The average starting wage for its workers in the United States has been increased by Amazon.com Inc with payment now of more than $18 an hour. The company also plans to recruit an additional 125,000 to work in its warehouse and transportation departments, said a Reuters report quoting an executive of the company.
Since May this year, minimum hourly pay has been raised from around $17 by the largest online retailer of the world. According to Dave Bozeman, vice president of Amazon Delivery Services, the company is also offering signing bonuses of $3,000 to employees in some locations which is about three times what the company offered just four months ago.
The shortage of workers in the US has made big employers desperate to draw workers which is shown clearly by the rise in pay and perks by Amazon. With the American economy reopening, job openings are hitting a record while fewer Americans are filing for jobless benefits.
Fierce competition for workers was the main reason for the latest pay hike by Amazon, according to Bozeman. While no exact figures were provided by Amazon, a 6 per cent hike in pay is denoted by a $1 raise on a $17-per-hour wage.
In 2018, a minimum hourly wage of $15 was set by Amazon, which now is the second largest private employer in the US. In recent times, minimum average hourly wages of $16.40 was touted by Walmart Inc, while in October announcement of raising its minimum to $15 was made by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.
“It’s a tight labor market, and we’ve seen some of that as the entire industry is seeing,” explained Bozeman, who spoke in an interview at a delivery station in Tukwila, Washington.
Amazon would maintain its $15 an hour base pay, he said but added that the company was distinguishable from its peers because of additional benefits for workers such as funding college tuition for workers and starting wages as high as $22.50 an hour in some areas.
Amazon is set to launch 100 logistics facilities this month in the US and it is hiring workers to help run those, in addition to the more than 250 logistics units that it had opened earlier this year. Some workers will aid in Amazon’s long-in-the-works effort to roll out one-day delivery for Prime loyalty club members.
“The 125,000 (warehouse workers) is really to help us keep up with our growth,” said Bozeman. Just a minority of new planned hiring were to address attrition, he added.
The positions currently vacant, both full and part-time, will be filled as quickly as possible, Amazon said, but did not provide any timeline.
(Adapted from Reuters.com)