Reports indicate that Amazon is retrenching corporate employees at its Seattle headquarters as well as in other locations in the United States and across the globe. Most of the layoffs will occur in the consumer retail businesses of the e-commerce giant that has now diversified into cloud computing, devices, entertainment and other sectors.
The layoffs are expected to be in the hundreds and this is a modest number for a firm that is the second-largest corporate employer in the United States. The job cuts follow a hiring binge which saw the head count in Seattle rise from 5,000 in 2010 to reach a figure of over 40,000. As a result of the rapid growth there were a couple of units which over-budgeted while some teams ended up with a bloated workforce.
In recent months a hiring freeze had been implemented across a couple of groups and this resulted in the online retailer having the lowest number in years of open job listings at its Seattle headquarters.
“…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,” a statement from Amazon said confirming the layoffs.
Some of the affected employees have been informed of their fate and the retrenchments are due to end in the next couple of weeks. But even as some employees are laid off Amazon has continued to hire. Last year during the release of a quarterly report Amazon indicated that its global workforce had grown by 66% from the previous year to reach a figure of 566,000. And at the beginning of the week Amazon had around 12,500 open corporate positions outside of warehouse jobs.
Medical supplies business
The layoffs at Amazon come in the wake of reports indicating that the online retail giant intends to become a medical supplier to outpatient clinics and hospitals in the United States. Per newspaper reports executives from the healthcare sector have been invited to Amazon’s Seattle headquarters severally. Amazon intends to become a medical supplier via its B2B marketplace, Amazon Business.
Under the arrangement healthcare facilities would be able to buy supplies and equipment needed for emergency rooms, operating rooms and outpatient clinics. At the moment the online retail giant is running a pilot program with the Midwestern hospital system whereby the healthcare provider is making purchases of medical supplies on Amazon Business for its outpatient clinics numbering approximately 150.