Amazon.com is hosting a job fair today in an attempt to fill 50,000 warehouse positions by hiring people on the spot in some of the U.S. cities that host its largest operation hubs. The retailer announced last weekend that it would host job fairs in places like Baltimore and Buffalo, New York for full-time and part-time jobs in its fulfillment centers. From 8.a.m to noon, Amazon will tour prospective employees around the warehouse facilities, interview them for the roles available, and, if successful, offer them the job on the spot. Twenty percent, around 10,000, of the jobs will be part-time positions. The jobs available involve picking, packing and shipping Amazon's products.
Total Retail's Take: While the negative consequences of the growing popularity of online shopping have been well-documented — declining brick-and-mortar sales, an increase in retail bankruptcies and store closures, and the subsequent loss of jobs at those stores — there are positives to the trend as well, chief among them an increased need for warehouse workers. Distribution centers are being built across the country as online retailers compete with Amazon to get their products to customers quickly, and those DCs need to be staffed by workers to pick, pack and ship the orders. And as Amazon continues to grow, so does its need to hire workers to fulfill its online orders. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that retail jobs have grown by 1.5 million since the beginning of 2010. So don't believe the reports that the retail industry is dying. Yes, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers certainly face challenges, but stores, and the industry as a whole, are far from going away.