Amazon has 37,000 job listings—maybe its most ever—across the globe

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At one point last week, Amazon had about 37,200 job listings around the world.

That's the most listings the Seattle company has posted on its career site in at least 15 months, a company spokesperson said—and may be the most ever, though a system update prevents easy comparisons to earlier periods.

Amazon is seeking everyone from hourly warehouse workers to top-paid machine-learning experts, underscoring the breadth and scope of the company's operations and ambition. The listings provide a rough map of Amazon's near-term growth priorities across businesses and geographies.

Amazon's ongoing hiring follows a year when its global workforce grew by 150,500 people, or more than 23%. It finished 2019 with 798,000 full- and part-time employees, not including contractors.

In the United States, where the company has more than 500,000 employees, continued hiring comes against a national backdrop of strong demand for labor. Nationwide, open positions outnumber , but openings fell to a still-strong 6.4 million at the end of 2019, down nearly 15% from a year earlier and the second consecutive month of declines, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Amazon's labor needs, particularly for in-demand technology professionals, can boggle the mind. The company had more than 10,600 jobs listings in software development, the largest single category, with an additional 7,400 listings in adjacent roles such as IT engineering and data science. (Job listings are added, updated and filled on a minute-by-minute basis. The job listings in this story reflect openings at 2:03 p.m. on Feb. 11, to be precise. By 2:42 p.m., the number of listings had increased by 54.)

Amazon was seeking to fill more than 4,500 project- or program-management roles. It had nearly 2,050 openings in sales, advertising and account management. There were nearly 1,800 listings in fulfillment and operations management. More than 1,600 were listed in human resources, including for recruiters whose job would be recruiting more recruiters.

"I don't think most people, even people who have worked at a large, behemoth corporation like I did at AT&T, can even fathom the idea of having that many open professional positions at one time," said Brent Heslop, who now heads the business-transformation practice in the Seattle office of consulting firm Mercer.

Amazon's main headquarters city, where it already has more than 50,000 employees, remains the location of the plurality of job listings, and by a large margin. There were nearly 11,500 openings listed in Seattle.

The No. 2 city was Bangalore, India, with 1,430 job listings at the time of the Feb. 11 snapshot. Vancouver, British Columbia, had 973 listings, followed by London (906). Arlington, Va., where Amazon is building its second headquarters, had 517 openings, while nearby Herndon, Va., had 898. New York City, the abandoned HQ2 locale, is still a growing Amazon hub. It had 864 job listings.

Bellevue, Wash., where Amazon intends to grow to 15,000 employees in the next few years, had more than 700 openings.

The in King County was 2.1% in December, not adjusting for seasonal trends. That's the lowest level measured going back to 1990, when the Washington Employment Security Department began tracking local area unemployment the way it does now, said Anneliese Vance-Sherman, regional labor economist with the state agency.

An unemployment rate that low can be challenging for many businesses, which may struggle to attract or retain as many workers as they need. "Workers have choices," she said. "There's a lot of demand from other businesses."

But it's a tale of two job markets in the Seattle area. For tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft, and their Silicon Valley-based competitors with large and growing offices in the region, the low local unemployment rate is less of a concern.

"Scale matters," Vance-Sherman said. "They are able to draw from Boston, New York, San Francisco, Mumbai, Beijing. They aren't as constrained in a manner of speaking because they're not exclusively drawing from the local labor market."

Heslop said the brand cachet and competitive compensation offered by major tech employers help them find applicants, even in a tight labor market.

"My assumption is that Amazon doesn't have to work as hard to source or attract candidates as the rest of us do," he said.

Pay at Amazon starts at a minimum of $15 an hour, the wage floor it instituted for U.S. workers in 2018, and goes up to $160,000 a year for even very senior employees with only a few exceptions, though stock awards boost total compensation far higher. Median pay in the United States during 2018 was about $35,100, the company reported in its most recent proxy statement.

The wide range in compensation underscores the broad array of businesses and roles within Amazon.

Its lucrative and fast-growing cloud-computing business, Amazon Web Services, accounted for 13,000 openings, or more than a third of all the postings. The next closest category was Amazon's retail business, which had 2,790 openings for roles including a data scientist in Seattle to help automate research into the complexities of Amazon's economy and a to support a team in Shenzhen, China, sourcing products for Amazon's growing private-brands business.

Along with nearly 2,000 listings in fulfillment and operations, Amazon's sprawling logistics business, the company had 1,740 listings in operations technology. Roles included a New York-based workers-compensation-claims analyst to support efforts to reduce accidents and injuries among Amazon's third-party delivery partners and an engineer in Bellevue to evaluate battery and electric vehicles technologies to be used in its delivery operations.

Amazon Alexa, the company's voice computing system, had 1,820 job listings. Amazon Devices, which makes Kindle readers, Echo Dot microphones and speakers, and Fire tablets and streaming media players, had 1,720 listings.

Analyzing the job listings doesn't reveal the whole story of the company's voracious appetite for new workers. Some job listings, particularly for hourly positions in warehousing and logistics, where the majority of Amazon's employees work, advertise multiple openings. Others tout upcoming hiring fairs, like the ones Amazon held in Seattle and five other U.S. cities last fall as part of a push to fill 30,000 positions nationwide.

©2020 The Seattle Times
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