Global retail platform provider Amazon announced last week that it intends to hire yet another 75,000 workers across the U.S. and in Canada in an effort to further respond to surging order volumes on the company’s platform. According to the online retailer, the most open positions are in that states of California, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
These new operational warehouse and customer fulfillment positions will reportedly be paid $17 per hour with a $1,000 signing bonus added for some specific locations. This after last year’s declaration that the online provider would pay its hourly workers a minimum of $15 per hour. Many other U.S. based retailers including Walmart also raised pay levels to this minimum level.
This latest hiring move comes after last year’s hiring of upwards of half a million workers globally, and amid reports of increasing worker demand for skilled workers now accelerating entry wage levels. According to reports, upwards of 950,000 people are now being directly employed by Amazon across the United States. That likely does not include a significant number of contractor and ‘gig’ workers supporting Amazon’s customer fulfillment needs.
After a mind-boggling financial and operational performance for the first quarter of this year, Amazon previously announced the raising of wages by between 50 cents and $3 per hour for the more than 500,000 of its existing U.S. employees. The pay raises were originally planned for later this year but were moved up to take effect in mid-May thru early June for customer fulfillment, delivery, package sortation and specialty fulfillment workers. The overall cost of this effort was reported as over $1 billion.
At that same time period, in his farewell annual letter to Amazon shareholders, Founder and soon to be replaced CEO Jeff Bezos had indicated that the company aims to do better in managing its work teams in the light of the recently failed worker unionization election held at a fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. An announcement this week indicates the broader rollout of a program titled WorkingWell, which aims to train workers on how to avoid workplace injuries including musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) type injuries that reportedly account for upwards of 40 percent of warehouse worker injuries among Amazon’s workers. Training will be conducted primarily by a series of videos, and will be reportedly supplemented by hourly reminders for employees to take an exercise break of 30 seconds to one minute duration.
In his recent book, Behemoth: Amazon Rising: Power and Seduction in the Age of Amazon, author Dr. Robin Gaster provides a deep dive into the online platform’s provider’s business and operational strategies, along with how the company makes its money and loses some as well. He observes that if one counts not only direct employees, but the hundreds of thousands of various contract and “gig’ workers that are involved in Amazon support work, the online platform provider aims to become a very influential employer across the United States, perhaps exceeding Walmart in the next few years.
Among further compelling topics, Dr. Gaster outlines Amazon’s algorithm-driven process for monitoring every operational worker including the automatic dismissal of such workers if numeric goals are not achieved over a consistent period. Hosted sellers are also constantly monitored by algorithms.
We are pleased to announce that our next Supply Chain Matters Podcast episode, scheduled to be released on Friday, May 21 will feature a conversation with Dr. Gaster regarding his research on Amazon business practices and what he anticipates that online provider will morph to over the next decade.
Visit us on Friday to be able to listen to our podcast that provides a lot of added perspectives on Amazon’s capabilities and future direction.
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