Amazon freezes corporate hiring in its retail business

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Amazon is freezing corporate hiring in its retail business for the rest of the year, according to an internal announcement obtained by The New York Times, making it the latest company to pull out amid uncertainty economic.

The announcement, in an email to recruiters, said the company was suspending global hiring for all company positions, including technology positions, in its store operations, which cover retail operations. physical and online Amazon and its logistics operations. More than 10,000 openings were posted in this division, which accounts for the bulk of Amazon’s sales on Monday night.

The general freeze will not affect the company’s most profitable cloud computing division. Certain roles, such as student hiring and field positions, have been exempted from the break, the email says.

“Amazon continues to have a significant number of open positions available across the company,” Brad Glasser, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement. He said some parts of the business are more mature than others, “and we expect to continue to adjust our hiring strategies at each of these businesses at various times.”

The freezing of the country’s second-largest private employer is part of a broader cooling in the labor market, or at least another sign that it is no longer boiling.

On Tuesday, the Labor Department released data showing that while many parts of the labor market remained strong, employers were slowing the number of positions they sought to fill. About 10.1 million jobs were open in August, compared to 11.2 million in July. Federal Reserve officials have hoped that rising interest rates could lower inflation by reducing hiring — and with it wage pressure — without requiring widespread layoffs.

After a frenzied period of hiring bonuses, raises and shortages, employers are finding it a little less competitive to attract and retain workers. Layoffs rose slightly to 1.5 million in August, according to new data from the Labor Department, but remained below their historical average.

Layoffs and slowdowns in hiring have affected a large swath of the tech industry in recent months. That includes startups as well as publicly traded companies like Peloton and Shopify, which announced in late July that it would lay off 10% of its workforce after incorrectly predicting the boom in e-commerce as the pandemic recedes.

Large companies have not been spared either. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, told employees last week that it was freezing hiring for most positions.

For retailers, the economy is moving at a critical time as they head into the all-important holiday shopping season. Many, including Amazon, are hoping the season will start early as customers search for deals and announced October sale days. Amazon’s new Prime Early Access sale is next week.

Many pointed to a painful period ahead, with rising costs and inventories as consumers cut discretionary spending amid high inflation.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said it will hire fewer hourly workers for the holiday season this year. FedEx, which competes with Amazon to deliver packages to customers, said last month it was freezing hiring, closing stores and parking planes because demand was below its forecast.

Amazon told recruiters to tell applicants it was not in a hiring freeze, although it added that all open job applications are expected to close in the coming days. He said new openings will be available early next year.

Candidates with interviews scheduled before October 15 could still receive offers, but they wouldn’t start at Amazon until next year. The email recommended that phone calls to screen candidates and other early recruiting activities be cancelled.

Amazon’s listings show it is still hiring warehouse workers, which it regularly needs due to high turnover. It recently said it was raising wages at its warehouses by about $1 an hour on average and has yet to announce whether it will hire seasonal associates for the peak holiday season.

Under Andy Jassy, ​​who took over as CEO just over a year ago, Amazon has cut spending as it seeks to cut costs amid its weakest growth in two decades.

Jassy recently told investors that the company has focused on cost control and efficiency in its warehouse and logistics operations. Amazon’s footprint has grown rapidly in recent years, and during the pandemic the company has embarked on a hiring spree unprecedented in corporate American history. This year, it has slowed the once rapid expansion of its warehouse, closing facilities, canceling leases and mothballing some new buildings.

The company employed 1.52 million people in the second quarter, nearly 100,000 less than at the end of March, mainly due to reductions in its hourly workforce.

The corporate hiring freeze is the latest sign that cost containment measures are also hitting Amazon’s core retail and technology teams. After announcing plans to acquire One Medical, a chain of primary care clinics, it shut down its own primary care business, telling officials in Washington state, where Amazon is based, the move could result in 159 dismissals.

In recent years, Amazon has held a Career Day in September, during which it recruited for tens of thousands of salaried positions. Last year, he received over a million job applications. But he did not host the event this year.

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