Could Amazon’s recently announced pay raises signal the e-tailing giant intends to make good on its former CEO’s parting words of doing a “better job” for its employees?
Following Amazon’s win in the historic unionization drive at its Bessemer, Ala., fulfillment center earlier this month, Jeff Bezos penned his final letter to shareholders as CEO, in which he said, “I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees—a vision for their success.”
Now as Amazon has announced it’s hiring for tens of thousands of jobs across its operations in the U.S., including customer fulfillment, delivery, package sortation and specialty fulfillment teams, Darcie Henry, Amazon VP of people experience and technology, worldwide consumer, has delivered a message via Amazon’s website that the company is upping its annual fall pay review for these teams and will be rolling out increases from mid-May through early June.
“More than 500,000 people will see an increase between at least 50 cents and $3 an hour, which is an investment of over $1 billion in incremental pay for these employees,” said Henry. “This is on top of our already industry-leading starting wage of at least $15 an hour and the more than $2.5 billion that we invested last year in additional bonuses and incentives for front-line teams.”
Henry further noted that Amazon jobs also come with a range of benefits, such as medical, dental and vision coverage, parental leave, “ways to save for the future, and opportunities for career advancement—all in a safe and inclusive environment that’s been ranked among the best workplaces in the world.”
LinkedIn agrees. The digital professional networking service recently recognized Amazon as “the most desirable workplace in the U.S. for 2021 based on the company’s ability to attract, develop and retain talent.”
LinkedIn ranked Amazon at No. 1 on its Top Companies 2021 list, which is designed to help professionals identify the best places to grow their careers, the company said. Amazon is up from No. 3 in 2019, the latest edition of this ranking. This annual list uses data from LinkedIn’s 740 million members across the globe to rank the most sought-after places to work for professionals in the U.S.
“We keep refining our Top Companies methodology each year,” said George Anders, senior editor-at-large for LinkedIn, in a statement. “Amazon’s strong showing this year isn’t just a tribute to how many different ways there are to make a career at the company. Our data shows that Amazon also is a standout in building employees’ skills, year by year.”
Roaring Sales in Q1
Amazon separately late Thursday said sales in its fiscal first quarter jumped by 41% to $52.9 billion and were part of a three-month period during which overall revenue soared to $108.5 billion, a 44% increase.
Amazon said sales at physical stores, which is comprised mainly of Whole Foods Markets locations but does not include sales originating online and fulfilled from them, like Prime delivery, decreased by 16% to $3.9 billion in the quarter.
Net profits increased to $8.1 billion, compared to $2.5 billion in last year's first quarter and earnings-per-share of $15.79 blew past Wall Street expectations by about $6.
In a release the company highlighted that its Prime membership program now includes more than 200 million members.
It also said it has continued to expand availability of Amazon Scout, a fully electric autonomous delivery system, which it compared to a "cooler on wheels" that travels on sidewalks at a walking pace. Scout has delivered "tens of thousands" of packages to customers in California, Georgia, Tennessee, and Washington, and the program is continuing to expand to new communities in the U.S.
For shoppers who wished there was a store that combined their favorite Whole Foods products with mainstream grocery items such as Coca-Cola and Kraft Mac and Cheese, and accompanied this magical mixture with the online-savvy, delivery, Alexa-enabled and checkout-free technology of Amazon, dreams do come true. Amazon Fresh, which opened its new Woodland Hills, Calif., location to select customers on Aug. 27, plans to welcome the public in the coming weeks.
“Customers can find items in the store more quickly by using Alexa and Alexa shopping lists,” according to the Amazon Fresh blog. “When customers arrive in-store, they can access their Alexa shopping list through the Amazon app or on the Amazon Dash Cart, enabling them to quickly navigate aisles and check off items as they shop. Throughout the store we have Amazon Echo Show devices available to ask Alexa for help—simply say, ‘Alexa, where can I find the hot sauce?’ ”
Unlike sister store Whole Foods Market, which is often referred to as “Whole Paycheck,” the Amazon Fresh store said it “offers consistently low prices for all” and free same-day delivery and pickup for Prime members. Here, the Amazon Dash Cart is also in play, allowing customers to skip the checkout line. Shoppers sign into the cart using a QR code on their Amazon app, and then place their bags in the cart, shop and exit through the Dash Cart lane. The cart uses a combination of computer vision algorithms and sensor fusion to identify items in the cart.
Shoppers can request Order Ahead items from the deli, meat and seafood counters, as well as whole pizzas via the Amazon app when they arrive in-store or on the way there. Customers can also shop while their Order Ahead items are prepared. Amazon Fresh will notify them when the order is ready for pickup at the service counter.