Amazon is well named: Its growth rivals what you see in a tropical rainforest. And right now, growth means hiring. Considering the recent news about Amazon’s hiring spree (with some 50,000 positions to fill, mostly at the new and bustling fulfillment centers), we thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at the types of jobs needed by the e-shopping giant.
Amazon’s primary industry (electronic shopping) has been on a striking trajectory over the past few years, adding some 130,000 new jobs (140% growth) since 2010. Even prior to the recession, we are still tracking pretty healthy growth.
When we get a bit closer, we see that Amazon is posting (not surprisingly) for lots of business operations and IT. It’s an online industry, after all; it needs its techies and marketing people. In particular, we see postings for software developers, marketing managers, IT project managers, computer systems engineers, and computer and information systems managers—positions typical of job postings from tech companies.
But Amazon offers a variety of others, too, including skilled-trade jobs, that don’t show up in job postings. According to the article, “Most of the jobs are full-time positions in packing, sorting and shipping and will count toward Amazon’s previously announced goal of adding 100,000 full-time workers by the middle of next year.”
These occupations, which account for 4.5 million jobs, are doing quite well across the nation–largely due to Amazon, we suspect. From 2010 to 2016, they grew by 16%, adding some 622,000 jobs to the economy. The national average hourly earnings is $14.12. (NOTE: Wages, of course, vary widely based on job title, experience, and region.)
Back in July, we wrote about the important connection between Amazon and the warehousing industry, a connection that explains what we are seeing with this hiring boom. Remember, in many ways, Amazon is as much a logistics company as it is a retail company. At its most basic level, it specializes in moving things from point A to point B. Folks who do all that moving are vital to the company’s growth. Amazon can expand only if it increases the number of logistics workers–like the ones actively recruited last week.
In the case of its fulfillment centers, Amazon doesn’t necessarily place all of its job postings on the web. Instead, it hosts career fairs (like last week’s) and interviews and hires people on the spot. If we were to look solely at job postings, we would likely miss the huge demand for these entry-level jobs.
Final point of interest on this. The August hiring activity is likely related to the massive season Amazon will have around Christmas. “It’s common for Amazon to ramp up its shipping center staff in August to prepare for holiday shopping,” according to the news article. However, “the magnitude of its current hiring spree underscores Amazon’s growth when traditional retailers are closing stores—and blaming Amazon for a shift to buying goods online.” In other words, it’s an interesting time (understatement) for retail. It’s fascinating to watch how the disruption created by Amazon reshapes shipping and logistics in our nation, and we will surely keep an eye on these trends.
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