Amazon to Lay Off Hundreds of Corporate Employees

The online giant, which past year added almost 130,000 employees globally, will cut "a few hundred" positions in its Seattle headquarters, as well as hundreds more globally, the person said.

Amazon is laying off several hundred corporate employees in a rare shift of resources to other parts of its business, the Seattle Times reports.

Amazon now employs about 40,000 people in Seattle, and 560,000 worldwide. It created 130,000 jobs worldwide past year, not including the almost 90,000 it added with its acquisition of Whole Foods.

The layoffs, which began a few weeks back are reportedly a part of Amazon's strategy to trim its existing retail business and add jobs in rapidly-growing areas, for example, its Amazon Echo devices, digital entertainment and video, and the Amazon Web Services cloud business.

Cuts are likely to affect hundreds of jobs in the Seattle head office as well as hundreds more elsewhere. Its consumer units include its retail and marketplace businesses, and its food delivery service Amazon Restaurants. It has around 4,000 open positions in Seattle and approximately 12,000 positions globally.

"Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them", said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and chief executive, in a statement earlier this month. Amazon's workforce surged 66% a year ago, to 566,000 nationwide.

According to Amazon's careers page, it is now advertising 12,359 positions and 286 part-time positions, on a global scale. Its Amazon Go store concept - which recently opened in Seattle - involves no checkouts with all goods bought via an app.

The job cuts almost dents Amazon's workforce of half a million globally and in many areas they are still increasing the number of employees.

It has also said it would hire 50,000 more at its second headquarters, which it is now scouting a home for. Last year, Amazon introduced a career coaching program, called Pivot, described as a tool to help lower performers make it through such programs.

In the UK, Amazon has also been on a rampant hiring drive over the past year.

The layoffs are primarily focused on Amazon's consumer retail businesses, The Seattle Times reported.

Previous consolidations at the company have led to lay-offs in some areas.

Some employees say these workforce changes are all happening on a backdrop of stress and fear as supervisors and groups are under increased scrutiny.

Vanessa Coleman