Amazon to hire 5,000 to meet growing demand

Amazon.com Inc is adding staff across 17 US warehouses, in a move that would see creation of 5,000 full-time jobs, as the world's biggest web retailer tries to meet the growing demand for products.

The new hires would join over 20,000 employees working at Amazon's more than three dozen US fulfillment centres, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today. The company would also be hiring 2,000 customer-service staff, including part-time and seasonal workers.

The retailer plans to open five additional facilities this year, following its addition of 20 last year. The past three years had seen warehouse expenses up more than 100 per cent, with chief executive officer Jeff Bezos opening centres full of products closer to consumers in a bid to cut shipping costs and speed up delivery. Amazon's surprise second-quarter net loss was fueled by higher spending as the online seller continued to chase revenue growth at the expense of profits.

Amazon chief financial officer Thomas Szkutak said on a conference call on 25 July that as the company got closer and closer to customers with fulfillment, the company had seen growth.

The growth was also driven by Amazon Prime members, who paid $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping as also access to streaming video, Szkutak said.

The retailer needed plenty of workers to do stuff like picking, packing and shipping orders, alongside high tech robots, at its warehouses. The company has such a strong requirement of employees that it had created special programmes to woo candidates.

Last year, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos used the front page of the company's website to announce a Career Choice programme that paid thousands of dollars to warehouse employees to take technical and vocational courses in high-demand areas, including engineering, information technology, transportation and accounting.

The latest hiring push comes as president Obama plans to visit a company fulfillment centre in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Tuesday to speak about jobs in the US.