In brief: Amazon's business has benefitted from the pandemic, and now the company is scrambling to expand its workforce in response to the added demand from consumers. At the same time, current employees can take part in a program to gain technical skills before automation can replace their current jobs.
Amazon has added 175,000 jobs since the start of the pandemic, adapting to the pronounced shift of consumers relying more and more on online retail to purchase essential products as well as non-essential items like electronics, fast fashion, and beauty products.
Today, the retail giant revealed plans to hire an additional 100,000 people in the US and Canada to work in full-time and part-time jobs at "fulfilment centers, delivery stations, sortation centers, and other sites."
The move comes as the company is opening no less than 100 new operations buildings, which means it's expecting the current trend to continue, with more demand for fast deliveries of anything from groceries to appliances and beyond. The second quarter of this year saw revenues jump to $89 billion, while profit increased 40 percent compared to the first quarter to $5.2 billion.
At the end of June, Amazon's employee count reached 876,000 people, which doesn't take into account contractors and temporary workers. That said, the company is also automating tasks as much as possible "where appropriate, starting from a safety perspective."
Alicia Boler Davis, who was recently appointed Amazon's Senior Vice President of Global Customer Fulfilment, says the company isn't looking to reduce the number of jobs per warehouse, as it sees automated systems as a way to make its employees more productive.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced 33,000 openings for corporate and technology workers. The company is also investing $700 million to retrain up to 100,000 of its current employees to take on more technical jobs, all part of the Upskill 2025 program.