Amazon is planning to hire 55,000 people in corporate and technology roles around the world in the coming months, Chief Executive Andy Jassy told Reuters.
That’s equal to more than a third of Google’s workforce as of June 30, and nearly all of Facebook’s.
Jassy, in her first press interview since rising to Amazon’s top job in July, said the company needed more firepower to keep up with demand in retail, cloud and advertising, among other businesses. He said the company’s new bid to launch satellites into orbit to expand broadband access, called Project Kuiper, would also require many new hires.
With Amazon’s annual job fair set to kick off Sept. 15, Jassy hopes now is a good time to recruit. “There are so many jobs during the pandemic that have been displaced or changed, and there are so many people who are thinking about different and new jobs,” said Jassy, who cited a US PwC poll that 65 percent of workers wanted a new show .
“It’s part of what we think makes ‘Career Day’ so timely and useful,” he said. The new hires would represent a 20 percent increase in Amazon’s corporate and technology staff, which currently number about 275,000 worldwide, the company said.
Amazon’s move, just the latest hiring wave it has embarked on, follows a period of increased scrutiny of its labor practices and opposition from the International Fellowship of Teamsters. Earlier this year, a failed effort by some Alabama officials to organize showcased Amazon’s tax work on warehouses and its aggressive stance against unions. After the battle, Jeff Bezos, the CEO whom Jassy succeeded, said Amazon needed a better vision for employees.
Asked how he could change Amazon’s demanding work culture, Jassy said his strong focus on customers and creativity led to improvements.
“Everyone in the company has the freedom – and indeed, the expectation – to critically analyze how this can be better and then come up with ways to make it better.”
Amazon’s marketing roles include engineering, scientific research and robotics roles, posts that are largely new to the company rather than jobs others have left, she said.
In a reopening US economy and a tight job market, some companies have struggled to fill vacancies and balance teleworking with on-site work. It’s not clear how many jobs at Amazon – such as for competitive engineering hires – have been open for some time.
Amazon, which previously advocated an “office-centric culture,” later changed its vision and offered employees the opportunity to personally spend three days a week in their offices starting next year.
Already the second-largest private employer in the United States, Amazon hired more than 500,000 people in 2020, primarily in warehouse and delivery operations. This area had a significant turnaround.
The company is investing heavily in building more warehouses and raising wages to attract workers, in order to meet the strong demand of buyers looking for products delivered to their homes. Jassy said Amazon has been “very competitive on the compensation side”. He said, “We made our way at the minimum wage of $15 (about Rs. 1,100)”, and for some states, on average, “actually, the starting wage is $17 (about Rs. 1,240) an hour “.
Of the more than 55,000 jobs that Jassy has announced, more than 40,000 will be in the United States, while others will be in countries like India, Germany and Japan.
Amazon previously promised a big tech hiring spree in 2017 when it looked for a location for its second headquarters. Employees in North American cities and states fawned over the company for its jobs and taxes.
Arlington, Va., the winner of the “HQ2” contest that so far holds a small fraction of the 25,000 roles Amazon has promised over a decade, currently has about 2,800 slots. The city of Bellevue, where Amazon is growing, near its hometown of Seattle, has another 2,000.
The career fair will be global. That’s after Amazon saw 22,000 people tuning in last year from India, among other locations outside the United States, Jassy said.
© Thomson Reuters 2021