LONDON — As the pandemic has fundamentally changed retail as we know it, Amazon has vowed to create 10,000 new permanent roles across the U.K. in 2020, taking its total permanent U.K. workforce to more than 40,000.
The e-commerce platform has already added 3,000 jobs across its network of fulfillment centers, sort centers, and delivery stations in the U.K this year, and the other 7,000 jobs will be placed in more than 50 sites, including corporate offices and two new fulfillment centers launching in the fall in the Northeast and in the Midlands.
In addition, Amazon is creating more than 20,000 seasonal positions across the U.K. ahead of the holiday season.
Engineers, graduates, human resources and IT professionals, health and safety and finance specialists are among the new roles the company is looking to hire, as well as the fast-growing teams who will pick, pack and ship customer orders to meet growing customer demand.
The company said it had offered temporary roles to thousands of people whose jobs were impacted at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of whom will now be able to transition into a permanent role with the potential for a career within Amazon.
Stefano Perego, vice president of European customer fulfillment at Amazon, said: “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.”
Amazon also said it has recruited more than 700 apprentices during 2020, helping young people begin their careers in fields ranging from automation engineering and information technology to digital marketing and fashion buyers, with pay of up to 30,000 pounds a year for degree-level apprenticeships.
In stark contrast to Amazon’s expansion, the U.K. vacancy rate is now at its highest since January 2014. It rose in July 2020 to 10.8 percent from 9.8 percent in January 2020, and by far the greatest increase of nearly two-thirds occurred in Greater London, according to data and intelligence agency Springboard.
“The reality of the new normal has already started to bite,” said Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director at Springboard. “The importance of large cities in the ongoing evolution of brick-and-mortar retailing needs to be emphasized.”
Due to the government’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme, August retail footfall in the U.K. continued to strengthen for the third consecutive month, with a drop of 30.8 percent from last year. But the rate of improvement was only around half that in June and July 2020 when nonessential retail stores and hospitality reopened following the lockdown.
Smaller high streets and coastal towns performed better than the national average, because of home working and local shopping, and a summer of stay-cations due to travel restrictions.