Ahead of what is expected to be one of the busiest holiday seasons in history after ecommerce has exploded under COVID-19, Amazon ($AMZN) announced Monday that it would hire 100,000 new full-time and part-time employees in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the company’s headcount to just under one million total employees.
Amazon has gone on several hiring sprees so far this year, but this marks the largest increase in job listings so far. The company isn’t just ramping up its headcount - it’s expanding warehouses as well. MarketWatch reports that Amazon is planning to open an additional 1,500 warehouses in mostly suburban locations.
At present, Amazon’s overall job listing count sits at 27,500 open positions, down from a yearly high of 41,100 positions in March and down 4,000 year-over-year. There has been a notable decrease in software engineer hiring among all the FAANG companies in 2020 so far, with Amazon having one of the most significant decreases as of late July, down 29% year-over-year. Despite the decrease, Amazon was still hiring an approximate 6,640 engineers.
The announced 100,000-employee hiring spree will include employees along every step of the Amazon ladder, from warehouse workers to advertisers. Below, we’ve provided a detailed breakdown of Amazon’s hiring habits over the last year to get an indication of the company’s hiring priorities for this latest spree.
White Collar vs Blue Collar
As the holiday season ramps up, the need for ground-level, blue-collar workers is increasing for Amazon. Overall, the majority of Amazon’s current positions are for white-collar jobs such as Software Development, Sales & Advertising and IT, though the greatest increase in job listings has been for blue-collar jobs like Fulfillment & Warehouse Associates (Amazon calls many of its warehouses ‘Fulfillment Centers') and Loss Prevention specialists.
Despite making up the majority of Amazon’s job listings, white-collar job listings at the company are down 18% year-over-year and down 36% since January. The above two charts show a breakdown of changes in Amazon’s white-collar job hiring year-over-year, first by specific title and then overall.
Public Relations positions stand out as the only notable increase in white-collar listings over the last year, up 50%. This change may indicate a more focused effort by the tech giant to improve its image, which has faced criticism from major political candidates across the aisle, increased skepticism from consumers and even appeared in antitrust hearings earlier this summer.
As stated previously, the decrease is in line with hiring trends among all FAANG companies, which have slashed listings for software engineers and similar titles during COVID-19. As the pandemic took hold in the United States, Amazon struggled to meet the demand increased by the sudden surge in online shoppers. The need for more drivers and warehouse workers quickly became apparent, and Amazon began hiring to that effect.
Blue-collar job listings at Amazon are up nearly 39% year-over-year, but have remained relatively steady in the last 6 months. Every category has seen at least an 11% increase in the last year, with jobs in the Medical, Health & Safety categories having doubled. Investigation & Loss Prevention and Fullfillment & Operations Management - two positions that likely work directly in warehouses - have also increased significantly by 43% and 39% respectively.
In fact, as Amazon has increased hiring of ground-level, blue-collar workers, so too has their hiring of staff aimed at supporting those workers - and at communicating that they’re doing so, as seen by the above change in PR job listings.
However, also coinciding with this increase in blue-collar workers is an increase in hiring for positions aimed at union busting and preventing workers from organizing. Last month, a job listing on Amazon’s site for an “Intelligence Analyst” went viral for its job description, which characterized labor organization efforts as “threats against the company.”
While there are still approximately 13 job listings with the title “Intelligence Analyst” open at the company, that number is down from the yearly high of 32 listings. The decrease may be due to having hired for those positions, or simply reducing the number of open positions and changing the title of the job after last month’s backlash. A current job listing for an Intelligence Analyst on Amazon’s site is similarly focused on tracking negative movements against the company, but does not have the same language involving labor organization.
As the holiday season approaches, Amazon is growing to become larger than ever before while fighting off criticisms from government, labor groups and efforts from competitors like Walmart to challenge its place on the ecommerce throne. In the face of all this, the data around its hiring shows an effort to hire as many warehouse and blue-collar employees as it needs to meet increased demand, while also curbing labor organization movements and hiring PR to smooth over its image.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.