Amazon pauses hiring for corporate workforce

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks at the GeekWire conference in Seattle on Oct. 5, 2021.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon is suspending operations at its companies, the company announced in a memo to employees on Thursday.

The company had already announced last month that it would end layoffs in its retail business, but the latest changes affect its other businesses.

Amazon’s HR chief Beth Galetti wrote in a memo that the company had begun to hold back on new hires amid the economic crisis and after having worked hard in recent years.

“We expect to put this on hold for the next several months, and we will continue to evaluate our economic and business environment to make changes that we think make sense,” Galetti said.

Amazon will restore positions to replace employees who leave for new opportunities, and will continue to “hire more people” in other targeted areas, he added.

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The giant started lending to people during the Covid-19 pandemic as it wanted to keep up with the epidemic of online shopping. Since then, it has moved slowly in population growth as consumers return to retail stores, and its retail sales are not growing as fast as they have in recent years.

CEO Andy Jassy has also scaled back the company’s investment in recent months amid fears of a recession, rising costs and rising interest rates. Amazon has shut down warehouses, halted some pilot projects, and shuttered its telehealth services.

In the third quarter, Amazon’s headcount rose 5% year over year to 1.54 million employees worldwide. This is where the company’s workers contracted for the first time in the second half of the year.

Amazon says it employs about 75,000 people in the Seattle area, including its corporate offices there. It also has operations in Virginia, Tennessee, Silicon Valley and New York.

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Here is the full memo:

With the economy not doing well and due to the number of people we’ve hired over the last few years, Andy and the S-team decided this week to take a break from new jobs in our industry. We have already done it in several of our businesses in recent weeks and we have added some of our businesses in this way. We expect to be on hold for the next several months, and will continue to evaluate our financial and business environment for changes that we believe make sense. In many cases, depending on the business or region of the company, we will hire temporary staff to replace employees who leave for new opportunities, and there are other areas where we may continue to hire more people.

We are facing a great economic climate, and we want to balance our finances and think about this economy. This is not the first time we have faced uncertain and difficult economic conditions in the past. While we’ve had a number of years where we’ve added a lot of people, there’s also been a few years where we’ve tightened our belt and managed the number of people we’ve added. With fewer people to hire at the moment, this should give each team the opportunity to prioritize what is most important to the customer and the business, and be successful.

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We still want to hire more people in 2023, and remain excited about the investments we’ve made in our core businesses, as well as new startups like Prime Video, Alexa, Grocery, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare.

If you have any questions about how the extended layoff over the next few months will affect your team, please speak to your manager in the coming days.



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