Amazon suspends hiring of company employees

Amazon suspends hiring of company employees

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks during the GeekWire Summit in Seattle on October 5, 2021.

David Ryder | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon is pausing hiring for its corporate workforce, the company announced in a memo to employees on Thursday.

The company previously announced last month that it would freeze hiring for corporate roles at its retail store, but the latest update is impacting its other businesses.

Beth Galetti, Amazon’s chief human resources officer, wrote in the memo that the company has moved to further restrict hiring given the deteriorating economic outlook and after rapidly hiring in recent years.

“We expect this pause to be maintained over the next few months and will continue to monitor what we see in the economy and business to adjust as we see fit,” Galetti said.

Amazon will be recruiting to replace employees leaving for new opportunities, and it will continue to “phase-in” staff in certain positions, she added.

The retail giant went on a hiring spree during the Covid-19 pandemic to keep up with a pandemic-related surge in online shopping. Since then, headcount has slowly grown as consumers have returned to physical stores and the retail business is not growing as fast as it has in recent years.

CEO Andy Jassy has also aggressively cut spending across the company in recent months amid fears of a recession, rising inflation and rising interest rates. Amazon has cut storage space, halted some experimental projects, and shut down its telemedicine service.

In the third quarter, Amazon’s headcount grew just 5% year over year to 1.54 million employees worldwide. That’s after the company’s workforce shrank in the second quarter for the first time in years.

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

Here’s the full memo:

Given the uncertain economy and how many people we’ve hired over the last few years, Andy and the S-Team decided this week to take a break from hiring new people at our company. We have already done this in some of our stores over the past few weeks and have added our other stores to this approach. We expect this pause to remain in place for the next few months and will continue to monitor what we see in the economy and business to adjust as we deem appropriate. In general, depending on the business unit or division, we are hiring to replace employees transitioning to new roles, and there are a few targeted roles where we will continue to gradually hire.

We are facing an unusual macroeconomic environment and want to align our attitudes and investments by reflecting on this economy. This is not the first time in our history that we have faced uncertain and challenging economies. While we’ve had several years in which we’ve significantly increased our headcount, there have also been several years in which we’ve tightened our belts and reduced the number of people we hired. With fewer people to hire currently, this should give each team the opportunity to further prioritize and be more productive on what’s most important to customers and the business.

We still intend to hire a significant number of people in 2023 and continue to be excited about our significant investments in our larger businesses, as well as newer initiatives such as Prime Video, Alexa, Grocery, Kuiper, Zoox and Healthcare.

If you have any questions about how this hiring hiatus will affect your team for the next few months, please speak to your manager in the coming days.