Coronavirus: Amazon To Hire 100,000 Staff

Amazon has responded to the Coronavirus pandemic with the news that it will to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the US.

The hiring spree is reportedly in response to a surge in online orders, as many consumers and households around the world enter self-isolation to minimise the spread of the virus.

This hiring spree is a rare bit of good news for the IT sector after the severe impact of the virus on tech companies. Indeed Covid-19 has dented supply chains, disrupted major tech events, closed down offices, and severely hurt sales of products such as smartphones.

Image credit: World Health Organisation

Amazon jobs

The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in many consumers turning to the web to meet their needs.

Traditional retail shops and supermarkets have experienced panic buying with shoppers clearing out shelves in fear of quarantines or product shortages.

This has posed a real challenge for retailers, struggling to keep food and hygienic items in stock and have staff for in-store work or delivery.

Earlier this week all the major supermarkets issued a joint statement, in which they urged shoppers to only buy the items they need.

Online deliveries have surged, and Amazon revealed its hiring spree in a blog post on the matter.

“As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can – delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them,” Amazon wrote.

“Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues,” it said. “We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year.”

“We are opening 100,000 new full and part-time positions across the US in our fulfillment centers and delivery network to meet the surge in demand from people relying on Amazon’s service during this stressful time, particularly those most vulnerable to being out in public,” it wrote.

“In addition to the additional 100,000 new roles we’re creating, we want to recognize our employees who are playing an essential role for people at a time when many of the services that might normally be there to support them are closed,” it added.

Pay rise

“In the US, we will be adding an additional $2 USD per hour worked through April from our current rate of $15/hour or more, depending on the region, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries,” Amazon said.

Amazon’s headcount fluctuates seasonally, recently peaking for the holiday season at 798,000 full and part-time workers.

Last week Amazon workers were told they would be able to take unlimited sick days in March.

That came after the World Health Organisation last week declared the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) a pandemic (it has previously been classified as an outbreak).

As of Tuesday 17 March 2020, the WHO reported that there are 184,077 Covid-19 cases globally, with 7,182 deaths.

So far 79,927 people have recovered.

China has the most cases, but Italy, Iran and Spain are also badly impacted.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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