Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) is reportedly laying off hundreds of corporate jobs at their Seattle’s headquarters due to a reorganisation of the company.
The measure seems to affect mainly the consumer retail business, while other sectors are still hiring. For example, the fast growing market of voice services with Alexa has required a recruitment drive by the US based online retailer and internet services company. Amazon announced recently they are creating an AI chip to process Alexa commands on-device.
The online retailer grew rapidly from 5,000 employees in 2010 to 40,000 in its Seattle headquarters. However, during the last two years there was more staff than they actually needed and today’s cut signals a streamlining of operations. In addition to cuts, Amazon appear to be reducing new hires as fewer hiring positions were advertised compared to last summer, when Amazon had 3,500 job openings.
An Amazon spokesperson told The Seattle Times: “As part of our annual planning process, we are making head count adjustments across the company — small reductions in a couple of places and aggressive hiring in many others. For affected employees, we work to find roles in the areas where we are hiring.”
The layoff suggests Amazon is trying to control spending and the cut is not unusual for such a big company. Nevertheless, there are fears suggesting that Amazon may be replacing these jobs with bots to automate work, as their business is not declining, but on the contrary growing.
Comparatively, Microsoft laid-off thousands of employees globally last year due to a organisational merger. The job cuts were less than 10 percent of the company’s total sales force and 75 percent of the cut took place outside the US.
In January Amazon’s results reported one of their best ever profits of around $2 billion. helped by the Amazon Prime service experincing 4 million new sign-ups in one week in the three months to December.
The job cuts nearly dents Amazon’s workforce of half a million globally and in many areas they are still increasing the number of employees. In the UK, for example, Amazon was not scared off by Brexit, announcing last year they will expand their workforce by 5,000.
Shares were up 3.5 percent, trading at 1,386.23 USD, as of 12:50 (GMT).