As huge retailers, particularly Amazon and Walmart, add tens of thousands of jobs, a much smaller company is in the midst of adding 550,000. Instacart, the shopping and delivery service, increased its worker base recently by 300,000 people. It now says it needs 250,000 more.
Instacart’s specific model is to shop at local grocery stores and deliver those groceries to people’s homes. That puts it in competition with the large grocery businesses of Walmart and Kroger. The model is one that should have particular success in a period when COVID-19 has driven tens of millions of people indoors.
Instacart, founded in 2012, has raised $1.9 billion. Its most recent round of $200 million was completed in February 2018. Its valuation sits at $7.8 billion.
Instacart has been particularly generous with its employees since the pandemic began, particularly in contrast to other companies in the broad retail sector. It offers 14 days of pay to its full-time and part-time employees directly affected by COVID-19. It has set bonuses for its “in-store shoppers, shift leads, and site managers.”
Instacart also provides personal protective equipment to all its workers in public facilities and those who directly handle shopping and delivery.
In its announcement, Instacart management wrote:
One month ago, we shared our plans to bring on 300,000 additional full-service shoppers to help us meet increased customer demand we’ve seen. We quickly met that goal, and are now planning to bring on an additional 250,000 full-service shoppers in an effort to get back to same-day delivery across our platform
How large is this pool of employees? Before COVID-19 wrecked the economy and triggered 26 million jobless claims, the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment reports showed an average of about 200,000 people added to the U.S. economy a month for the past two years. The Instacart hiring binge is huge.