Amazon commits to hiring 100,000 U.S. workers

Analyst credits online shopping trend and hails cloud and machine-learning jobs

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Martyn Williams

Over the next 18 months, Amazon expects to add 100,000 full-time jobs in the U.S.

While many of the jobs will be in warehouses, Amazon said the company will be looking for engineers and software developers in such areas as cloud computing and machine learning.

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“Innovation is one of our guiding principles at Amazon, and it’s created hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, in a statement. “These jobs are not just in our Seattle headquarters or in Silicon Valley. They’re in our customer service network, fulfillment centers and other facilities in local communities throughout the country.”

Bezos was among a group of technology company executives who met with President-elect Donald Trump in December. Trump made job creation a key point in his presidential campaign and criticized U.S. companies that outsourced jobs to other countries.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has expanding its workforce as the business has grown with customers around the world increasingly do their buying online. Over the past five years, Amazon has created more than 150,000 jobs in the U.S., Bezos said, increasing its U.S. workforce from 30,000 employees in 2011 to more than 180,000 at the end of last year.

“Obviously it’s a great sign. It’s always good for the economy when we hear companies are going to create permanent positions,” said Andrew Challenger, vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a placement firm, in an interview with Computerworld. “We always expected that more and more shopping was going online but now it’s really coming to fruition.”

Challenger noted that while most of the company's new hires will be in warehouses, it's a positive sign to see Amazon adding workers in areas like cloud computing and machine learning.

“Those are really high-quality jobs," Challenger said. "We’re always glad to see companies adding those positions. It’s not a surprise since Amazon is a cloud leader. We’d expect them to spend a lot of money on it.”

According to Amazon, many of the new hires will be made in the company’s new fulfillment centers, some of which are still under construction. That means new jobs in Texas, California, Florida and New Jersey.

The company, which said it already employs more than 10,000 military veterans, announced in 2016 that it plans to hire another 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.

Amazon also committed to training 10,000 active duty service members, spouses and veterans in cloud computing.

While much attention is being given to companies committing to hiring since Trump became president elect, Challenger said he thinks Amazon’s decision to hire another 100,000 people has been in the works for some time.

“Certainly it’s not a spur of the moment decision to hire 100,000 people,” he added. “It’s a huge capital commitment. It’s probably been in the works, but certainly we’re seeing companies announcing hirings because it’s getting good press. The president-elect will probably tweet about it and maybe take credit for it ,but it will get the company name out there.”

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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