DPD is recruiting 6,000 new staff, including 3,500 drivers, in response to an unprecedented boom in online shopping caused by Covid-19.
The delivery firm is investing £200 million this year to expand its next its next-day parcel capacity, including £100m on vehicles, £60m on 15 new regional depots (10 more than originally planned in 2020) and the remainder on technology.
The new jobs will include delivery and HGV drivers, warehouse staff, management positions and support staff, including mechanics.
DPD's CEO, Dwain McDonald, said: "We are experiencing the biggest boom in online retailing in the UK's history and we are making this unprecedented investment in our infrastructure and people to ensure we can continue to meet the high levels of demand for our services.”
The company says that even before lockdown restrictions were announced in March, demand had risen significantly as people started increasing their reliance on online shopping.
The trend has continued, it says, with existing retail customers experiencing an online sales boom and new customers developing online propositions to maintain sales during lockdown.
DPD is forecasting the growth to continue this year, despite shops reopening, as households continue to rely on online deliveries for a greater proportion of their shopping, including food and drink.
McDonald continued: “DPD has been one of the fastest growing major companies in the UK in the last 10 years, due to the growth in e-commerce. But what we have seen in recent months is potentially a much more significant shift in behaviour, and we believe elements of it will be permanent. “As a company, we've been dealing with rapid growth and ongoing investment cycles for a long time, but this is a very significant moment.”
He continued: “It looks like there will remain a much greater reliance on e-commerce in the future - that's going to be our 'new normal'. This investment and expansion mean that we will continue to be right there for our retail customers, alongside them, with the capacity to cope with the demand they are seeing online.”
DPD reports that since the pandemic began, it has been handling parcel volumes more akin to the festive seasonal peak than this time of year. For example, volumes over Easter were double last year.
McDonald said: "I'm incredibly proud of what our team has delivered during this crisis, including our work with the NHS and food retailers."