More reports on: E-business, Retail

Amazon to hire 5,000 home workers in massive hiring binge

08 April 2017

Amazon announced Thursday that it would add 30,000 part-time positions in the US over the next year (See: Amazon to hire 30,000 part-time workers in the US). The positions would include 5,000 in Virtual Customer Service, which would allow employees to work as a customer service agent from home.

The remaining 25,000 would be at Amazon warehouses and any part-time employees who worked 20 hours or more a week would be eligible for benefits.

"There are lots of people who want or need a flexible job - whether they're a military spouse, a college student, or a parent - and we're happy to empower these talented people no matter where they happen to live,'' said Tom Weiland, Amazon's vice president for worldwide customer service, in a statement.

Amazon had expanded its workforce over the last several years, with its 56,000 full-and part-time employees in 2011, swelling to over 341,000 by the end of the 2016 fiscal.

Meanwhile, concerns had been raised about the work quality that the jobs offered. Amazon had faced complaints and lawsuits regarding working conditions and low wages. Defending Amazon's culture, the company's spokeswoman Kelly Cheeseman defended Amazon's culture, saying employees were "proud of the work environment and the culture we have."

Meanwhile, in March 2017, involuntary part-time workers numbered 5.6 million, which changed little changed from the month before, but was down from 6.4 million a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That number was up from 4.5 million in November 2007, but much lower than a peak of 8.6 million in September 2012. These figures were almost entirely due to the inability of workers to find full-time jobs, which left many workers to take or keep lower-paying jobs, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think-tank in Washington, DC.

The EPI added 54 per cent of the growth in these involuntary part-time jobs between 2007 and 2015 was in retail, leisure and hospitality industries.

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