Update: This story was updated to include additional information about hires in Boston.
- Amazon will hire 2,000 technology workers and lease a large office space in Boston's Seaport District, the company said Tuesday. Those hires are in addition to 200 tech workers in Minneapolis, the hometown of Target and Best Buy, according to a report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Minneapolis office focuses on transportation technology and delivery-related services, but will also be hiring cloud computing engineers for its Amazon Web Services division, the Star Tribune said.
- Additionally, the online giant announced plans Monday for a new 416,000 square foot office in Vancouver, Canada, adding 3,000 employees in areas such as e-commerce, cloud computing and machine learning, according to an Amazon Canada release.
- This continues the stunning hiring growth from last year when Amazon increased its employee ranks by 77% from June to September, rising to 541,900 people from 306,800 one year earlier, according to Business Insider. Last year, the acquisition of Whole Foods Market meant 90,000 more employees, while a new robotics-oriented fulfillment center in Kansas City, Kansas, brought 2,000 more jobs in its 850,000 square foot space, said the Kansas City Star. Sometime this year, Amazon is expected to announce the location of its second headquarters.
Amazon’s growth is nothing short of breathtaking. Although the company recently reported the layoffs of "several hundreds" of corporate employees, its growth in technology workers alone will soon be in the several thousands.
This follows — or perhaps the word 'leads' is more appropriate — a trend of retailers subtracting workers in traditional jobs and adding technology and engineering specialists. A recent study by LinkedIn showed the number of people identifying as retail associates in their profiles is down while software developer is the fastest growing job in retail. Walmart is cutting 1,000 corporate jobs, but adding more than 500 tech workers. Walgreens has said it is adding 300 tech jobs. Home Depot is planning to add more than 1,000 additional technology employees this year.
Where these highly skilled tech professionals will come from is another story. There is a general perception that the U.S. has a shortage of technology workers, although some have said the fears of a technology labor crisis are exaggerated. It’s clear though that these major retailers could be attracting a significant number of the best and brightest tech stars in the near-term future.
As technology infiltrates every aspect of retail businesses, it is perhaps unsurprising to see so many retailers focusing significant hiring efforts on those pieces of the business. The broader trend at work in the industry towards more tech hires than traditional retail roles extends to major traditional retailers, but experts note that Amazon is more tech company than retailer in many ways, meaning its tech-forward hiring efforts should likely be considered in light of its unique universe.