Hacker News Re-Imagined

Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire

  • 626 points
  • 19 days ago

  • @Umofomia
  • Created a post

Leaked Amazon memo warns the company is running out of people to hire


@slenk 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I don't know why anyone wants to work for a company that acknowledges for attrition. No wonder they can't keep talent.

Reply


@toss1 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

>>“If we continue business as usual, Amazon will deplete the available labor supply in the US network by 2024”

At what price point?

Offering what working conditions?

>> "...the Amazon Way of management, which emphasizes worker productivity over just about everything else and churns through the equivalent of its entire front-line workforce year after year."

Perhaps they should stop doing business as usual and pay better wages, and benefits?

Perhaps they should stop doing business as usual and make better rules that are not attempting to run employees like running machines at 105% of redline for every shift, e.g., so they don't have to make a choice between making their performance numbers and urinating in a bottle in the delivery truck?

These are likely seen as crazy ideas, but perhaps they should get ahead of the curve and make an attractive place to work instead of trying to treat Charlie Chaplin's movie Modern Times as a "How To Manage" work...

The combination of arrogance and utter out-of-touch cluelessness of management/MBAs, thinking everything runs just on their numbers, never ceases to amaze. Just because you can optimize one or two numeric parameters does not mean you are getting closer to your goal.

Reply


@akagusu 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Who wants to work under inhuman conditions and be treated like garbage?

Reply


@kjs3 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

You mean Uber Capitalists want to pretend 'cost of labor' isn't an input to the economic equation? Shocker.

Reply


@pram 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

“We would love you back in 90 days,” Pagan says the HR staff member told him. In the meantime, Pagan should “do some GrubHub or Uber,” the HR employee said.

lol this is just monstrous.

Reply


@aaaaaaaaaaab 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

* at their wage levels

Reply


@Vladimof 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I try to avoid purchasing from Amazon to help them as much as I can...

Reply


@whatever1 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Why is this news? Amazon employs ~1M people. Of course they cannot churn people for long.

Reply


@dqpb 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

> the company is running out of people to hire

Pay more. That’s how capitalism works.

Reply


@Overtonwindow 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

A lot of businesses are like that, particularly telemarketing and low skill. Churn and burn. It almost feels like the pornography industry at times, every day someone turns 18.

Reply


@ReptileMan 18 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

With the imminent crypto implosion there will be a lot of people with any kind of exposure to crypto (as workers, investors or something) looking for a job. A short stint in the warehouse would do them good.

Reply


@andsoitis 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

> Amazon is facing a looming crisis: It could run out of people to hire in its US warehouses by 2024

robots are the answer. or less consumption. or both.

Reply


@neycoda 18 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Good! They can raise wages and give better benefits and treat workers better. It's really not that hard when you have billions of dollars laying around.

Reply


@fullshark 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Amazon has 1.6 MILLION employees based on its last financial report, with 1.1 million in the US. Basically 1% of the US labor force currently works for Amazon.

Reply


@donclark 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I heard a rumor that Amazon is flying people in from out of the country to work for $15hr. However, I did a search and cannot find any documentation on this. 22mins into this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1dBTcY8nvg

Reply


@ddingus 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

No they aren't.

They are running out of people to over exploit.

Big difference.

Amazon will find better compensation and a modest change to work culture and environment will bring them as many people as they need.

Reply


@duxup 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

They've got a high volume of employees at physical locations and high churn.

That seems like a recipe for this.

Reply


@alangibson 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

The Fed is about to induce 3 years worth of rising unemployment by their own estimates, so the days of workers not needing to take crap jobs out of desperation will soon be at an end.

https://qz.com/2178359/the-fed-predicts-3-years-of-rising-un...

Reply


@theonlybutlet 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Who'da thought unsustainable labour practices are unsustainable.

Reply


@youessayyyaway 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I think this article might bury the lede a bit:

>Walmart is offering some workers with past warehouse experience as much as $25 an hour. An Amazon executive told Reuters in late 2021 that the company was bumping the average starting wage for new hires in the US to more than $18 an hour, attributing the decision to intense competition among employers.

People used to work for Amazon warehouses in the 2010s because $15/hr was a much better wage than they could find elsewhere in their geographic location.

After the pandemic and ongoing inflation, it's not difficult to find easier work which pays better. Amazon responded with a token raise that doesn't even cover CoL adjustments, but history shows that they need to pay well above market rates to hire the quantity of people that they need.

It's funny to see this dynamic at a time when the federal minimum wage is still stuck at $7.25/hr.

Reply


@subsubzero 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

This is the sign of a extremely unhealthy place to work

> But attrition at Amazon’s facilities in the area grew from 128 percent in 2019 to 205 percent in 2020

I can see business papers talking about Amazon's failure in this space in the next 5 years.

