Amazon announced last week it wanted to— and a whopping 208,000 people applied, the ecommerce giant said Wednesday in touting the success of a recent recruitment drive it held in six cities as part of the hiring spree.
Thousands of job-seekers flocked to one of those employment fairs this week in Arlington County, Virginia, the planned site of one of up to two new U.S. headquarters. And while the company earlier this year bailed from New York City as the site of one of those hubs amid fierce local opposition, attendees at the Virginia event seemed more receptive.
"I think it's very interesting that they are making a second headquarters in the same country, and it's definitely going to make a lot of jobs," said Robert Agans, a recent college graduate who attended the job fair.
Drea George, another recent college grad who lives in the area, was also enthused, saying she was eager to meet some current Amazon employees at the show and learning more about the company's culture.
Wide range of jobs
While construction hasn't started on Amazon's Arlington County "HQ2," the company previously said it plans to create 400 jobs in the city this year and a total of 25,000 over the next decade or so. Current openings in Arlington County include recruiters, product managers, software engineers, identity engineers and data center technicians, Ardine WIlliams, vice president of workforce development at Amazon, told CBS MoneyWatch.
Amazon's job portal also shows openings in a range of areas, including sales, technical writing and compliance auditing, just to name a few.
"We're looking for people who are creative, who are innovative, who like to work together to invent on behalf of our customers," Williams said.
Amazon, which launched in 1994, has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, powered by the explosive growth in online shopping. The company now has a global workforce of more than 650,000 full- and part-time employees, up from 56,000 in 2011. It operates across more than 40 states in the U.S.
As the local pushback Amazon got in New York City shows, that rapid expansion has often drawn fire for what critics say are harsh working conditions, modest entry-level pay for many workers and lack of transparency regarding its plans to fight global warming. Some employees have pledged to join this Friday's planned "Global Climate Strike."
Even for a place like Arlington County, with a population 240,000, another consideration is the impact of thousands of workers moving into the area. Home prices in some Virginia suburbs close to the planned Amazon facility, a trend that's been dubbed the "Amazon effect" for the company's impact on local housing markets. One recent analysis showed that Arlington County and nearby Alexandria, Virginia, are now the country's most competitive housing markets.
"This particular corridor is already congested, so I'm kind of wondering how those plans are going to work out," said Niana Battle, who lives about 20 miles north of Arlington County.
But Craig Newman, who also lives in the area, said he's looking forward to the increase in commuters. "One of the jobs I'm working at now is an Uber driver. I hope Amazon comes to the area and brings in a lot more traffic."