Given the ongoing economic headwinds and the company’s expensive belt-tightening under CEO Andy Jassy, it ought not come as a surprise that Amazon has instituted a corporate hiring freeze. The retail giant’s senior vice president of People Experience and Technology, Beth Galetti, confirmed the move in a staff memo that has since been published on Amazon’s own blog.
In the letter, Galetti notes that the company had already begun pausing or slowing hiring in various corporate departments in “recent weeks.” The move has since been applied to “new incremental hires” across its corporate business for "the next few months." The “corporate” caveat here is likely meant to differentiate the roles from positions like those in Amazon fulfillment centers across the U.S., as the company ramps up for the holidays.
There are other potential exceptions, as well, including replacements for employees who have vacated existing roles. The executive adds that the company plans to add “a meaningful number of people” next year.
“We’re facing an unusual macro-economic environment, and want to balance our hiring and investments with being thoughtful about this economy,” writes Galetti. “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.”
Jassy, the AWS head who took over Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' CEO role in July 2021, has been looking for meaningful ways to cut costs across the company. He reportedly noted in a corporate all-hands earlier this month, “Good companies that last a long period of time, who are thinking about the long term, always have this push and pull. There are some years where they’re expanding really broadly. Some years where they’re checking in and working on profitability, tightening the belt a little bit. And sometimes when you have multiple businesses like we do at Amazon, some businesses are expanding at the same time that others are checking in.”
Amazon is certainly not alone in such decisions, either. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans for cost-cutting measures and a hiring freeze at the social media giant back in September.