The coronavirus pandemic saw people losing jobs across industries all over the world. Small businesses had to shut down or let go of staff to cut down costs. Many jobs were lost due to the closing of public spaces like theaters, cinemas, clubs, and more.
During such a time, there was one industry that thrived more than ever: the courier industry. The lockdown saw people restricted to their homes all across the country. At first, the situation was too distressing and alarming for people to shop online. But as people settled into the new way of living, e-sales went up all over, creating the demand for efficient delivery services.
At the start of 2020, so great was this demand that popular couriers across the UK began struggling to meet customer needs. There was a brief period of confusion and mismanagement, where late deliveries, wrong deliveries, or damaged parcels became frequent.
However, the UK couriers rose to the occasion, made their operations more efficient, and started hiring people. Thousands of opportunities became available in the courier industry by June 2020. These were immediately taken up by people who had lost jobs early on in the pandemic.
This was just the first phase of the boom in the courier sector. Towards the end of the year 2020, courier services once again saw an unprecedented demand. With Christmas around the corner, people took to the internet to buy gifts for their loved ones. These then had to be delivered to homes across the country. Moreover, the UK was formally exiting the EU around that time, which had a significant effect on shipments and deliveries. Add to this the already high demand for everyday goods deliveries due to the pandemic, and more and more vacancies became available in the delivery sector.
People struggling because of the pandemic were quick to avail of these opportunities; however, the situation was far from ideal. Usually, courier companies provide certain benefits to their employees, such as sick pays, delivery vehicles, and fuel costs. However, the new jobs created did not offer any of that.
The new delivery drivers were mostly “self-employed,” meaning that they used their own vehicles and had to provide their own insurance. They were usually paid per delivery and got no sick pays, and had no job guarantee. Still, the new jobs were a way for them to make ends meet. By contracting these self-employed persons, courier companies found a low-cost way of meeting enhanced delivery needs during the pandemic.