The New York Times‘ highly critical piece of Amazon set off a firestorm earlier this year about the tech giant’s human resource practices. Reporters Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld describe a highly-competitive, rigid, even exploitative work environment, with disgruntled former employees detailing the pressure to conform as “Amabots.”
Yet free markets are remarkable at separating the wheat from the chaff in any endeavor, including employers. New data analysis from tech consultant Jan Dawson shows how The Gray Lady’s premise of a white-collar sweat shop doesn’t match up with hiring trends. Through Q3 2015, Amazon’s headcount was up 49 percent year-over-year. Many of those workers are in fulfillment centers, which generally aren’t as high-skilled as many traditional Silicon Valley workers. Yet the higher-skilled workers are helping propel this growth across the firm, enabling consumers to win through Amazon’s rock bottom prices and high-quality, rapid service (full disclosure: I’m an avid user of Amazon Prime).
The tech industry generally is an employee’s market, and The New York Times has done its readers a disservice by failing to accurately portray the underlying economics behind Amazon’s culture.
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