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Amazon offers $4,000 bonus to entice UK workers




Amazon warehouse in Leeds, UK.

Nathan Sturk | Getty Images

The LONDON labor shortage forces UK businesses to raise wages to compete for workers, and Amazon is offering a signup bonus of up to 3,000 ($4,140) during the festival.

The e-commerce giant is currently advertising several positions with huge cash bonuses across the UK. One of the roles of a temporary warehouse worker in Exeter, UK offers a 3,000 onboarding bonus, while the London-based company offers a contract bonus of 2,000. Many other roles in Amazon’s UK warehouse are offering a welcome bonus of 1,500.

The basic hourly rate is 11.10 per hour in London, overtime can reach a maximum of 22.20. According to job site Indeed, the average wage for UK warehouse workers is 10.16 per hour.

Amazon’s aggressive employment drive reflects labor issues across industries across the UK.

The UK is estimated to be short of 100,000 truckers, which has resulted in disruptions to deliveries and empty store shelves, stockpiles in ports and gas stations. Meanwhile, industries including agriculture, warehousing, food processing and hospitality have all warned of a severe labor shortage.

Graham Sheen, secretary-general of the Bonded Warehousekeepers Association in the UK, told CNBC on Tuesday that there is a shortage of warehouse workers, especially since Brexit.

“If you’re entering from another country, you need to earn at least $26,000 to get a work visa,” he explained. “So they won’t go into the warehouse.”

Sheen noted that other companies in the warehouse business will likely need to reconsider what they offer their employees, given the bonuses and salaries that Amazon offers.

“It’s a lot of investment for them that other companies are trying to reach that level, but it’s something they have to invest in in the end, whether it’s a bonus or a pay raise,” he said.

Jobs rose to an all-time high of 1.1 million between July and September, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Many employers, such as Amazon, are offering financial incentives to attract employees. A survey of more than 400 UK HR directors released Wednesday by Indeed Flex found that nearly half of companies are raising wages faster than usual to address the workforce shortage.

Alpesh Paleja, chief economist at the Confederation of British Industry, representing 190,000 companies, told CNBC on Tuesday that the labor shortage remains a challenge in many parts of the UK economy.

“Employers are doing everything they can to alleviate this problem through targeted pay raises, increased investments in education, larger talent pools, and larger investments in digital and automation,” he said.

Small businesses struggling

Many smaller companies simply can’t throw money at the problem and are struggling to compete with Amazon when it comes to hiring.

Mike Cherry, president of the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK, said: “The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) who cite access to well-skilled staff as a barrier to growth is now at a high of 38% in five years. . CNBC via email on Tuesday.

Julia Kermode, founder of IWork, which represents temporary, freelance and gig economy workers, told CNBC that the labor shortage is so severe that Britain’s “army of temporary workers” cannot meet the demand.

Several companies across the UK have told CNBC they are having a hard time finding employees but can’t afford to raise wages after the pandemic.

Jo Bevilacqua, who owns a hair salon, said recruiting qualified and experienced staff has become impossible.

“A lot of people have left the industry during the COVID-19 period, not wanting to survive the ongoing lockdown or to deal with the pressures of the industry when it reopens,” she told CNBC in an email. “We invest a lot of time and money in employee training and incentives, but I’m worried about where the industry will go if more and more people leave looking for other opportunities. You can’t compete with a company like Amazon with a 3,000 welcome bonus.”

Adam Bamford, CEO of gift basket company Colleague Box, also told CNBC that he was under “overall” hiring pressure, especially for warehousing and packaging positions.

“As small businesses, we can’t afford to sign bonuses on short-term contracts. If you’re looking for a job, we understand why they take cash,” he said. “The bonus is often one or two months’ wages, and that includes the length of time we’re trying to hire, so you basically always have to pay twice as much.”

Flexibility and Ethics

Incentives other than salaries are also at work.

According to data from Indeed Flex, half of UK companies are focusing on non-financial perks like flexible working hours to attract potential new hires.

Chris Sanderson, CEO of hospitality recruitment app Limber, told CNBC on Tuesday that the pandemic has created a disconnect between employers and employees, leaving many businesses behind.

“For example, in the hospitality sector, companies have a lot of young people need after experiencing a pandemic: flexibility, diversity and control,” he said.

Kermode added: “It’s very competitive, and many small businesses don’t have the money to solve the problem. But money isn’t everything and not everyone wants to work with a company whose ethics and values ​​they agree on. A positive impact on the wider world. companies that have an impact.”




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