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Amazon UK: We're hiring 3,000 Xmas temps? Make that 10,000

Army of Bezos' little helpers is looking swell

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Amazon UK has tripled the number of temp box packers it will hire in the Christmas run-up: 10,000 short-term packaging jobs will now be created at the company's UK shipment centres.

Amazon has eight so-called fulfilment centres in Rugeley, Hemel Hempstead, Milton Keynes, Doncaster, Peterborough, Dunfermline, Inverclyde and Swansea. The new headcount increase, heralded by Amazon yesterday, is more than three times the 3,000 Xmas jobs figure revealed three weeks ago in the announcement of three new UK distribution sites.

2,000 permanent packing jobs will be created, Amazon said, with the festive temp workers getting first preference. The base in Hemel Hempstead will employ 600 of the new permanent staff.

Any new jobs in Blighty are good to have, but Amazon ones aren't always much fun.

Last Christmas Amazon UK shipped more than 2,100,000 units in a 24-hour period – that's 1,124 tonnes of goods – and delivery trucks left their fulfilment centres once every two minutes and 45 seconds.

Around Blighty, Amazon also has an HQ in Slough and a development centre in Edinburgh, and recently touted new-media premises in East London which draws together teams from acquisitions LoveFilm and PushButton; the hub will employ 100 new people.

The Jeff Bezos-led bazaar wouldn't tell us how many employees it has in the UK in total. The Seattle-based company has 56,000 full-time workers worldwide.

Keeping Amazon's inventory and shipping operations running is one of its biggest challenges: the web giant's latest financial filing for Q2 2012 revealed that juggling and storing goods is one of the biggest threats to Amazon's profitability:

If we do not adequately predict customer demand or otherwise optimize and operate our fulfillment centers successfully, it could result in excess or insufficient inventory or fulfillment capacity, result in increased costs, impairment charges, or both, or harm our business in other ways.

It continued:

As we continue to add fulfillment and warehouse capability or add new businesses with different fulfillment requirements, our fulfillment network becomes increasingly complex and operating it becomes more challenging.

And the heavy weighting of Amazon sales towards Christmas causes some headaches too: the firm's top bosses said in the filing: "The seasonality of our business places increased strain on our operations." ®

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