Amazon To Hire 40,000 U.S. Workers—If They Can Get Them In The Door

Forbes.com

Posted September 18, 2021 by Mark Perna

To keep staffing levels healthy amid a record labor shortage, Amazon is hosting a career advice livestream event and offering hourly workers a full ride at their college of choice. Mark’s article, “Amazon To Hire 40,000 U.S. Workers—If They Can Get Them In The Door,” published at Forbes.com on September 13, 2021.

On Wednesday, September 15, Amazon CareerDay will launch in the U.S. At this interactive event, Amazon will livestream career-focused content and advice from recruiters and industry leaders. Participants also have the opportunity to book a career coaching session with an Amazon recruiter.

Via Amazon CareerDay, which is open to anyone, the company hopes to source candidates for more than 40,000 open corporate and tech positions across the U.S., along with tens of thousands of hourly Amazon Operations network jobs.

Amazon CareerDay follows on the heels of a big statement the company made last week, when Amazon announced that it will cover 100% of its hourly workers’ college tuition, fees and textbooks. The retail giant, which has already hired 500,000 employees since 2020, is working hard to keep staffing levels healthy amid a record labor shortage that topped 10 million unfilled positions this summer.

So will these aggressive talent sourcing strategies pay off? Only if Amazon is able to bridge the skills gap by not just attracting skilled workers, but also creating them.

Skilled workers are made, not born

Amazon is just one of many companies that are getting creative in solving their talent needs, but the pool of skilled workers to pull from seems to be shrinking.

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The talent shortage facing America today started long before the pandemic. As much as the COVID has reshaped our lives, we were already headed for a workforce crisis as a “silver tsunami” of retiring Baby Boomers exits the workforce. The skills gap—which is simply the divide between the skills employers want to hire and what the pool of available talent can actually bring—is expanding.

While bold recruiting strategies like Amazon’s CareerDay and free college will certainly yield results in the short term, we need a longer-term solution to not just pull talent from the pool, but expand the pool. Companies must find a way to transform unskilled workers into highly skilled, competent employees who are empowered to grow their abilities and careers.

To reap the benefits of such a workforce, business must stop expecting the talent to come to them—and instead start “home growing” it in-house. Skilled workers are made, not born.

The future is young

As the Baby Boomers ride off into the sunset of retirement, Millennials are projected to make up 75% of the American workforce by 2025. And don’t forget the up-and-coming Generation-Z.

The future of the workforce is young. Young talent will power every business, from the mega corporations like Amazon to small startups. So what do younger workers want?

  • Yes, college assistance: With student debt dogging Millennials far into their professional lives, their pragmatic Gen-Z counterparts aren’t going to rely on promises of loan forgiveness that may or may not materialize. According to a 2019 study, 60% of Millennials would trade a current benefit for help paying off their crushing student debt. Not having to take on student debt in the first place? Now you’re talking.
  • Plus, skill development: Younger workers are embracing continuous learning, recognizing the necessity to stay current in a world where technology is constantly reinventing itself. They’re on the hunt for companies that actively foster a culture of lifelong skill development. Organizations must shift their mindset: no matter what your business, you’re in the business of workforce development.
  • Don’t forget respect: Younger workers are tired of being placated with gimmicky office perks, preferring instead to feel respected at work. One way employers can demonstrate respect to younger workers is to give them responsibility commensurate with their skills, along with stretch assignments and the resources to accomplish them.
  • And of course, flexibility: A recent Hibob survey found that 90% of workers of all generations now prize flexible work above all other workplace benefits, highlighting the dramatic shift that remote work has created. Younger workers especially live a work-life blend rather than a work-life balance, making flexible work essential to their lifestyle.
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As the talent wars heat up, companies that deliver in these four areas will have an advantage. It’s to be hoped that staffing levels will soon settle into a more normal pattern. But even when they do, the skills gap will continue to impede our productivity and potential.

The challenge for Amazon and every other business in America is clear: we can’t just find more skilled workers. We have to create them.

Read at Forbes.com


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About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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