LONDON: Amazon has said it will pay bonuses to attract temporary staff in the UK as it looks to recruit 20,000 seasonal workers ahead of the busy festive period.
The world’s biggest online retailer will offer one-off payments to beat the competition from other employers in regions where there is high demand for labour. Those willing to work nights will also receive extra pay, report agencies.
Britain has record job vacancies at more than one million, while the unemployment rate stands at 4.6 per cent, down from a pandemic peak of 5.2 per cent at the end of last year. A significant shortage of lorry drivers has left supermarket shelves empty and fuel supply issues have seen long queues of motorists at petrol stations.
Amazon’s latest bonus scheme follows on from the retailer’s £1,000 “golden hellos” unveiled in August to attract new warehouse workers as it battled to overcome the combined pressures of the UK’s recruitment crisis and boom in online shopping. Alongside the joining bonuses, the world’s fourth most valuable company was offering full-time and contract workers immediate starts, flexible hours and pay of up to £11.10 an hour for daytime shifts, doubling to £22.20 an hour for overtime.
For the first time, Amazon will now offer a similar sign-on bonus for seasonal workers, although it did not specify in which areas bonuses may be paid. Britain’s shortage of workers has led to delivery delays, with fashion retailer Next and grocer Iceland among companies talking of potential pre-Christmas disruption.
With the furlough scheme, the government’s main job support programme, ending on Thursday, more workers are expected to enter the market. About 12 million people have been on furlough, with some one million workers still supported by the scheme, which cost the government almost £70bn.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said any hope the end of the furlough scheme might be the magic wand to solve the supply chain crisis is likely to be wishful thinking.
“We are likely to be facing a rash of redundancies, and the increase in the number of available workers might ease some of the hiring issues, but there is likely to be a big mismatch of skills and experience between those ejected onto the jobseekers heap and the positions available”