Amazon’s Effort to Recruit 30,000 Workers Collides With Saturated Job Market

SEATTLE — Engineers in the Bay Area. Advertising managers in Chicago. Freight specialists in Arizona. At Amazon, the job listings keep piling up, reflecting a company growing in many directions amid one of the tightest labor markets in memory.

On Monday, Amazon said it had 30,000 open positions in the United States, including full- and part-time jobs, in corporate and tech roles, in locations ranging from headquarters offices to tech hubs to fulfillment centers.

The posts, which Amazon said it hoped to fill by early next year, are permanent jobs and do not include hourly, seasonal positions like warehouse workers. More than half the jobs are tech-oriented, the company said.

It’s the most open positions the company has ever had, Amazon said.

The sheer number of openings is the latest sign of the company’s ambitions colliding with the reality of strong labor markets for both white- and blue-collar workers. Last fall, Amazon raised the minimum wage at its warehouses to $15 an hour, and this summer, the company said it planned to spend $700 million to retrain about a third of its American workers to perform higher-skilled tasks. The effort included a major focus on bulking up the technical chops of its corporate and tech work force, such as turning entry-level coders into data scientists.

In August, the national unemployment rate remained near a 50-year low at 3.7 percent, even as hiring has slowed in the face of a trade war and lagging global economy.

Amazon had 653,300 employees globally as of the end of June, not including temp workers and contractors. A little less than half of those are in the United States.

The company has another shadow work force of contractors, ranging from drivers delivering packages to customer service representatives who help sellers on its marketplace.

Amazon has signaled to investors that it is entering a reinvestment cycle, where its costs will increase as it seeks to grow in strategic areas. In its latest earnings call with Wall Street analysts, Amazon called out recent growth in sales and marketing staff for its cloud computing services as well as the logistics and transportation networks it is building to bring packages to customers.

[Get the Bits newsletter for the latest from Silicon Valley and the technology industry.]

The 30,000 open positions do not herald a single major new investment, such as two years ago when Amazon announced that it would search for a second headquarters to complement its home in Seattle, which has all but turned into a company town. It said the new headquarters would create 50,000 jobs.

Amazon is now having to rejigger its hiring after the plan to split that second headquarters between two locations — New York City and Arlington, Va., just outside Washington — stumbled. Amazon backed out of New York, saying it would take the 25,000 positions that would have gone to the city and spread them among various smaller hubs, including New York.

The company is holding hiring fairs in six cities on Sept. 17, including Nashville, where Amazon is building a major outpost for its vast logistics operations network, as well as Arlington, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Seattle.