Amazon to hire more than 40,000 workers, host virtual career fair in its latest job spree

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Amazon is hiring for more than 40,000 corporate and tech roles throughout the United States as well as thousands of operation roles during its upcoming virtual career fair, the tech giant announced Wednesday. 

The event is part of a larger push by Amazon to fill 55,000 roles in those sectors globally in the coming months, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told Reuters. The new hires would represent a 20% increase in Amazon's tech and corporate staff, CNBC reported

Amazon Career Day will be held on September 15 and is free to attend. Applicants of all experience levels and fields are encouraged to sign up. Amazon recommends attendees pre-register online for the event, but there is no official cut off date to do so.

This will be Amazon's third annual Career Day, which pivoted to a virtual format last year in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Williams said they received nearly 450,000 applications following last year's event, a number they hope to surpass in 2021. 

Amazon's latest hiring spree "is really fueled by the unprecedented customer demand we've seen [during the Covid-19 pandemic]," Ardine Williams, Amazon's vice president of workforce development, tells CNBC Make It. The company has hired more than 450,000 people in the United States since the beginning of the pandemic, and is now the country's largest job-creator.

Faced with a reopening economy and competitive labor market, Amazon has invested in higher wages and new benefits, including free mental health counselling, to attract workers. 

"The pandemic turned entire industries on their head," Williams says. "We saw unprecedented unemployment, and then jobs came back, or changed … industries have had to adapt." Amazon's starting wage is $15 an hour, but for some states, the minimum wage is $17 an hour, she adds.

Amazon had previously hyped its "office-centric" model and planned to bring most U.S. employees back by the fall, however, last month the tech giant said it's postponing a return to the office for corporate employees until January 2022 due to rising Covid-19 cases. 

During the virtual career fair, attendees will have the chance to participate in 1-on-1 career coaching sessions with Amazon recruiters as well coding workshops led by Amazon software development engineers and a "How to Interview at Amazon" breakout session. 

Several speakers will be joining the event to share their best career tips including Jassy, best-selling author David Epstein and Carla Harris, Morgan Stanley's vice chairman of global wealth management. 

"If, like millions of other Americans, you're considering a career change, now is a great time to really take a look at what you want to do and make sure your resume reflects the knowledge, skills and capabilities you have," Williams says. "If you've been working remotely, too, odds are you haven't spent  much time with people in person — so it's important to dust off your interview skills." 

Beyond introducing people to open jobs at Amazon, Williams hopes the virtual event helps workers learn about new, emerging career paths and technologies so they feel empowered to "make that next step in their career, whether it's to advance in their field or pivot to a new one." 

As for the kind of talent Amazon is looking for, "it's a place for people who are curious, who like to collaborate, roll their sleeves up and come to invent," Williams says. "It's for people who are entrepreneurial, those who are curious about solving problems and building creative solutions."

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