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Amazon raises average starting salary in US to $ 18, hires 125,000 jobs

Sept. 14 (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has raised its average starting salary in the United States to more than $ 18 an hour and plans to hire another 125,000 warehouse and transportation workers an executive told Reuters.

The world’s largest online retailer has increased wages by around $ 17 on average since May. In some places, the company is offering signing bonuses of $ 3,000, said Dave Bozeman, vice president of Amazon Delivery Services, which is triple what the company was offering four months ago.

The bigger paycheck, which Reuters was the first to report, shows how desperately large employers are trying to attract workers to an increasingly tight US labor market. Fewer Americans are seeking unemployment claims just as openings hit a record in reopening the economy. Read more

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Bozeman attributed Amazon’s latest pay hike to fierce competition. Amazon didn’t give exact numbers, but a $ 1 increase on a $ 17 hourly wage would equate to an increase of about 6%.

Amazon, now the second-largest private employer in the United States, set a minimum wage of $ 15 an hour in 2018. Walmart Inc (WMT.N) recently touted an average hourly wage of $ 16.40, while Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (WBA.O) has said it will increase its minimum to $ 15 in October. Read more

“It’s a tight job market, and we’ve seen some of it as the whole industry is seeing,” said Bozeman, who spoke in an interview at a delivery station in Tukwila. , Washington.

He said Amazon would maintain his base salary of $ 15 an hour. Perks like funding worker tuition and starting salaries of up to $ 22.50 in some areas set the online retailer apart from its peers, he said.

A worker assembles a box for delivery to the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, the United States, April 30, 2019. REUTERS / Clodagh Kilcoyne / File Photo

RESPOND TO GROWTH

The news from Amazon, following the logistics hiring announcement in May and the vaunted company hiring this month, follows an extensive review of its work practices. An unsuccessful effort by some staff in Alabama this year to organize has highlighted Amazon’s demanding warehouse work and its aggressive anti-union stance. After that battle, then CEO Jeff Bezos said the company needed a better vision for employees.

Andy Jassy, ​​who took over from Bezos, said in a CNBC interview on Tuesday that the United States should raise the federal minimum wage.

Amazon is hiring workers to help manage 100 logistics facilities launched this month in the United States, in addition to the 250 that opened earlier this year. Some workers will be contributing to Amazon’s long-running effort to roll out overnight delivery for Prime loyalty club members.

“The 125,000 (warehouse workers) are really to help us keep up with our growth,” said Bozeman, who added that only a minority of jobs face attrition. Amazon said it would fill the roles, which are full-time and part-time, as quickly as possible, but did not offer a timeline.

The company’s external delivery service partners also aim to hire another 50,000 workers by the end of the year, Amazon said.

Nicole Bilich, head of human resources, said a competitive salary has attracted candidates for its warehouse in Stockton, Calif., Which Amazon plans to launch in October. But hiring 2,200 people in three to four months is not easy.

“The biggest challenge we have is really how many people we need,” she said.

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Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in Palo Alto, California. Editing by Peter Henderson, Cynthia Osterman and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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