Amazon offering £3,000 bonuses in Christmas recruitment drive amid fears of labour shortages

Strategy causing consternation among smaller firms who face struggling to hire seasonal staff

Eleanor Sly
Tuesday 19 October 2021 09:04 BST
The size of the signing-on bonus offered to Amazon workers varies across the UK
The size of the signing-on bonus offered to Amazon workers varies across the UK (Getty Images)
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Online shopping giant Amazon is to offer one-off payments of up to £3,000 in an attempt to incentivise staff to work for them.

The retailer is looking to hire 20,000 people for positions across the UK in preparation for Christmas and over the festive season.

The news comes as fears of a shortage of workers has already caused other firms to warn that there could be problems in the run up to Christmas.

Amazon began offering a £1,000 signing-on bonus to recruit permanent staff in some parts of the UK as early as August.

The amount of money the firm is offering as a starting bonus varies depending on where in the UK the job is situated.

The company’s latest recruitment of workers has included a £3,000 bonus for full-time workers at sites such as its Exeter warehouse.

In Peterborough, a sign-up bonus of £1,500 is being offered to both new temporary and new permanent workers.

The Food and Drink Federation warned the incentives could serve a “knock-out blow” to smaller firms struggling to hire seasonal staff and would push up prices.

“There isn’t a vast reservoir of British workers just waiting to be fought over. It’s incredibly difficult to get Christmas staff labour in many areas,” chief executive Ian Wright told The Guardian.

Pay for Amazon’s temporary roles starts at a minimum of £10 per hour. This can rise to £11.10 in some parts of the UK.

In recent months, a shortage of workers in a range of sectors has led to huge disruption, delays in deliveries and waste.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the number of job vacancies reached 1.1 million between July and September 2021. This is the highest level since records began in 2001.

Sectors with the highest increase in available jobs are the retail sector and the sector for motor mechanics, according to the ONS.

The surge in jobs is thought to be linked to some overseas workers leaving the UK during the pandemic and also following Brexit.

As well as this, the furlough scheme, which will come to an end this month, has also kept some workers out of the job market.

In the United States, Amazon said on Monday it was intending to hire 150,000 seasonal workers during the holiday period to help with the surge in orders expected over the end-of-year shopping period.

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