Coupang plans to hire 1,000 delivery men this year

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Coupang plans to hire 1,000 delivery men this year

Coupang announced Monday that it plans to hire 1,000 new delivery workers by the end of this year, with at least 500 of them before the Chuseok holidays begin late September.

The move means the company will increase the number of its delivery workers, dubbed “Coupang men,” by 30 percent, up from the original 3,500.

The news came as a surprise to the industry, as many Korean online shopping services, including Coupang, have been in the red for years.

“Our company will hire more delivery workers in light of the increase in orders and changes in working schedules due to the 52-hour workweek,“ said a Coupang spokesman. “We also purchased 500 trucks to welcome young people in their 20s and 30s with just a Type 2 driving license to become Coupang men.”

In Korea, businesses typically hire individuals with more advanced Type 1 licenses to drive trucks and vans.

According to industry experts, Coupang has recently suffered from a slew of delayed deliveries. The company was not able to handle a sudden rise in orders from consumers who chose to stay away from the summer heat and do their shopping online.

The 52-hour workweek also took a toll on the company. Coupang recently began dividing delivery workers in regions like Incheon into two groups with different work schedules. Some begin work at 8:30 a.m. and end at 7:30 p.m., while the rest work from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Both schedules add up to 50 hours a week without counting a one-hour lunch break each day. The company needed to hire more to have enough employees who could work in each time slot.

Industry experts are skeptical, however, over whether the company will be able to hire 500 people in such a short period despite the company’s relatively high pay. Coupang delivery workers are hired as full-time regular workers and receive a starting annual salary of 35 million won ($31,335), much higher than the industry average.

But the rising number of delivery orders recently translated into a steep rise in the workload of Coupang’s delivery men.

According to Coupang workers, the average delivery driver now delivers an estimated 220 to 250 packages every day, a 30 percent increase from last year, when the daily average was between 150 and 180.

“There are currently around 3,000 Coupang men [instead of the reported 3,500],” said one Coupang worker who requested anonymity. “Many delivery workers have quit during a short time span because they felt they weren’t being paid enough for the increased number of orders they had to fulfill.”


BY KIM YOUNG-JU [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]

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