Now that the clocks have gone back to GMT, signalling the autumn and winter season, most households are now turning their attention to the build up to Christmas. So are commercial companies of all sizes since for many of them this is the time to start preparing for their busiest period. In particular, with increasing numbers of consumers choosing to shop online, parcel delivery firms need to be ready to meet demand.
The Royal Mail announced an increase in employment opportunities this week, planning for 1000 new jobs over the next four years in its parcel division, as well as hundreds of seasonal or temporary positions. Their investment totals £75 million, to start with new depots opening around this time next year. This renewed recruitment effort is an attempt to capitalise on a parcel market reportedly worth £5.8 billion according to Royal Mail’s figures.
Our ￡75m investment is part of Royal Mail Group’s strategy to grow its parcels businesses in the UK and overseas. Our strategy is to convert the rise in parcel volumes in to profitable growth. That means becoming a much more customer-focused company being run on commercial lines and investing in new, vital technology.” said Royal Mail’s Chief executive Moya Greene.
Other countries are following the UK’s example. Australia Post, the Australian equivalent of the Royal Mail, is investing $2 billion in their postal services. This investment is in response to the increasing popularity of online retail. Are national providers suffering from a case of doing “too little, too late” to match the private parcel companies that already have a strong hold over the parcel delivery market?
Many businesses will be announcing hiring opportunities in the run up to Christmas. Delivery companies in particular need to match an increase in demand for presents to be delivered. Expert observers predict that Royal Mail’s efforts will not be able to match the satisfaction offered to customers this year by independent delivery firms like Rapid Parcel. Parcels can be delivered cheaply and speedily around the world, allowing families and friends to stay connected.
The recruitment investment made by Royal Mail could be seen as a reaction to the recent Ofcom report which surveyed consumers asking them what they would like to see from a new and improved Royal Mail. Requests included ending the two tier postal system for first class and second class, and longer opening hours for collections. Is the £75 million investment really what consumers want? Or is the Royal Mail simply trying to improve profits?