retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Amazon said yesterday that it is freezing corporate hiring "for the next few months," a move that it said "is due to the economy and 'in light of how many people we have hired in the last few years'," the Seattle Times reports.

The story notes that "Amazon already has paused hiring in its corporate retail division, which includes online and physical stores, its marketplace for third-party sellers, and its Prime subscription service. The company also reportedly stopped hiring for its advertising business and at Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing arm and one of the most profitable parts of the company.

"The freeze has now expanded to 'other businesses,' Beth Galetti, senior vice president of people experience and technology, wrote in a message shared with employees Wednesday and posted publicly Thursday."

The Information reports that "the memo said that Amazon would continue to backfill roles of departing employees and that the company would hire incrementally in 'targeted places.' The company … still intends to hire a 'meaningful' number of people next year, the memo said."

CNBC writes that "CEO Andy Jassy has … aggressively curtailed expenses across the company in recent months amid fears of a recession, rising inflation and soaring interest rates. Amazon has shed warehouse space, halted some experimental projects, and shuttered its telehealth service.

"In the third quarter, Amazon’s headcount grew just 5% year over year to 1.54 million employees worldwide. That’s after the company’s workforce contracted for the first time in years in the second quarter."

KC's View:

I wonder if this is more a message to investors, who have seen Amazon's stock price drop precipitously in recent months, than it is to current and prospective employees.

Tom Furphy said it in The Innovation Conversation this week - Amazon, like a lot of companies facing economic turmoil, will continue to spend and innovate, but also will be more surgical and strategic about it.

The end of the world isn't at hand.  Not yet anyway.