Thousands of Americans lined up early on Wednesday morning at several of Amazon’s warehouses hoping to get a job in the company.
Amazon’s national Jobs Day, which aims to hire 50,000 workers within a four-hour time frame at 12 fulfilment centre locations ranging from Washington State to Tennessee, is part of Amazon’s pledge to hire 130,000 workers by 2018.
The possibility of an hourly position drew thousands of people to Amazon’s warehouse, where they started lining up at 4 a.m. and waited hours in rows that slowly crawled through the sprawling parking lot on a blistering hot day.
Since these were warehouse jobs the interviews were required to happen in person. These jobs require candidates to fulfil certain physical requirements including being able “to lift up to 49 pounds with or without reasonable accommodation, stand/walk for up to 10-12 hours, and be able to frequently push, pull, squat, bend, and reach.”
Currently Amazon is recruiting thousands of people with engineering and business degrees for high-paying jobs. But the vast majority of its hiring is of people who pick and pack orders in warehouses and unload and drive delivery trucks, and who take home considerably smaller incomes.
The hourly wage for this kind of a job is under $12 without any additional benefits. The wages for the positions advertised by Amazon ranged from $12 an hour to $15 an hour along with the medical and disability benefit.
In addition to this the company also has a program called Career Choice that pays tuition costs for employees seeking training to join higher-paid professions, like airline mechanics, medical lab workers and computer-aided design technicians.
“We are excited to be creating great jobs that offer highly competitive wages, benefits starting on day one and the choice for employees to go back to school,” John Olsen, a human resources vice president at Amazon, said in a statement. “These are great opportunities with runway for advancement.”
Amazon now has more than 382,000 employees globally. In January, it vowed to create 100,000 jobs over the next 18 months in the United States. If Amazon does hire 50,000 people this month, labour economists say that could be enough to make a meaningful impact on the country’s August employment numbers. The U.S. economy has been adding 100,000 to 200,000 jobs each month.