Amazon to hire 30,000 workers at job fairs in 6 cities on September 17

/ CBS/AP

Amazon is going on a hiring spree. The online shopping giant will hold six job fairs across the country, with the goal of filling more than 30,000 vacant jobs by early 2020.

The jobs range from software engineers, who can earn more than $100,000 a year, to warehouse workers who are paid at least $15 an hour to pack and ship online orders. The job fairs will be held on Sept. 17 in Arlington, Virginia; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Nashville, Tennessee; and its hometown of Seattle.

Amazon said all of the openings are for full time positions and come with benefits. And the company said the openings are not related to the usual increase in hiring it does to prepare for the busy holiday shopping season.

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At the end of 2018, Amazon employed about 650,000 workers, excluding temporary workers and seasonal workers, according to its annual report. That makes it the the second-biggest private employer in the U.S., after Walmart.

The current number of job openings is the highest it's ever had at one time. The job fairs will take place in cities where the retailer thinks it can find the strongest talent. The company is calling it "Amazon Career Day," and set up a website with more details: www.amazon.jobs/careerday.

"I encourage anyone willing to think big and move fast to apply for a job with us," said Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, in a statement to The Associated Press. "You'll get to invent and see Amazon making even bolder bets on behalf of our customers."

Tight labor market

The job fairs are a sign of the tight job market. With unemployment near a 50-year low, employers have to work harder to fill empty positions. Recently, Amazon said it would turn to its own employees to find more tech-savvy workers, offering to retrain 100,000 employees, or a third of its U.S. workforce, and help them switch to more technical jobs, like software engineering.

Started as an online bookstore more than two decades ago, Amazon now produces movies, makes voice-activated gadgets and has plans to send satellites into space to provide internet service. Its rapid growth hasn't come without controversy, with labor groups and other activists calling out the e-commerce giant during Prime Day on issues including work conditions, climate change and its ties to U.S. government moves to deport immigrants.

At the same time, Amazon is also building a second headquarters in Arlington, which it expects to employ 40,000 people in the next several years.

The company hopes the hiring events will create some buzz and bring in candidates with the skills it needs. Thousands of people showed up for nationwide job fairs it held two years ago for warehouse workers.

At the hiring events next week, Amazon said about 1,000 recruiters will help candidates apply for the jobs, prepare them for job interviews and give them more information on the roles.

First published on September 9, 2019 / 8:57 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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