Amazon to add another 75,000 workers and offers $100 bonus for proof of vaccination

(Amazon Photo)

Amazon is hiring an additional 75,000 workers for its warehouse and logistics operations across the U.S. and Canada as the Seattle giant continues to grow at a whirlwind pace amid the pandemic.

The latest hiring spree amounts to an expansion of nearly 6% of Amazon’s 1.27 million employee workforce worldwide.

Amazon said Thursday that many of its new hires will get a “sign-on bonus” of up to $1,000. New hires who arrive on the job already vaccinated will get an additional $100 benefit, the company said.

The new open roles will pay an average starting wage of more than $17 an hour – more than $2 above Amazon’s usual starting wage of $15 an hour. The company last month said it was spending $1 billion on wage increases for its operations workers, promising raises of between 50 cents and $3 an hour to more than 500,000 employees.

On the company’s first quarter earnings call, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the wage increase was prompted partly by a recovering economy which is bringing increased competition for workers.

In 2020, the company increased its already vast warehouse footprint by 50% and grew its headcount by 500,000 workers to keep up with demand. The breakneck hiring spree amounts to one of the largest corporate expansions in U.S. history.

Amazon shed about 27,000 positions during this year’s first quarter, the largest quarter-over-quarter headcount decline in Amazon’s history. The company typically scales down its workforce following an annual fourth-quarter hiring boost of seasonal workers to get through the holiday shopping period.

Amazon’s profits from January to March more than tripled year-over-year to $8.1 billion. Profits over the last year exceed $26 billion, which is more than the previous three years combined, the Wall Street Journal noted.

Amazon has faced criticism in recent months about work conditions for its logistics workers following an unsuccessful unionization attempt at a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Following a fierce PR campaign to defeat the vote, which included a string of fiery tweets from Amazon executives insisting its warehouses are safe, CEO Jeff Bezos said in his annual letter to shareholders last month that Amazon “need(s) to do a better job for our employees.”

Amazon said 2,000 of the new positions will be located in Washington state.