By Ryan Velez
Many are quick to point out that many of the woes major retailers are going through, including closing stores, declaring bankruptcy, and hiring workers, are due to the rise of online retailers like Amazon. However, if Amazon is getting all of this new business, what exactly are they doing with the profits? 9News sheds some insight on Amazon’s plans, which include adding 30,000 part-time jobs in the U.S. over the next year.
This huge hiring binge includes 5,000 jobs in Virtual Customer Service, which would allow employees to work as a customer service agent from home. The remaining jobs will be in Amazon warehouses. Any of the part-time employees who work 20 hours or more a week will also qualify for benefits.
“There are lots of people who want or need a flexible job — whether they’re a military spouse, a college student, or a parent — and we’re happy to empower these talented people no matter where they happen to live,” said Tom Weiland, Amazon’s vice president for worldwide customer service, in a statement. This part-time growth is also a smaller part of a larger jobs initiative being put forward by Amazon. In January, the company said it plans to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S. with full benefits over the next 18 months. The bulk of these include jobs at fulfillment centers and newer fields like cloud technology and machine learning.
This initiative is the tail end of a massive expansion in growth over the last few years. In 2011, Amazon had more than 56,000 full- and part-time employees. By the end of its 2016 fiscal year, that number grew to more than 341,000. As mentioned before, this has sent huge ripples through the retail industry, which hires 1 in 10 people in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. One indicator of the success is Amazon beating out Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube to become the online home of NFL’s Thursday Night games next season. This cost roughly five times the $50 million bid Twitter put up last year.
While these jobs may be a beacon of hope to many, there is some concern about the quality of life workers will be getting in said jobs. Amazon has been targeted by complaints about working conditions and low wages. In January, spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman defended the company culture to USA Today, saying they are “proud of the work environment and the culture we have.”