Amazon boss Andy Jassy says he doesn’t regret the aggressive pandemic hiring spree even though it has now led to mass lay-offs.

He said: “This year we had the lens of a very uncertain economic environment, as well as having hired aggressively over the last several years.”

He said the firm’s goal has been to do its businesses “thoughtfully but thoroughly” without compromising on “key long-term” bets.

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However, he defended Amazon’s aggressive recruiting during the pandemic, saying that the firm’s retail business increased at an “unprecedented” rate in 2020. 

He added: “It forced us to make decisions at that time to spend a lot more money and to go much faster in building infrastructure than we ever imagined we would.”

The firm is now reducing jobs across its corporate ranks, which might hit 10,000 people or three percent of the corporate workforce.

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A large number of those layoffs targeted Amazon’s devices unit, which has long been dominated by the Alexa brand.

The unit had expanded to more than 10,000 staff but had been losing more than $5 billion a year.

Mr. Jassy also again reaffirmed the company’s reasons for opposing staff unionization.

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He mentioned that it might impede product or business growth and underlined that Amazon pays its employees well.

Mr. Jassy, who was appointed CEO of Amazon in July 2021, has conducted a big cost-cutting review and has focused on unprofitable businesses.

While Amazon has indicated its commitment to Alexa’s future, executives have considered whether the firm should focus on adding features to the program, which would need more investment.

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Mr. Jassy announced the cuts two weeks ago, after many staff raised confusion over which divisions would be affected and how deep the cuts would go.

Mr. Jassy stated at the time that Amazon’s layoffs will continue into next year and that they were “the most difficult decision we’ve made” during his tenure.

Mr. Jassy added Amazon will continue to review its staff levels and investment.

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With the start of the holiday season, Amazon is entering its busiest sales period of the year.

The corporation announced on Wednesday, November 30, that Thanksgiving weekend was its “biggest ever,” but gave little details.

It said customers bought massive amounts of products between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, helping it to generate over $1 billion in sales for small businesses in the US.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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