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‘Amazon Effect’: Companies in several industries fight for employees being wooed by internet retail giant

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:46 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:37 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Local employers desperately looking to hire are competing, not only with each other for staff, but also with one particular candidate magnet: Amazon.

It seems most other employers can’t stack up to the package Amazon is offering to prospective employees right now, and the “Amazon Effect” is trickling down to all kinds of unrelated industries.

“Everybody knows Amazon’s name. They come in seasonally and go through these big pushes and they’re a disruptor. They’re a game changer that everybody now has to contend with,” said Neil Stallard, CEO of The Reserves Network, a local staffing agency.

The global retail giant is making a splash with higher pay and bigger incentives than just about anybody else in the job market right now, according to Stallard.

“Now we’re taking our lead from Amazon. It’s absolutely disruptive,” he said.

But Jenna Powers, director of recruiting for Amazon, says they’re raising the bar and raising standards.

“We continue to invest heavily in both our current work force as well as pay and benefits that we think are going to continue to bring the best and the brightest into the company,” she said in an interview with 19 News.

During their recent career day, Powers was making the push to fill 40,000 open technology rolls, and 125,000 rolls open within their operations network.

The fulfillment center offers $15 per hour, or double minimum wage, and health benefits from day one, plus 20 weeks of paid parental leave.

According to Ohio Means Jobs, there are roughly 8,000 open positions in Ohio’s food service alone, paying an average of $33,000 a year.

The transportation industry needs 19,000 people in Ohio right now, and is paying an average of $35,000 a year now.

Construction companies and related trades currently have 19,000 openings, and are now paying and average $51,000 per year.

“We’re also incredibly proud of our upscaling benefits that we are offering for people who are currently working for the company. We’ve got a $1.2 billion investment. We’ll pay 100% of college tuitions,” said Powers.

But not everyone is easily sold on joining and staying on the Amazon team.

“I used to work there, then started venturing off into different temp services,” said former Amazon employee, Darrell Taylor.

He says he got tired of the work and took a leave at the beginning of the pandemic. He only started working again, elsewhere, this month.

“What kept me home was, it was just like, when I was putting in applications, jobs were not paying what I was making at Amazon and I had bills,” he said, referring to other positions offering about $12 an hour with a significant commute.

“For a mid-market company or a small ‘mom and pop-type’ of shop, how do you compete with that?,” asked Stallard.

He says the volume game Amazon plays puts them at a distinct advantage when it comes to getting the word out.

“You don’t get anywhere near the exposure, even if you were offering something similar,” he said.

Even if Amazon isn’t for you, you may still benefit from the pressure the “Amazon Effect” has had on other industries.

“I would say to get out that resume, dust off that resume and polish it up because I think it is a great time to begin a new role,” said Powers.

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