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Amazon Offers Pay Hikes, Vaccination Bonus in Hiring 75,000

Already 1.3 million employees strong, Amazon will hire another 75,000 people within its fulfillment and logistics network across the U.S. and Canada, and this time it is offering new financial incentives.

New hires will receive average starting pay of over $17 per hour, $2 more than Amazon’s current hourly minimum wage of $15. In an April blog post, Darcie Henry, Amazon’s vice president of people experience and technology, worldwide consumer, wrote that the e-commerce giant would raise the hourly pay of more than 500,000 current employees between at least 50 cents and $3 an hour. The investment tallies over $1 billion in incremental pay.

Across “many” locations—Amazon did not specify which—new hires will get signing bonuses of up to $1,000.

On top of that, those who are already vaccinated for Covid-19 will receive a $100 bonus.

States with the most open roles include Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.

Last year, after the pandemic spread and Amazon needed to fulfill rising e-commerce demands, the company hired nearly 400,000 employees in total.

Amazon is also hiring for the second phase of development at its Arlington, Va., headquarters known as “HQ2.” The tech titan is bringing in 1,900 new employees for a variety of technical and non-tech jobs—a record high for the location. Currently, more than 1,600 corporate Amazon employees are based out of HQ2, with the surrounding area anticipated to result in 25,000 Amazon jobs over the next decade.

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As Jeff Bezos steps down as CEO to transition into the executive chair role, he has has been vocal about dedicating his next step to making Amazon “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”

Bezos’ mission comes as Amazon has taken heat from critics for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and working conditions, and has been embroiled in ongoing lawsuits related to wrongful termination, employee treatment and alleged discrimination. After a highly public unionization vote for employees at a Bessemer, Ala., warehouse ultimately failed, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that Amazon interfered in what was billed as a “free and fair election.”

Earlier this month, Amazon was fined $41,000 for Covid-19 safety violations at a California warehouse where the company also allegedly neglected to report 217 cases. In March, an Ontario warehouse was forced to shutter for two weeks amid surging Covid infections. The incident prompted the local health board to launch an investigation into potential labor violations, which Amazon said it would appeal. However, the province is broadly dealing with surging coronavirus infections beyond the Amazon facility.

Amazon also sued New York attorney general Letitia James in anticipation of the state’s own legal action over the company’s pandemic response early last year. Amazon controversially fired Christian Smalls, a manager at a Staten Island, N.Y., distribution center, for staging a walkout in March in protest of the conditions at the warehouse. Smalls himself was under paid quarantine for being struck with the virus, and allegedly broke Amazon’s health violation by showing up to the building while he was sick.

The e-commerce giant has stepped up to vaccinate its employee base in recent months, rolling out on-site vaccination events at fulfillment centers in Missouri, Nevada, and Kansas in March. The program has since expanded to more than 250 locations across the U.S. and Canada. The company now offers more than 500,000 front-line employees, contractors and partners access to the Covid-19 vaccine. In many locations, Amazon has also partnered with local authorities to expand its vaccination program to employees’ families.

Amazon also has an in-house Covid-19 testing program, which continues to provide front-line employees with access to voluntary, free testing across more than 800 sites globally.

In Bezos’ final shareholder letter, he emphasized workplace safety across the board, noting the need to invent solutions to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions. Bezos pointed out that 40 percent of work injuries at Amazon are related to MSDs, but that a company coaching program focused on prevention helped cut these injuries by 32 percent from 2019 to 2020.

In 2021, Amazon will invest more than $300 million into safety projects throughout the workplace, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles.

Prime Week set for higher email conversions

While Amazon is ramping up its hiring again across fulfillment and transportation, it appears it could be for a yet another boom, particularly with Prime Day now set for the second quarter. This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise, but new data suggests that more buyers could be better incentivized to spend through the influence of email marketing. One report from retail marketing technology Bluecore noted that upcoming Prime Week email conversion rates are poised to even eclipse Cyber Week conversions later this year.

The rationale here is that even though Prime Week emails in 2020 saw a paltry 0.01 percent higher conversion rate than Cyber Week emails in the following month, retailers sent 65 percent more emails during Cyber Week. This means there’s more potential for growth in the email channel throughout Prime Week this year, especially as it now once again standing on its own in the middle of the year.

While email conversions during Prime Week 2020 were virtually the same as those during Cyber Week (2.51 percent vs. 2.50 percent, respectively), Prime Week led in personalized email open rates (27.9 percent, compared to 26.9 percent during Cyber Week) and slightly in click rates (8.5 percent, compared to 8.4 percent during Cyber Week).

The idea is that as retailers further personalize their email sends, whether it be Amazon or any of the competing merchants looking to capitalize on the event, they have considerable opportunities to convert more of that engagement into sales.

That doesn’t necessarily mean increasing email sends is guaranteed to boost conversion rates, but the opportunity lies in personalization, Bluecore says. Shoppers are 2.4 to 5 times more likely to convert in response to personalized emails than promotional emails. For instance, in 2020, Prime Week promotional emails had a .52 percent conversion rate, while personalized versions saw 2 percent conversion rates. By the same token, on Cyber Week, promotional emails had a .42 percent conversion rate while personalized emails saw 2.1 percent.

The Bluecore data comes from its recently released 2021 Retail Insights Report, which is based on 5.5 billion emails sent by a subset of the company’s more than 400 e-commerce brands.