An untold story about Amazon's workforce is the high turnover rate even before the virus pandemic, according to a new report from The New York Times.
Many of the over 350,000 workers Amazon hired in 2020 stayed with the company for just a couple of weeks.
"Even before the pandemic, previously unreported data shows, Amazon lost about 3 percent of its hourly associates each week, meaning the turnover among its work force was roughly 150 percent a year. That rate, almost double that of the retail and logistics industries, has made some executives worry about running out of workers across America," NYT said.
Even after Amazon's massive hiring spree last year (read here & here) - the e-commerce giant recently began to offer $1,000 signing bonuses to new employees as executives worried about running out of hirable employees.
The convenience of on-demand products, delivered in hours to a few days, comes at a considerable cost as the company churns through workers like it does orders.
The company treats its workers like robots. So, for example, there's an automated system that we've spoken about, which monitors and tracks employees' productivity around warehouses.
The pandemic exposed how badly Amazon treated its employees as it overworked them and neglected to enforce health measures early in the pandemic. The company hired hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom lost their jobs, once servers, actors, and teachers. As the economy reopens, many have returned to their old jobs or quit Amazon because of the harsh working conditions. Under the Biden administration, slaving away for $15 in a warehouse doesn't cut it anymore as many folks left work to collecting government benefits.
Paul Stroup, a former Amazon data science who studied the company's hourly workforce, told NYT that he became frustrated with the company after there was no plan to retain workers for long-term periods. He compared the churn of workers to using fossil fuels.
"We keep using them," Stroup said, "even though we know we're slowly cooking ourselves."
The high churn rate makes Amazon anything but sustainable, even though investors consider the company to have a high ESG mark.