Amazon pauses new corporate hires

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon is halting most new corporate hires.

Amazon is confirming reports that it putting corporate hiring on hiatus.

Following similar actions in other areas of its business in recent weeks, the e-tail giant has decided to pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce for the next few months. Amazon says that in some cases, it will hire backfills to replace employees who move on to new opportunities, and in some targeted places it will continue to hire people incrementally.

“We’re facing an unusual macro-economic environment, and want to balance our hiring and investments with being thoughtful about this economy,” Beth Galetti, senior VP of people, experience and technology at Amazon, said in a note originally released to Amazon employees. “This is not the first time that we’ve faced uncertain and challenging economies in our past. While we have had several years where we’ve expanded our headcount broadly, there have also been several years where we’ve tightened our belt and were more streamlined in how many people we added."

Amazon says it still intends to hire a “meaningful number of people” in 2023, and remain excited about its “significant investments” in its larger businesses, as well as newer initiatives like Prime Video, Alexa, grocery, Kuiper (satellites), Zoox (autonomous vehicles), and healthcare.

Media reports initially indicated Amazon would temporarily halt new corporate hiring in early October. Amazon also reportedly told its recruiters to pause some of their activities involving retail business candidates, such as screening them with phone calls.

Amazon went on a major hiring spree in Sept. 2021, when the e-tailer was still achieving record-breaking results from increased online shopping by consumers homebound due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the company, more than 1 million people globally applied for 40,000 corporate and technology roles across 220-plus locations in the U.S., as well as tens of thousands of hourly positions in its operations network, during its 24-hour Career Day virtual hiring event on Sep. 15, 2021.

Amazon hired more than 450,000 people in the U.S. between the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020 and September 2021, becoming the largest job creator in the U.S. in the process. In 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon says it hired over 400,000 employees in the U.S.—of which, more than 60% were getting paid more than they were at their previous job.

[Read more: Amazon in hiring blitz; giving bonus to hires who show proof of vaccination]

However, the company reported a net loss of $2 billion, or $0.20 per share, for the second quarter ended June 30, 2022, compared with net income of $7.8 billion, or $0.76 per diluted share, in the year-earlier period. Net revenue did surpass analyst projections.

During the second quarter, Amazon reduced its headcount by about 100,000 employees, and CEO Andy Jassy said the company would scale back operations as the sales boom it experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic cools.Amazon also posted a net loss in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, with analysts expecting profit, and essentially met revenue expectations.

Amazon cuts back on supply chain spending
Amazon is also reportedly downscaling its physical delivery infrastructure. Recent Bloomberg reports indicate that consulting firm MWPVL International Inc. estimates that Amazon has either closed down or decided not to open 42 U.S. warehouses with a combined space of close to 25 million square feet.

MWPVL also says that Amazon is delaying the opening of another 21 U.S. supply chain facilities representing almost 28 million square feet of combined space, and has canceled the opening of some warehouses in Europe, mostly concentrated in Spain. Amazon recently informed Maryland state officials it will close two delivery stations that employ 300 workers in the Baltimore area in October 2022, Bloomberg reports.