Amazon.com Inc. is more than doubling the maximum base salary it pays employees to $350,000 from $160,000.
“This past year has seen a particularly competitive labor market, and in doing a thorough analysis of various options, weighing the economics of our business and the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent, we decided to make meaningfully bigger increases to our compensation levels than we do in a typical year,” the company told employees Monday in a memo reviewed by Bloomberg.
Amazon also said it was increasing the compensation ranges of most jobs globally and is changing the timing of stock awards to align with promotions.
Like many big employers, Amazon has struggled to hire and retain workers of late. The company has long relied on stock awards, betting it can entice workers to take positions even if the base pay is low. But the stock languished in 2021, gaining just 2.4% while the S&P 500 jumped 27%, and the strategy began to lose its appeal. Media reports indicate the turnover rate inside Amazon has reached crisis levels, and a record 50 vice presidents departed last year.
Amazon’s salary hike was reported earlier by Insider.
The e-commerce giant employed 1.6 million globally as of Dec. 31, including warehouse workers who are paid hourly and office staff who earn annual salaries. Amazon declined to say how many employees would receive the bump in pay announced on Monday.
Amazon pays warehouse workers at least $15 an hour and in September said it had raised average wages for these employees to $18 an hour. During the pandemic, the company has spent heavily on its logistics operation, hiring hundreds of thousands of people and paying bonuses to new recruits.
Investors have been warily watching Amazon’s rising costs and expressed relief when the company reported a strong fourth quarter last week and said an annual Prime subscription would rise $20 to $139. The shares soared almost 14% on Friday and were up another 1% to $3,174.47 at 1:35 p.m. Monday in New York.