Amazon.com has increased its average starting wage in the United States to more than $18 an hour and plans to hire another 125,000 warehouse and transportation workers.
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer has raised pay from an average of around $17 since May. In some locations, the company is giving signing bonuses of $3,000, said Dave Bozeman, vice president of Amazon Delivery Services, or triple what the company offered four months ago.
Bozeman attributed Amazon’s latest compensation increase to competition. Amazon did not give exact figures, but a $1 raise on a $17-per-hour wage would amount to a hike of about 6 percent.
Amazon, now the second-biggest U.S. private employer, set a $15 an hour minimum wage in 2018. Walmart recently touted average hourly wages of $16.40. Walgreens Boots Alliance would raise its minimum to $15 in October.
Amazon would maintain its $15 an hour base pay. Benefits like funding college tuition for workers and starting wages as high as $22.50 in some areas distinguished the online retailer from peers.
Andy Jassy, who succeeded Bezos, said in a CNBC interview that aired on Tuesday that the United States ought to raise the federal minimum wage.
Amazon is hiring workers to help run 100 logistics facilities launching this month in the United States, on top of more than 250 that opened earlier this year. Some workers will aid in Amazon’s long-in-the-works effort to roll out one-day delivery for Prime loyalty club members.
The company’s external delivery service partners aim to hire another 50,000 workers by year-end, too, Amazon said.
Nicole Bilich, a human resources manager, said competitive pay has brought in applicants for her Stockton, California, warehouse, which Amazon plans to launch in October. But hiring 2,200 people in three to four months is no simple matter.
“The biggest challenge we have is really just the numbers of people we need,” she said.