Homegrown ecommerce major Flipkart is planning to expand its data science and analytics team, besides adding teeth to its other verticals after almost a two-year hiatus. The company has created 700 new positions in the technology department to bring in the next phase of technology revolution with artificial intelligence-powered solutions. Flipkart is seeking data scientists, product solution engineers, technology programme managers, UI and UX designers, software programme developers, service delivery infrastructure and IT applications.
“Flipkart is aggressively hiring in tech functions. Over four-fifths of all current open positions at Flipkart is for technology functions,” a company spokesperson told The Economic Times, adding that the hiring is part of its ambitious AI-for-India programme, which attempts to put machine learning and AI at the core of its business. It had recently visited the Indian School of Business campus to make at least 20 hirings. The online retailer has also signed hardware partnerships and is working with top educational institutions to make its AI push successful. It had acquired the F7 Labs in the Silicon Valley in 2015 to build its AI infrastructure. It aims to use the start-up’s wide range of supply side and consumer interface offerings.
Hiring flip flops
In 2016 and 2017, Flipkart had to cut down its workforce from 15,000 to 8,000 following cash burn woes. The top management were walking a tightrope on hirings, especially at the mid and senior levels. HR head Nitin Sethi had instructed all business heads to hire people only if it was “absolutely necessary” for the team, according to reports. In November 2016, Flipkart had said that they were not going to recruit IIM and IIT graduates in 2017. Sethi had said only a few graduates who were interning with them might get an offer. The offers to 250-odd students from the IITs and IIMs in December 2016 were also deferred following the downsizing exercise initiated by the company. Hiring resumed only after Flipkart secured around $2bn from Softbank and $1.4bn funding from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft in the following year.
In recent times, a large chunk of traffic from high spending urban centres has reportedly moved to the platform of its global rival Amazon.com Inc. Following the talks of a partnership with US retail giant Walmart, Flipkart is now planning to press on the gas and expand its services aggressively. Amazon, on the other hand, is also on a recruitment spree and is hiring more than Google for its technical and product roles. According to a Citi Research report, the global ecommerce giant is hiring over 1,100 people for its Alexa business unit. Flipkart’s plans to set up a 4.5 million sqft state-of-the-art logistics park in Karnataka also gains significance, as it could pave the way for 20,000 more new jobs. Now, all hopes will be pinned on the Walmart-Flipkart deal, wherein the US retailer plans to invest $5 billion in India.