Reply


@asah 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

tl;dr: you want to be a customer of Amazon, not an employee.

Reply


@Melatonic 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

They're known to have such crazy warehouse shifts that people unofficially carry piss bottles with them.

They're also known to be a crap place to work at the high end for the educated workforce and the best I have heard is "Get in, get out, pump your resume and leave as fast as you can"

Surprise!

Reply


@chaostheory 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

What the memo doesn’t account for is what will happen when the Fed Reserve is adamant about bringing demand destruction with their interest rate hikes.

Reply


@dreamcompiler 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

As many others have said, there's no shortage of labor in the US; there's a shortage of pay.

Like many others, Bezos built his business by exploiting a temporary condition: A virtually infinite supply of people willing to accept a horrible job for low pay. That condition no longer exists, but Bezos didn't realize it was unsustainable (it's unsustainable because if all workers are paid shit wages they can't afford to be customers). Or maybe he did realize it which is why he retired. In any case, now Amazon is panicking.

Good. When I think about this along with their other dick moves like pushing cheap Chinese counterfeit products, encouraging fake reviews, and stealing third-party product designs just because they can, I now check Amazon's competitors first when I buy something online.

Reply


@blakesterz 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I've always wondered about this, at Amazon and also at Uber/Lyft/DoorDash etc... They seem to burn through people quite fast. Won't they all just run out of people at some point, or will just increasing pay bring enough people back?

Reply


@lisper 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I would not work for Amazon unless my life depended on it (and even then I would have to think twice) but I have to say (reluctantly) that as a customer, both retail and AWS, I absolutely love them. The power that Amazon is acquiring scares the hell out of me, but at the same time, when I need to buy some random thing, no one else even comes close in terms of convenience and reliability. Sometimes I will make an effort to buy direct from a vendor, but more often than not the experience is so horrible that I go right back to Amazon.

Reply


@2OEH8eoCRo0 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Is that why I get recruiter emails almost daily?

Reply


@LegitShady 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

This is simply laying down groundwork for hiring temporary foreign workers.

Reply


@torginus 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙



@usr1106 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Every time I shop at Amazon I have a bad conscience about supporting such a worker-hostile company. Well the turnover they get from me has been well under 100 € / yr. for many years. And I have monthly AWS bill over $5 for some Lightsail stuff. Should move to some smaller player, but it's more work.

Reply


@micromacrofoot 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

This isn't just their warehouse workers, their delivery drivers (many through partner companies) have been struggling with this for a while. They grind through employees fast. Drivers will sometimes just leave their keys in the ignition and walk off the job.

There was a lot of speculation that this is why they dropped the drug testing requirement last year.

Reply


@thrill 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

s/people to hire/people to hire cheaply/

Reply


@danamit 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I wonder if this or similar stories is leaked by purpose to encourage more people to apply.

Reply


@mmastrac 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

So it turns out that people are fungible after all. At least at the scale that Amazon operates at.

Reply


@Madmallard 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Maybe you should treat your employees better then?

Reply


@encrux 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Surely at some point the market will just regulate itself and amazon will have to improve working conditions to keep operations running... Right? Isn't that how capitalism is supposed to work?

Reply


@etempleton 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

When the news broke that Amazon was doubling the salary of corporate employees I mentioned on here how it felt wrong in comparison to what they pay their warehouse workers and drivers and got some backlash on here. A lot of talk about how an engineer provides XXX% more value and supply and demand.

Warehouse jobs are back breaking. I don't think they need to be paid as much as a software engineer, but they should be paid a decent wage and have decent work conditions.

Reply


@jokethrowaway 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Funnily enough, I got paid 100$ to do a 20 minutes survey that was asking hiring questions (which fang would you apply for and why) and it was just a pretest to have someone from Aws trying to recruit you.

Reply


@amotinga 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

offer remote work - I'm in

Reply


@monkey88 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Well, an Amazon recruiter contacted me, so they must be desperate.

Reply


@binbag 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Who are the emerging competitors to Amazon that the article refers to?

Reply


@EGreg 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I guess this implied people are burned out by working in these warehouses and they will have churned through EVERYONE IN THE UNITED STATES who might have considered it. Quite a feat. Maybe finally allow people bathroom breaks rather than peeing in bottles? Or just develop more robots.

Reply


@arbuge 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

This is from mid-2021. I suspect they are now more concerned about having expanded too quickly during the pandemic period.

Reply


@xwdv 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I’d suggest rather than paying by the hour, Amazon should switch to paying workers by the task. They have the data to work out a profitable rate.

This gives workers the ability to self regulate how lazy or efficient they’d like to be.

Reply


@crikeyjoe 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

There's no shortage of workers, there's a shortage of workers wanting to work for Amazon.

Reply


@tomohawk 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

There's something like 200k homeless people in California - all those failed policies have put a dent in the labor pool.

