will increase employee count to an estimated 3,600

The idea is large part of the talent pool available within the country yet need to evolve a lot when compared to that of overseas.

“We are compelled to look at Silicon Valley and are in the process of shortlisting a few names for our clients,” said Pande.

“Most ecommerce companies (with sound funding) as well as brick and mortar companies looking at building/strengthening their e-commerce business are looking at Silicon Valley for experienced, evolved cutting-edge talent.”Vikram Chhachhi of Heidrick and Struggles had the same opinion.

“Niche talent required for the e-commerce space lies globally as the existing domestic pool of talent in technology and supply chain relevant for these companies is scarce,” said Chhachhi, a principal at its Mumbai office and a member of the global consumer markets practice.

He drew attention to the fact that a lot of us might not have realized yet is that even the e-commerce companies themselves weren’t prepared for this kind of growth. But that, now when it has happened, they need people with right knowledge and right skills in order to sustain rising volume and cope with competition.

Flipkart employees include Indians with exposure to global markets, particularly the US, coupled with e-commerce and technology experience. Even Quikr is looking overseas mainly for product management, technology, analytics, sales and operations.

“India is the future of e-commerce and foreigners are only too delighted to have India on their resume!”

– Avdesh Mittal, Regional sector leader, digital, Asia-Pacific, Korn Ferry

On this, Jabong’s HR head Ashu Malhotra said the company will look at talent outside India as and when the need comes up.

“Clearly this is what happened in the IT services space in India over a decade back where many Indians overseas sensing opportunities returned to join the software wave, just this time the industry has changed to e-commerce,”

-Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president at Nasscom.


“The roles of venture capitalists will be crucial in selecting the right talent as they have bet big in this game.”

-Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president at Nasscom.

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The Bottom Line:

Companies need the right knowledge, the right skills and the right talent! It is no wonder if for want of that in the country the hunt has begun in the Silicon Valley. But the idea is ‘skills’ rather ‘the right skills’ is the agenda and that it can never be overlooked provided you own it! Own it!

Note: – Information has been extracted from a report by the Times of India dated 3rd November’2014.

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