Amazon holds job fair to hire thousands amid surging growth

Amazon is recruiting thousands of people with engineering and business degrees for high-paying jobs, but the vast majority of Amazon's recruitment was for what the company called its ''fulfillment network'' comprising people who pick and pack orders in warehouses and unload and drive delivery trucks, and who take home considerably smaller incomes.

Amazon held a job fair yesterday, at a dozen locations, including Romeoville, Illinois. It was aimed at filling 50,000 of the lower-paying positions, 40,000 of them full-time jobs.

According to commentators, those who flocked to the fair seemed to be concerned more about the opportunity that Amazon represented to a career of better-compensated, more satisfying work, whether in fulfillment, IT, marketing or even fashion, rather than anything else.

''A record-breaking 20,000 applications were received on this day alone,'' said John Olsen, an Amazon human resources vice president, ''with thousands of job offers extended to candidates and more to come in the next few days,'' The New York Times reported.

According to commentators, filling so many jobs posed a challenge. The company's warehouse jobs, which typically paid $12 to $15 an hour, have a reputation of being physically demanding and repetitive, with high rates of burnout.

"It's based on customer demand," said Amazon spokeswoman Ali Hutchins at the huge Chattanooga fulfillment center at Enterprise South industrial park, where hundreds showed up to apply for jobs, Times Free Press reported.

The job fair the company held in Chattanooga, Charleston and about 10 other centers nationally had nothing to do with the hiring Amazon does before Christmas annually to meet the holiday rush, she added.

Amazon already has a 2,000 to 2,500 strong full-time work force in Chattanooga. Along with the Bradley County facility, and part-time employees, the retailer counts around 4,000 workers in Southeast Tennessee.