Reply


@tacker2000 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I think the downfall of Amazon will begin from the inside…

Reply


@a_shovel 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Arguably the largest company in the world is depleting its own potential labor pool around all of its facilities, due to the sheer cruelty of how it treats its workers.

The assumption has been that there's always more workers, so who cares if you burn them all out before the year is over? Just get some more. But Amazon has unprecedented scale and an unprecedented (sustained) attrition rate, which means they are heading into uncharted territory. Maybe there aren't always more bodies to burn through.

When things like these happen, it's time to consider regularly using terms like "megacorporation" in earnest.

Reply


@tmaly 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Would it be so bad to just develop better robots for this type of work?

Keynes had a prediction that we would be working 15 hour work weeks by now.

In your opinion, why haven’t we obtained this?

Reply


@Havoc 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

You know conditions are bad when desperate people say no

Reply


@femto113 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Amazon's scale encounters limits that most companies don't ever have to consider. There's a parallel from 20ish years ago: Amazon eschewed software performance engineering with the mantra "if it can be solved with a credit card [i.e. you can buy more hardware] don't worry about it now". That worked up to the day they called the company that made their database server and asked to upgrade and were told "you already have the most powerful machine we've ever built".

Reply


@thenoblesunfish 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

“Running out of people to hire” is a strange way of saying “Not offering employees enough to want to work there”. To be catty, there are plenty of people to hire, but maybe they’re running out of people to exploit.

Reply


@no_wizard 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

This is specifically in reference to warehouse workers, not the tech side of things. Though I've heard from many recently ex-Amazon engineers that they're having real trouble recruiting engineers now too

Reply


@lisper 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

> Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos saw his warehouse workforce as necessary but replaceable, and feared that workers who remained at the company too long would turn complacent or, worse, disgruntled, according to reporting by the New York Times.

Wow. Think about what this is really saying: Amazon adopts the explicit policy of not wanting their workers to stay on long enough to figure out that they are getting a bad deal.

So it's not that they are running out of people to hire, it's that they are running out of people who have not yet figured out that working for Amazon is a bad deal.

Now I understand why I've been seeing so many commercials lately about how great it is to work for Amazon.

Reply


@pvankessel 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Not surprised to see this pop up. I interviewed for a position with Amazon a few months back to lead up a new research program to determine how they can better recruit and retain hourly workers. I had no intention of taking the job, but was curious so I took the interview. What stood out was just the sheer scale at which they're operating - they're literally up against the constraints of domestic labor supply. I have plenty of strong opinions about how they treat their workers and have no desire to work for such a company, but I was surprised to find that I did sympathize with them to an extent - it's not just about offering better pay and bathroom breaks, they're also on the verge of exhausting the viable labor market. I wish whoever took the job the best of luck - I hope that they're taking the research effort seriously and it's not just performance art.

Reply


@nimbius 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

"It could run out of people to hire in its US warehouses by 2024"

yes, by 2024 the number of people willing to piss in bottles for peasant wages in unconditioned warehouses with no healthcare or time off will certainly become problematic.

Reply


@gigel82 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I was getting daily recruiting emails on my personal emails, and recently they started sending recruiting emails to my work address. I obviously never signed up for anything with that one, so they must be sourcing them from very shady people somewhere.

The recruiter refused to tell me where they sourced my work email from, but she said she'll remove it from their database.

Reply


@N_A_T_E 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

More like running out of people willing to work at existing conditions, salary and employment terms.

Reply


@rejor121 18 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Just remember; in big companies you’re nothing more than a cost, to be replaced by automation. They don’t want you.

Reply


@mrleinad 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Peter Zeihan on the labor shortage going into the next decade

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXp8Z7_Y4Bw

Reply


@rsynnott 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

> An HR manager told Pagan that there was nothing he could do about the termination but that Pagan should reapply for a job at the company in three months, per Amazon policy. “We would love you back in 90 days,” Pagan says the HR staff member told him.

This is _madness_.

Reply


@otikik 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

- wants to become “Earth’s Best Employer”

- tells drivers to pee in a bottle

Doesn’t compute

Reply


@HacklesRaised 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

I quit after orientation, spent the whole time arguing that their ten principles were contradictory, whilst the broken remnants of Microsoft's silicon valley campus sat there, happy to have whatever crumbs Amazon were throwing them. When I told my manager I wouldn't be staying, he congratulated me!! Your can see it in their products, mediocrity by design.

Reply


@nothrowaways 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

Increase wage. Problem solved.

Reply


@windex 19 days

Replying to @Umofomia 🎙

They are just running out of clique members to hire. I've had interviews at Amazon where the setup was hostile from get go, and it was evident the hiring team was looking to recruit their friends which they eventually probably did. All the other interviews are just padding/process tick marks for that one profile.

Reply


About Us

site design / logo © 2022 Box Piper