Amazon’s Clear Message: Hiring

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Like other tech giants, Amazon is recruiting thousands of people with engineering and business degrees for high-paying jobs. But the vast majority of Amazon’s hiring is for what the company calls its “fulfillment network” — the armies of people who pick and pack orders in warehouses and unload and drive delivery trucks, and who take home considerably smaller incomes.

The event on Wednesday, held at a dozen locations including Romeoville, Ill., was intended to help fill 50,000 of those lower-paying positions, 40,000 of them full-time jobs.

Those high-low distinctions did not seem to bother the attendees of the jobs fair, many of them united in the conviction that Amazon represented untapped opportunity — that a foot in the door could lead to a career of better-compensated, more satisfying work, whether in fulfillment, I.T., marketing or even fashion.

. . .

Amazon’s remarkable head count growth stands in sharp contrast to its image as a job killer. It was the fastest American company in history to employ 300,000 people globally, crossing that threshold last year, its 20th as a public company, according to a paper published this year by the Progressive Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. Walmart reached that milestone 21 years after it went public, the paper said.

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. It increased its domestic work force from 30,000 employees in 2011 to over 180,000 at the end of 2016.

The figures do not include the thousands of seasonal workers that join the company to help it with the crush of holiday shopping. Some come in R.V.s as part of a group Amazon called CamperForce. The company pays for their campsites.

Amazon hired 30,000 new employees in its last quarter alone. Facebook, in contrast, employed just under 21,000 people at the end of June, while Alphabet, the parent company of Google, employed about 76,000.

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