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What Does Amazon's 37,000 Job Postings Say About Its Ambitions?

Image via Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

What do North Dakota, Boston and Iceland have in common? Not much, except they all have populations less than Amazon's total workforce. At the end of 2019, Amazon had 798,000 full- and part-time employees, which doesn't even include contractors.

With a global workforce that's large enough to make it the 18th-most populous U.S. city—between Indianapolis and coincidentally, Seattle, where it's headquartered, you would think Amazon has enough employees. Despite increasing headcount by more than 150,000 people last year, Amazon still had more than 37,000 job postings last week.

According to an Amazon spokesperson, that's the most job postings in 15 months and possibly, in the company's entire history. After surpassing a $1 trillion market capitalization for the second time ever last month, Amazon is continuing to invest in its future in the form of additional employees. Looking into the job postings provides some insight into Amazon's ambitions.

Not surprisingly, the job category in which Amazon has the most postings is in technology-related roles. The company has approximately 18,000 job postings in software development. Roles such as solutions architect, engineering, database administration, machine learning and data science are the most in-demand.

The next most popular job category, with nearly 6,000 job postings, is corporate functions. Jobs in this category include HR, finance and accounting, marketing and PR, legal and business intelligence. In a sign of Amazon's ability to leverage robotics in its distribution facilities, the company has less than 5,000 job postings for positions in fulfillment and operations management, which includes fulfillment/warehouse associate.

Looking at job postings by business category provides an even better insight into the company's priorities. Not surprisingly, Amazon Web Services (AWS) has more than 13,000 job postings, which represents more than 35% of the total job postings. AWS accounted for 12.5% of Amazon's total revenues and 63% of operating income in its most recent full year. Job postings relating to Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa, account for more than 3,500 openings. Interestingly, Amazon, which initially was a marketplace for books when it went into business back in 1994, has 114 job postings for Amazon books.

In terms of location, Amazon doesn't appear to have any intention to turn its back on its hometown of Seattle. The company has more than 50,000 job postings in the city, making it the location with the most job postings by far. Amazon, which has recently received criticism in India, has the second-most job postings in Bangalore, India, with more than 1,400 jobs posted. Vancouver, B.C. and London, England follow Bangalore with nearly 1,000 job postings in each city.

Amazon, which has long struggled to gain traction in China, the world's second-largest economy, has only 590 job postings in the country. Amazon discontinued its e-commerce operations in China in 2009. The world's most populous country accounts for such a small percentage of Amazon's overall sales that they don't even break them out in their financial statements.

Looking at Amazon's job postings is a great way to get an idea of where the company is focusing its resources. Despite Amazon's employee count growing exponentially, it still has a long way to go to catch up to its rival, Walmart, which is the largest U.S.-based private employer worldwide with more than 2 million employees.

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