Amazon is offering new starters joining bonuses of up to £3,000 in an attempt to attract applicants in parts of the UK where there is high demand for workers.
An advert for a sortation operative role at the online retail giant’s Exeter warehouse offers a £3,000 bonus to those who start on a full-time basis before 30 October, as well as paid travel time from the Plymouth area.
Those who take up a permanent or temporary role in Peterborough can expect a £1,500 sign-up bonus, while temporary sorting staff in Weybridge, Surrey, are being offered £2,000.
In August Amazon began offering candidates a £1,000 bonus if they started a warehouse role, when in September it announced a £50 weekly bonus for permanent staff at some locations for turning up to work on time.
The UK is experiencing a chronic shortage of logistics staff, something that is expected to prove particularly challenging as the festive season draws closer.
Wage inflation and bonus payments being instigated by companies like Amazon in a bid to lure staff are concerning for smaller organisations, said Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association.
“This kind of action from Amazon will make it harder still for smaller companies who simply cannot afford such wages,” he told the BBC.
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said the bonuses were a “knock-out blow” for smaller companies, telling the Guardian: “There isn’t a vast reservoir of British workers just waiting to be fought over. It’s incredibly difficult to get Christmas staff labour in many areas.
“It will mean higher prices and fewer choices on shelves. Suppliers will almost certainly produce shorter runs of product and if they can, they will look at higher prices.”
Personnel Today has contacted Amazon for comment. It told the Guardian: “Amazon is hiring for seasonal positions across its UK network during the festive season. We are also currently offering a sign-on bonus at a number of locations to attract new permanent and seasonal associates.”