IKEA to hire 15,000 to set up 25 stores

In one of the biggest hiring exercises by a foreign firm in the country, the world’s largest furniture retailer IKEA is going to hire 15,000 people to run the 25 stores it plans to open.

 The Swedish chain is also looking at hiring the services of 37,500 more people indirectly to assist in running its stores.“Each store would employ 500 to 600 workers and indirectly provide job opportunities for 1,500 people. We have already started hiring for Hyderabad and Mumbai stores and also in Bengaluru,” said Anna Carin, country manager, human resource, IKEA India.

The company plans to invest Rs 10,500 crore to set up 25 stores. At its Gurgaon store, it already has 120 employees.

In May this year, it bought a 23-acre land parcel at Turbhe in Navi Mumbai, where it plans to set up a 400,000 sq ft store. It purchased a 13-acre plot close to the IT hub in Hyderabad’s HITEC city last year to set up a similar outlet.

“We are scouting for land parcels across the country,” said Carin.

Globally, IKEA has 375 stores and employs 172,000 people. It posted 11.5% jump in its sales at EUROS 32.7 billion last financial year, ending August 2015.  The company is looking to hit a sales target of EUROS 50 billion by 2020.

In India, IKEA, known for out-of-town stores and self-assembled furniture, plans to hire an equal number of men and women, said Carin. This would reflect its global strategy.

“We want to be an equal opportunity employer in India. We already have a fifty-fifty ratio of at our Gurgaon service office. We want to replicate this at different levels and at store recruitment,” she added.

Human resource consultants said the strategy would help — but doubts remain as to how successful they would be.

“Whether or not they would be successful in achieving such a ratio it is too premature to say,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and senior vice-president, TeamLease Services.

Chakraborty said such a ratio is “aspirational” for Indian organisations. “Even if we hit a percentage of 25% women employees, it is a huge milestone for the country.”

“At IKEA, any worker at any level can grow to any level, including the country manager,” she said, adding that the company lays a lot of emphasis on insurance packages and benefits.

The company also wants to grow faster in India than in China.

In March this year, IKEA Asia Pacific Retail President Mikael Palmquist told PTI that compared to China where it had been there for 15 years and opening at an annual rate of three stores, here it would be looking at a much faster growth rate.

“In India I want us to be there earlier, within five years. We should have capability to open three stores a year to hit the 25 (stores),” he added.

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