Amazon expands its workforce


Numbers around Amazon are often large, and the most recent announcement is no exception. Yesterday (September 14) the e-retailer announced that it would create “100,000 regular employment opportunities throughout the US and Canada”. These are all “full-time and part-time jobs in its fulfilment and logistics” and will pay at least $15 an hour plus benefits.

The driver behind this employment growth is the expansion in cross-docks and local fulfilment centres that Amazon has embarked on over the past year, with the company opening “100 buildings this month alone across new fulfilment and sortation centres, delivery stations, and other sites,” as part of the “75 new fulfilment, sortation centres, regional air hubs, and delivery stations in the US and Canada in 2020”.

This came after Amazon announced a further 33,000 “Corporate and Technology jobs” last week. It also announced that it is expanding its operations in the UK, increasing its workforce by a third to 40,000 permanent staff, including technical jobs. The company said that that it would recruit a further 20,000 temporary staff in the run-up to Christmas. This is in support of a large expansion in infrastructure in the UK, including three new “state-of-the-art fulfilment centres in Darlington, Durham and Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, each fitted with advanced Amazon Robotics technology and each creating more than 1,000 new permanent roles”.

The UK is an important market for Amazon’s business outside the US as the country has an advanced e-retail sector. Amazon is Britain’s fourth-largest retailer although it probably faces stronger competitors than in most other economies.

The scale of employment expansion is remarkable, but it reflects an as great expansion in logistics capacity at Amazon. At 600,000 employees the company is rivalled only by UPS, FedEx and DP-DHL as a logistics provider. The past six months have fundamentally changed the nature of retailing in most of the developed world and therefore Amazon’s logistics capabilities ought now to be seen as central to retail logistics rather than an exotic fringe as it might have been viewed a couple of years ago. Of course, how much larger Amazon can become is a good question which is hard to answer in the long run, however, its huge growth is unlikely to halt or even slowdown in the short term.

Source: Transport Intelligence, September 15, 2020

Author: Thomas Cullen