- Amazon hired 5,000 new associates for fulfillment center positions in June, in a ramp up to Prime Day next week and back-to-school season, a spokesperson for Amazon told Supply Chain Dive. Yahoo Finance first reported the news.
- The June hiring figures are higher than usual, and job posts for Amazon warehouse employees tripled from January to June, according to Yahoo Finance.
- The company wants to fill an additional 15,000 full-time roles by the end of the summer, the spokesperson said, but did not specify if all of these positions would be in fulfillment centers.
A hiring ramp-up ahead of peak season is a tactic retailers and 3PLs often employ to cope with an anticipated spike in sales and shipment volumes. Last year, UPS said it planned to hire 100,000 seasonal employees (a 5% increase over previous years), and FedEx planned to hire 55,000 workers and extend the working hours of some existing staff.
A hiring spree this early in the year, however, indicates Amazon is banking on Prime Day to act as a peak season of its own. On last year's Prime Day, sales surpassed Cyber Monday and Black Friday, according to Amazon. Prime Day also acts as the unofficial start of back-to-school, the second largest shopping season of the year. Amazon's annual event is among the top three times for school shopping. Amazon has not disclosed exactly how much it expects to sell this Prime Day.
Hiring enough workers to accommodate increased sales volumes can be a challenge. The warehouse labor market in particular struggles to recruit and retain talent, often due to a lack of loyalty between employees and employers.
A spokesperson described Amazon's ability to hire 5,000 associates in a tight labor market as a testament to its "competitive wages [and] quality work environments." Last year, the company raised the minimum wage to $15 per hour for all U.S. employees. Its overall headcount grew 14% in 2018, CFO Brian Olsavsky said on the company's Q1 earnings call in April.
In addition to labor, Amazon has added robotics to its facilities to increase efficiency, although the company is at least 10 years away from automating some functions, such as picking.
Amazon faces the additional challenge of one-day shipping for orders placed during the 48-hour Prime Day event. The company previously told Supply Chain Dive its transition to one-day shipping doesn't require any changes in its fulfillment centers.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the length of the Prime Day sale.