• Retail Dive

Amazon pushes average hourly pay above $18 to lure 125K new fulfillment, transportation employees

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon on Tuesday said it is working to hire 125,000 fulfillment and transportation employees and has increased its starting pay in some areas; the average starting hourly wage for those roles tops $18, reaching $22.50 in certain places.

  • While the hiring is underway, the e-commerce giant on Wednesday will host a career day and is taking applications online, according to a company press release.

  • Depending on where they are, candidates could receive signing bonuses up to $3,000, plus benefits, paid tuition and "access to training programs that make these roles a springboard into a long-term career," per the release.

Dive Insight:

Last year, retailers added more than 736,000 jobs for the holidays, 10% more than the previous year and the most since 2014, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, citing Labor Department statistics.

"With just a few short weeks from the start of the holiday shopping season, retailers are announcing permanent hiring plans rather than seasonal ones," Andrew Challenger, senior vice president at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in emailed comments.

E-commerce growth has caused employment in transportation and warehousing to "explode" over the last five years, and last year that sector added a record 493,000 jobs in October through December 2020, the firm said. In its release Tuesday, Amazon said that this year it's opened more than 250 new fulfillment centers, sortation centers, regional air hubs and delivery stations in the U.S., and will open more than 100 buildings this month alone. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Amazon has hired more than 450,000 in the U.S., the company also said.

But when it comes to their permanent workforces, retailers haven't returned to their pre-pandemic levels, Challenger said. That's in part because it's been difficult to find workers.

While some officials say that government relief checks are stymying hiring efforts, Andrew Challenger said that looks to be only part of the picture.

"[M]yriad other issues could keep them from filling these roles, such as COVID concerns, vaccination statuses, child care issues, and burnout," Challenger said.

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