The Amazon U.S. fulfillment network consists of more than 40 fulfillment centers and over 80 million cubic feet of storage capacity. More than 20,000 full-time Amazon employees work in these fulfillment centers. We created more than 5,000 full-time jobs across our fulfillment centers in July–and we're hiring more.
Fulfillment Center Pay
Median pay inside our fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than that of people who work in traditional retail stores--and that doesn't even include the stock grants that full-time employees receive. We also offer full-time benefits including healthcare.
As a way of finding high-quality permanent employees and to manage variation in customer demand, we also employ seasonal associates. On average, seasonal associates earn 94% of Amazon permanent starting wages. During the holidays, seasonal associates play a critical role in helping meet increased demand from customers. In 2012, we converted thousands of seasonal associates into full-time employees.
Career Choice Program
We offer our employees innovative programs like Career Choice, where we pre-pay up to 95% of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program’s launch, employees are pursuing degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few. Top chosen fields of study for Amazon employees are computer and information technology, health and sciences, and accounting.
At Amazon, we support local and national nonprofits with cash and product donations. Some of our recent contributions include providing 895 Kindle e-readers to schools helping special needs students to enhance reading and learning opportunities in classrooms across the U.S. We have also provided grants to more than 200 local community organizations. You can learn more at www.amazon.com/giving.
Military Veteran Hiring
We actively recruit U.S. military veterans to join our organization, and hundreds have careers in our fulfillment network. This year alone, we hired more than 1,200 veterans.
Last year our team of military recruiters, made up of veterans from all branches of the armed forces, attended more than 100 events--from job fairs at U.S. military bases to events like RecruitMilitary and Military Stars Career Expo--to help veterans find job opportunities at Amazon.
Once employed at Amazon, we offer military veterans several programs that help them transition more easily into the civilian workforce and connect them with our significant internal network of veterans to provide mentoring and support. More information about the program is available here.
Fulfillment Center Safety
The top priority of our fulfillment center network is safety--it's safer to work in the Amazon fulfillment network than in a department store. We measure progress on safety using the "recordable incidence rate," which is the primary metric defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency that oversees workplace safety. This rate represents the number of recordable injuries and illnesses per 100 full-time employees (permanent and seasonal) per year. Work-related injuries and illnesses are recordable if they result, for example, in medical treatment beyond first aid, restricted work activity, or days away from work. The average rates in North American Fulfillment Centers over the past three years are 55% lower than general warehousing, 34% lower than department stores, and 67% lower than automotive manufacturing facilities.
Kaizen and Defect Reduction
We continuously work to streamline our processes and eliminate defects. Doing so drives a better customer experience, including faster delivery and lower costs that enable lower prices for customers. We use many systematic methods to make work processes easier and more efficient, including the "Kaizen" program, named for the Japanese term meaning "change for the better". Through the Kaizen program, employees participate in small teams to identify waste and streamline processes. So far in 2013, more than 2,800 associates have participated in 674 Kaizen activities. For example, a team at Amazon’s Hazelton, Pennsylvania, fulfillment center recently developed a new palletizing process that reduced the number of process steps by 25 percent. The solution is estimated to produce an annual savings in excess of $300,000.
We strive for continuous improvement, and we understand that our progress depends on good execution and good judgment from thousands of employees. Together, we're working hard to make sure that we are better tomorrow than we are today.