Future of Work

Amazon has revealed plans to create more than 1,000 jobs in the UK in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge. At least 600 “highly skilled” roles will be added in Manchester working on software, machine learning and AWS, its cloud computing business.

The company will also create 250 and 180 jobs at its development centres in Edinburgh and Cambridge respectively. Doug Gurr, Amazon’s UK country manager, described the new roles as “Silicon Valley jobs in Britain”.

Liam Fox, the International Trade Secretary, said the new positions were an “enormous vote of confidence in the UK”.

Amazon will have about 27,500 employees in the UK by the end of this year, with 6,500 people in its corporate, AWS and R&D divisions.

That means more than 20,000 people work in its 17 “fulfilment centres”, or warehouses, and 40 delivery stations in the UK. Earlier this month Amazon came under fire for cutting benefits for UK warehouse workers, partly offsetting recent pay rises.

It has also reported more than 440 health and safety incidents at its UK warehouses since 2015, according to Freedom of Information requests submitted by the GMB union.

The new Manchester office will be located across 90,000 sq ft of space in the Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter.

They will work on projects including software development, machine learning and R&D and complement existing work at development centres in London, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

The development centre in Cambridge has teams working on the next generation of Amazon devices including Kindle and Echo; its drone delivery service Prime Air; and improving its virtual assistant Alexa to help it better understand different accents and handle more complex questions.

The new hires will bolster Amazon’s development centre in in the Waverley Gate building in Edinburgh, which was the company’s first R&D site outside North America.

Staff are working on advertising technology and personalised shopping recommendations so that customers are shown appropriate items from the 250 million products available on the site.

Last year Amazon opened a new UK head office and development centre in Shoreditch, East London. The company now has more than 100 buildings in the UK.

The e-commerce giant, founded by Jeff Bezos, briefly become the second US-listed firm after Apple to have a market value of more than $1 trillion last month. Since then its shares have lost ground, leaving the company worth $872bn.

Globally it employs more than 575,000 people – almost the same as Luxembourg’s population. Sales totalled close to $53bn for the three months to June, with a record quarterly profit of $2.5bn.

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