Jobs and the Future of Work

Amazon has become the world's fifth largest employer

Amazon packages are seen at the new Amazon warehouse during its opening announcement on the outskirts of Mexico City, Mexico July 30, 2019. Picture taken July 30 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso - RC1F89999840

This year, Amazon added roughly 1,400 employees a day. Image: REUTERS/Carlos Jasso - RC1F89999840

Amanda Shendruk
Visual Journalist, The Things Team, Quartz
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  • Online retailer Amazon has added 427,300 new employees to its company this year, increasing its total workforce to 1.2 million.
  • The numbers equate to hiring around 1,400 new staff members a day.
  • The firm is currently listed as the world's fifth biggest employer, having risen from tenth just two years ago.

In a year plagued by widespread layoffs, Amazon is bucking the trend. As of October, the company added 427,300 employees, increasing its workforce to 1.2 million, according to a report by the New York Times. This year, Amazon added roughly 1,400 people a day.

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Currently listed as the world’s fifth largest employer in the Fortune 500, Amazon’s historic levels of hiring are likely to move it up to third.

Walmart, the largest employer, currently employs 2.2 million workers. At Amazon’s current pace of hiring, it would be able to take the title in two years. (Of course, Walmart has also been adding to its workforce during the pandemic.)

The top ten employers in the world.
Amazon has gone from the 10th to the 5th biggest employer in just two years. Image: Quartz

Covid-19 has put renewed focus on Amazon’s workplace conditions—last week, the company agreed to pay a one-time bonus amid threats of worker strikes—but a difficult job market means Amazon is unlikely to run out of willing employees anytime soon. In the week leading up to Sept. 16, the company received nearly 400,000 job applications, the NYT reported. That’s a rate of 38 per minute.

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