Ama­zon now hir­ing — 30,000 po­si­tions to fill

Santa Fe New Mexican - - FRONT PAGE - By Karen Weise

SEAT­TLE — En­gi­neers in the Bay Area. Ad­ver­tis­ing man­agers in Chicago. Freight spe­cial­ists in Ari­zona. The job list­ings keep pil­ing up at Ama­zon, a com­pany that is grow­ing in many di­rec­tions amid one of the tight­est la­bor mar­kets in mem­ory.

On Mon­day, Ama­zon said it had 30,000 open po­si­tions in the United States, in­clud­ing full- and part-time jobs at head­quar­ters of­fices, tech­nol­ogy hubs and ware­houses.

Al­though the com­pany has po­si­tions to fill across the coun­try, Ama­zon’s job board lists many more open­ings in the Seat­tle area and Cal­i­for­nia and by its new cam­pus near Wash­ing­ton, D.C., than it does any­where else.

The va­can­cies, which Ama­zon said it hoped to fill by early next year, are per­ma­nent jobs and do not in­clude sea­sonal po­si­tions for the ware­house work­ers and driv­ers that the com­pany typ­i­cally hires to han­dle the spike in orders it gets around Christmas.

More than half of the jobs are tech-ori­ented, and roughly a quar­ter are for ware­house work, the com­pany said.

It is the most open po­si­tions the com­pany has ever had, Ama­zon said.

The large num­ber of open­ings is the lat­est sign of how the com­pany’s am­bi­tions are col­lid­ing with the re­al­ity of strong la­bor mar­kets for both white- and bluecol­lar work­ers. Last fall, Ama­zon raised the min­i­mum wage at its ware­houses to $15 an hour, and this sum­mer, it said it would spend $700 mil­lion to re­train about a third of its Amer­i­can work­ers to per­form tasks that re­quired advanced skills. The ef­fort in­cluded a ma­jor push to im­prove the tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise of cor­po­rate and tech-focused em­ploy­ees, such as turn­ing en­trylevel coders into data sci­en­tists.

In Au­gust, the na­tional un­em­ploy­ment rate re­mained near a 50-year low at 3.7 per­cent, even as hir­ing slowed in the face of the trade war be­tween the United States and China and lag­ging global econ­omy.

Ama­zon had 653,300 em­ploy­ees around the world at the end of June, not in­clud­ing tem­po­rary work­ers and con­trac­tors. Just fewer than half of those are in the United States. The com­pany also has a so-called shadow work­force of con­trac­tors that in­cludes driv­ers de­liv­er­ing pack­ages to cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives who help sell­ers on Ama­zon’s mar­ket­place.

As tra­di­tional re­tail­ers con­tinue to close stores and an­titrust con­cerns about big tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies swirl in Wash­ing­ton, Ama­zon has in­creas­ingly used its grow­ing work­force as a po­lit­i­cal tool. Ama­zon brings em­ploy­ees on tours of Congress, giv­ing law­mak­ers pro­tec­tive vests em­bla­zoned with the names of ware­houses in their home states. The com­pany also is­sues fre­quent re­ports and news re­leases like the an­nounce­ment Mon­day about the jobs it has created.

In a sign of how im­por­tant hir­ing and the pol­i­tics sur­round­ing it have be­come for the com­pany, the re­lease Mon­day in­cluded a quote from Jeff Bezos, Ama­zon’s founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive. Usu­ally, Bezos’ top deputies or other com­pany ex­ec­u­tives are quoted in such an­nounce­ments or made avail­able for interviews with the news media.

Ama­zon has sig­naled to in­vestors that it is en­ter­ing a rein­vest­ment cy­cle, where its costs will in­crease as it seeks to ex­pand in strategic ar­eas. In its lat­est earn­ings call with Wall Street an­a­lysts, the com­pany high­lighted the re­cent growth of the sales and mar­ket­ing staffs for its cloud com­put­ing ser­vices and for the lo­gis­tics and trans­porta­tion net­works it is build­ing to make de­liv­er­ies.

The com­pany has sched­uled hir­ing fairs in six cities on Sept. 17, in­clud­ing Nashville, Tenn., where it is build­ing a ma­jor out­post for its vast lo­gis­tics op­er­a­tions net­work, and Bos­ton, Chicago, Dal­las and Seat­tle.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

A worker sorts through items and ful­fills orders in June at the Ama­zon Ful­fill­ment Cen­ter in Staten Is­land, N.Y. The on­line shop­ping gi­ant is hold­ing job fairs across the coun­try next week.

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