Amazon will increase the size of its US workforce by 55 per cent in the next 18 months

Amazon’s mass hiring to include engineers and software developers

Image credit: Reuters

Online retail giant Amazon has announced it will hire 100,000 new employees in the USA over the next 18 months, including engineers and software developers to work in its cloud technology, machine learning and advanced logistics division.

The hiring spree will take the firm’s US workforce to 280,000 - up 55 per cent from the current 180,000 - which already makes Amazon one of the US biggest employers.

Most of the newly created jobs, all of which will be full-time, will be located in Amazon’s new fulfilment centres in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and other parts of the country. The firm said it is seeking both highly skilled technical talent as well as low skilled and entry-level applicants. The company, however, did not disclose numbers of expected vacancies for particular types of roles.

“Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon and it’s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a press release. “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley - they’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities in local communities throughout the country.”

According to analysts, the announced hiring is not surprising as the company has been growing fast over recent years and continues to do so. In 2011, Amazon was employing only 30,000 people in the US, a sixth of its current workforce.

“Amazon continues to meaningfully grow above e-commerce rates and continues to take share from traditional retailers,” BGC Partners analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters.

In October 2016 the firm announced it will open 26 new fulfilment centers, mostly in North America, in order to be able to deliver orders within two days.

The announcement comes only a week before the inauguration of the new US President Donald Trump, who has made job creation in the US one of the focal points of his campaign.

“We view this as a positive signal... of the current trajectory of Amazon’s businesses, as well as management’s confidence,” Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note.

“While there may be some ‘political capital’ involved with the timing and details of Amazon’s announcement, we suspect there is little, if any, shift of employment at Amazon from international locations to the US.”

A spokesman for Trump’s transition team gave the president-elect partial credit for Amazon’s hiring spree.

“The president-elect met with heads of several of the tech companies and urged them to keep their jobs and production inside the United States,” spokesman Sean Spicer said in his opening remarks in a press call on Thursday.

Amazon has been criticised in the past for poor working conditions in the warehouses and below average pay for low-skilled workers.

“Amazon is an even lower-paying employer than other warehouse operators,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Amazon said it has a focus on safety, conducting millions of checks each year and requiring safety training for workers. It said employee pay is highly competitive and benefits are the same for warehouse workers and executives.

It is also estimated that the number of jobs lost in the traditional retail sector, which is declining due to the blooming e-commerce, is higher than what Amazon has created.

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