Amazon said Thursday it would offer to pay 100% of the tuition fees of its 750,000 hourly U.S. employees.
The e-commerce giant is following other big U.S. companies in offering perks like education benefits or higher wages to lure workers into the tight labor market.
As of January 2022, Amazon said it will cover tuition, fees, and textbooks for hourly employees in its operating network after 90 days of employment. It will also begin to cover high school diploma programs, GED and ESL certification for employees. Operations employees include employees from Amazon’s extensive warehouse and distribution center network.
Amazon said the benefit would be applicable to hundreds of educational institutions across the country. Amazon previously offered to pay 95% of tuition, fees and textbooks for hourly associates through its Career Choices program.
Rival retailers, including Walmart and Target, have also increased their education benefits in recent months. In August, Target launched a program that covers the cost of associate’s and bachelor’s degrees at some schools. Walmart said in July that it would pay 100% of tuition and books for Walmart and Sam’s Club affiliates.
As the job market has become more competitive, Amazon is increasing the incentives to attract workers. In some parts of the country, Amazon is offering a sign-in bonus of up to $ 3,000 for new employees.
Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky told analysts and investors after the company’s second quarter earnings report in July that the competitive job market was heading for higher costs.
“We spend a lot of money on signings and incentives, and although we have very good staffing levels, it comes at a cost,” Olsavsky said. “It’s a very competitive job market.
Amazon has launched a hiring wave to recruit 500,000 employees in 2020 since the start of the pandemic.
In May, Amazon announced that it was hiring 750,000 workers in its warehouse and distribution networks in the United States and Canada. Jobs is offering a starting salary of $ 17 an hour, reflecting a recent pay hike that has pushed wages up from 50 cents to $ 3 an hour for more than half a million of its operational workforce in the United States.