Amazon is freezing hiring across its entire corporate workforce as the company navigates a shaky economy that is forcing tech companies to cut expenses.
“With the economy in an uncertain place and in light of how many people we have hired in the last few years, Andy and S-team decided this week to pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce,” Amazon HR leader Beth Galetti wrote in a memo to employees Thursday.
She added: “We had already done so in a few of our businesses in recent weeks and have added our other businesses to this approach. We anticipate keeping this pause in place for the next few months, and will continue to monitor what we’re seeing in the economy and the business to adjust as we think makes sense.”
Galetti said the company will backfill roles to replace employees who depart, and hire people incrementally in “some targeted places.”
Amazon last month said it was freezing hiring in its retail business.
Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts last week that the company was preparing for “what could be a slower growth period” due to increased foreign currency headwinds, global inflation, heightened fuel prices, and rising energy costs.
Amazon went on a hiring spree during the pandemic to help meet demand as more people shopped online.
But the company’s headcount grew by just 21,000 employees during the third quarter. That compares an additional 133,000 workers in the year-ago period, and 248,500 people in the third quarter of 2020.
Amazon’s total direct workforce is now 1.54 million. It employs 75,000 people in the Seattle region, including warehouse workers.
The Seattle tech giant saw shares fall by nearly 20% last week after issuing a lower-than-expected guidance for the holiday quarter.
Amazon joins a long list of companies slowing hiring or cutting jobs during the economic downturn. Layoffs reportedly hit Lyft, Opendoor, and Stripe this week.
In addition to a hiring freeze, Amazon is cutting staff in certain areas, shutting down various divisions and axing products, though it continues to spend on giant acquisitions.
Here’s Galetti’s full note to employees:
With the economy in an uncertain place and in light of how many people we have hired in the last few years, Andy and S-team decided this week to pause on new incremental hires in our corporate workforce. We had already done so in a few of our businesses in recent weeks and have added our other businesses to this approach. We anticipate keeping this pause in place for the next few months, and will continue to monitor what we’re seeing in the economy and the business to adjust as we think makes sense. In general, depending on the business or area of the company, we will hire backfills to replace employees who move on to new opportunities, and there are some targeted places where we will continue to hire people incrementally.
We’re facing an unusual macro-economic environment, and want to balance our hiring and investments with being thoughtful about this economy. This is not the first time that we’ve faced uncertain and challenging economies in our past. While we have had several years where we’ve expanded our headcount broadly, there have also been several years where we’ve tightened our belt and were more streamlined in how many people we added. With fewer people to hire this moment, this should give each team an opportunity to further prioritize what matters most to customers and the business, and to be more productive.
We still intend to hire a meaningful number of people in 2023, and remain excited about our significant investments in our larger businesses, as well as newer initiatives like Prime Video, Alexa, Grocery, Kuiper, Zoox, and Healthcare.
If you have questions about how this pause on incremental hiring for the next few months impacts your team, please speak with your manager in the coming days.