Amazon has yet another reason to flaunt its status as a retail trendsetter — the e-Commerce giant has plans to create an additional 100,000 full-time, full-benefit jobs in the U.S. over the next 18 months.
Amazon’s workforce has expanded tremendously within the last five years, growing from 30,000 employees in 2011 to more than 180,000 at the end of 2016. But while this six-fold growth seems overwhelming, the retailer’s decision to give all new job openings full benefits creates a precedent for the industry that will certainly be difficult to follow.
Amazon described the function of these jobs as anything from “engineers and software developers to those seeking entry-level positions and on-the-job training,” so even these lower level positions will give employees the same benefits that are given to senior executives.
Key benefits include:
Retirement savings plans;
Company stock options;
Leave Share, where employees share their Amazon paid leave with their spouse or domestic partner if their spouse’s employer doesn’t offer paid leave; and
Ramp Back, where new moms have additional control over the pace at which they return to work.
Many of the new roles will be in new fulfillment centers that are currently under construction in Texas, California, Florida, New Jersey and many other U.S. states.
Employee appreciation always has been a hot button issue within retail, as many employees often work unpredictable hours on late notice, work at or slightly above minimum wage and don’t receive a full benefits program. Amazon itself came under fire after an August 2015 New York Times article highlighted present and former employees’ negative experiences working for the company. But the online retailer has continued to thrive despite the accusations.
With this abundance of job openings and generosity of benefits, Amazon is certainly making itself more attractive as an employer. The pressure is on for the rest of the industry, particularly chief competitor Walmart, which is reportedly planning to cut as many as 1,000 corporate jobs before the end of January. While budget constraints often cause brands to choose between retaining employees and providing them benefits, Amazon has now successfully managed to balance both sides.
Since brands such as Costco and The Container Store are lauded for offering living wages and benefits, all while refraining from any layoffs, it is possible — albeit difficult — for retailers to offer all these perks. When it comes down to it, retailers must discover what part of their budgets they should prioritize so that their employees can provide a satisfying customer experience.