NEW YORK (AP) Amazon, which needs a more technology-savvy workforce, is offering to pay to retrain its employees and help them move to more technical jobs at Amazon or elsewhere.
The online shopping giant announced on Thursday that it planned to spend $ 700 million by 2025 to recycle 100,000 workers, a third of its American workforce. This happens during a tight labor market, where it is increasingly difficult for employers to find and keep workers. At the same time, advances in technology and robotics mean that some workers do not have the skills needed for new jobs.
The investment could also help Amazon.com Inc. tame the criticism of groups of workers and some politicians, including presidential candidates, who have reported poor working conditions in Amazon warehouses where its orders are packaged and shipped. Workers at a Minnesota factory plan to strike next week during the company's "Prime Day" shopping vacation, pushing Amazon to get higher pay and better terms. Late last year, Amazon raised the minimum wage of all its American workers to at least $ 15 an hour.
Most in-house training will be free for Amazon employees, the company said. It will offer several programs, depending on skills and level of employment. A warehouse employee without a university degree, for example, could be trained to become a computer technician who keeps computers and scanners in a warehouse running smoothly. More highly skilled workers, such as those at Seattle headquarters, could take software engineering courses that could help them change careers at Amazon or another company.
"While many of our employees want to build their careers here, this could be a stepping stone to different aspirations," said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of human resources at Amazon. "We think it's important to invest in our employees and help them acquire new skills and create more professional options."
Large retailers like Walmart and Target have increased their salaries and training to attract and retain their employees and offer customers a better in-store experience. While customers are less likely to meet an Amazon employee, the company said having more skilled talent can help it invent more products and make shopping more convenient for customers. Her vocal assistant Alexa, for example, was a success for the company, allowing customers to order paper towels or play a song while talking to a voice-activated speaker.
Amazon announced Thursday that she hoped to reach 300,000 people this year. Globally, it employs more than 630,000 people, making it the second largest private employer in the United States after Walmart.
Amazon, using its own employment data, said that its fastest growing skilled jobs positions over the past five years include data mapping, data science, engineering, and more. security and business analysis. There is also a strong demand for skilled logistics and transportation workers.
AP Business magazine editor Michelle Chapman in Newark also contributed to this story.