Amazon Inc. is halting hiring in its core retail division through the end of the year, making it the latest big tech company to pull back on hiring as it contends with economic headwinds.
The company is pausing hiring for corporate roles that include tech positions in its retail business, a person familiar with the matter said. The company has posted thousands of openings in the segment in recent months. The New York Times earlier reported on the freeze.
Amazon is among the latest big tech companies to slow hiring or cut jobs. Meta Platforms Inc. is planning to cut expenses by at least 10% in part through staff reductions, The Journal reported last month. And Google parent Alphabet Inc. has required some employees to apply for new jobs if they wish to remain with the company. Snap Inc. has also had layoffs.
An Amazon spokesman said the company continues to have a significant number of open roles available. “We have many different businesses at various stages of evolution, and we expect to keep adjusting our hiring strategies in each of these businesses at various junctures,” the spokesman said.
Amazon’s freeze doesn’t include other parts of the company such as its highly profitable Amazon Web Services cloud computing division, or its massive warehousing operations, where it employs hundreds of thousands of blue collar workers. The company is planning to close job openings until next year, the person familiar with the matter said. Candidates who interviewed before Oct. 15 could receive offers, though they wouldn’t begin their jobs until next year, the person said.
Amazon’s decision to halt hiring in its primary retail business is happening as the retailer confronts slowing growth this year. The company in July reported slowing sales and a net loss for the second straight quarter, which was driven by weaker demand in its online store when compared with 2020 and 2021. Amazon saw a sharp rise in demand during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic but, as with other companies that flourished during the crisis it has seen decreased sales as shopping patterns return to pre-pandemic levels.
The company earlier this year started paring back hiring in some divisions while significantly cutting its hourly workforce. Last month, chief executive Andy Jassy said the company was slowing down the rate at which it is hiring new employees after the pandemic boom may have led to overexpansion. Amazon employed about 1.5 million people as of the second quarter, almost 100,000 less than the first quarter. Much of that reduction took place at its warehouses.
While it has had to contend with slower growth, Amazon is preparing for a second Prime member sales event that it will have this month and the coming holiday shopping season, the most important period of the year for its retail business.
The company last week announced that it would increase its average starting pay for front-line warehouse employees to more than $19 an hour from $18 as it looks to maintain enough head count to get through the busy season. The company has been adjusting its logistics network this year after it grew too quickly during the pandemic. It has called off or pushed back the openings of dozens of facilities, though it is now looking to ramp up to meet end-of-year demand.
Aside from the raises for hourly workers, the company recently invested $450 million to fund wage increases and other benefits for delivery drivers employed by members of its Delivery Service Partners network.