- Amazon announced a $700 million investment to train its employees for the fastest-growing jobs of the future. The retail and tech giant pledged July 11 to prepare one in three of its U.S. workers for both high-tech and non-tech jobs by 2025.
- The company said its training program, Upskilling 2025, will include workers from across its corporate offices, fulfillment centers, retail stores, tech hubs and transportation network and will prepare them for highly skilled positions, whether internal or external. The initiative will invest in several programs, including: the Amazon Technical Academy for non-technical employees; Associate2Tech for fulfillment center associates, regardless of prior IT experience; Machine Learning University for employees with technical backgrounds; and Amazon Apprenticeship, a U.S. Department of Labor certified program offering paid intensive classroom training and an on-the-job apprenticeship.
- Based on labor statistics and Amazon’s hiring jobs analyses, the company’s fastest-growing, highly skilled occupations over the last five years are data mapping specialist (832% growth), data scientist (505%), solutions architect (454%), security engineer (229%) and business analyst (160%). Highly skilled roles in customer fulfillment have also increased 400%, the company said.
Employment experts predict that the least skilled workers, including a sizable number of women, could see their jobs eliminated by automation. And while some analysis suggests that automation will create more jobs than it replaces, HR personnel in the tech industry have some doubt whether this will prove true. Only 47% think tech will create more jobs than it will replace, and only 42% of tech company CEOs plan to upskill their employees in the next three years, a KPMG report revealed.
Bloomberg analysis noted that Amazon may effectively spend less than the average company on their training initiative, saying that the average organization spends $1,296 per employee annually, according to the Association for Talent Development, while Amazon's plan as outlined would average out to about $1,077 per employee annually. Amazon is also far from the only major employer to announce an extensive training program. Walmart recently expanded its multi-tier training opportunities for its employees, including a revamp of its degree program, and companies like Salesforce, Goodwill and ManpowerGroup all have training initiatives to provide workers with additional skills.
Generally, employers are putting more time and dollars in training and development as an investment in the workplace of the future, but also to bolster their recruiting, retention and engagement efforts, especially in a tight labor market. Employees are also on board; 74% of workers in a 2018 Randstad Workmonitor survey said they see digitalization as an opportunity for advancement.
In a statement provided by Amazon about the training program, Jason Tyszko, VP at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said, "The future of work is now and the challenge is not just adapting to new technologies, but adapting to the dynamism of the economy, which will only accelerate."