- Amazon said its second headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, will create 400 jobs in 2019 and 25,000 jobs during the next 10 years and beyond, according to an Amazon blog post. The company has posted job openings for HR and finance professionals to begin hiring a diverse workforce to staff a "a unique, sustainable, and urban campus for our employees and the local community."
- The company has partnered with Virginia residents, teachers and state and local experts to determine "how to increase the talent available in this region to make Virginia an even more attractive destination for innovators large and small," the blog post said. The post outlined Amazon's skills development programs, including a technical apprenticeship program that provides both classroom and hands-on technical training for transitioning veterans, and Career Choice, an upskilling program that prepares hourly workers for careers at Amazon or wherever they choose.
- The company will fund and introduce AP computer science classes to 27 schools in Virginia as part of its Amazon Future Engineer program, the post said. Amazon also will promote literacy programs and robotics clubs within the Commonwealth, it noted.
Amazon — like most big tech companies working today — recognizes the necessity of building a diverse, well-trained workforce, hiring top tech professionals and supporting under-served communities. The proposed investments in computer science classes are a classic example of an employer committing to build sustainable talent pools for in-demand skills.
But not all of the tech giant's initiatives have been without controversy. The company's recent announcement of one-day Prime shipping, which would speed up its current two-day free delivery service, drew criticism from the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union regarding the workload that swift shipping may place on employees. That was not the company's first brush with criticism for such behavior. In April 2018, reports surfaced revealing warehouse workers resorted to urinating bottles to maintain productivity. The Verge recently wrote of "productivity firings" occurring at Amazon warehouses. And when the company raised its minimum wage, it took away stock options and bonuses, although it gave some workers additional pay bumps to make up for those losses.
Employers looking to hire good talent will need to consider their reputation as they scout potential employees. Employers that prioritize the need to fill positions, meet sales goals and satisfy customer demands over the well-being of their workers risk damaging their brand, which, in turn, damages the success of their recruiting.