Amazon to create 7,000 UK jobs as virus shutdown fuels online demand

Amazon to create 7,000 UK jobs as virus shutdown fuels online demand
Amazon’s UK workforce will grow to more than 40,000 after a surge in online shopping. (AFP)
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Updated 03 September 2020

Amazon to create 7,000 UK jobs as virus shutdown fuels online demand

Amazon to create 7,000 UK jobs as virus shutdown fuels online demand

LONDON: Amazon will create 7,000 permanent jobs in the UK by the end of the year, the US e-commerce giant announced Thursday in a boost to Britain’s virus-hit economy.

“The company will add a further 7,000 new permanent roles by the end of 2020 across more than 50 sites, including corporate offices and two new fulfilment centers,” Amazon said in a statement.

Its total permanent UK workforce will number more than 40,000, up by a third in just one year as the pandemic triggers a surge in online shopping.

While several British retailers have together axed thousands of jobs following the country’s virus lockdown, others including supermarket giant Tesco are creating vast amounts of roles to cope with booming online demand.

Stefano Perego, Amazon’s vice president of European customer fulfilment, said his company is “employing thousands of talented individuals in a diverse range of good jobs from operations managers and tech professionals through to people to handle customer orders” across the UK.

“Our people have played a critical role in serving customers in these unprecedented times and the new roles will help us continue to meet customer demand and support small and medium sized businesses selling on Amazon,” he added.

The company, which has already created 3,000 new permanent UK roles this year, added on Thursday that it will offer more than 20,000 seasonal positions across the country ahead of the festive period.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma hailed the jobs announcement, with UK unemployment set to surge after the government ends next month its COVID-19 furlough scheme that is paying wages for millions of private-sector workers.

“While this has been a challenging time for many businesses, it is hugely encouraging to see Amazon creating 10,000 jobs in the UK this year,” Sharma said.

“This is not only great news for those looking for a new job, but also a clear vote of confidence in the UK economy as we build back better from the pandemic,” he added.

Britain’s economy shrank by one fifth in the second quarter, more than any European neighbor, as the lockdown plunged the country into its deepest recession on record.

There is meanwhile much uncertainty surrounding the strength and pace of recovery.

Amazon’s announcement comes after it last month unveiled plans to hire 3,500 employees for its technology hubs and corporate offices across the US.