In a nutshell: Heading into Black Friday and Cyber Monday, many retailers have added staff to keep up with the buying frenzy. Some have increased staff more than others, but none have grown more than Amazon has. In less than one year, the company has hired more employees than any corporation in history, shattering Walmart's 20-year standing record.
While some businesses are struggling to stay afloat during lockdowns and others are suffering from Covid-related shortages, Amazon appears to be thriving. The online retailer has been on a hiring spree for the last ten months, adding more than 427,300 employees to its payroll, an average of 1,400 new hires per day.The vast majority of that staff was added after June.
Since July, the company added 350,000 employees at a rate of about 2,800 per day, bringing Amazon's total regular staff count to 1.2 million, a 50-percent increase from last year. This count also does not include the temporary and seasonal staff added for the holiday rush (over 100,000) and delivery drivers (500,000), which Amazon counts as independent contractors.
The coronavirus pandemic has at least partly fueled the hiring spree. The outbreak has led to nationwide job losses, and government mandates have pushed many consumers to shop online. Amazon says that a good portion of the hiring was "planned growth." Company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos sees the employment push as a blessing for many workers displaced since the start of the pandemic.
"Offering jobs with industry-leading pay and great health care, including to entry-level and frontline employees, is even more meaningful in a time like this," said Bezos.
The New York Times notes that this rapid growth far exceeds anything we have seen before. The last time a company experienced a hiring surge that even comes close was when Walmart hired 230,000 new staff in one year two decades ago. At its current growth rate, Amazon could surpass Walmart's 2.2 million employees in as little as two years, making it the world's largest employer.