E-COMMERCE 

Whole Foods prepares for Amazon-like hiring spree 

Posted November 1st, 2017

As one of the world’s biggest employers, Amazon has become known for its large hiring sprees: On Aug. 2, it attempted to hire 50,000 warehouse workers in a national “Amazon Jobs Day” event.

Now, a similar tactic is being tried by Amazon’s newly acquired Whole Foods Market. 

The Austin-based grocer says it plans to hire 6,000 workers on Thursday at its U.S. stores, with dozens of positions being offered in the Austin metro area.

“The event includes full-time and part-time opportunities for both seasonal and permanent positions, including cashiers, culinary experts and prepared foods specialists,” Whole Foods said in a written statement. “Candidates can visit any Whole Foods Market store on November 2 and receive an interview, with opportunities for on-the-spot job offers.”

The hiring event is particularly interesting given the predictions market analysts have raised about Amazon possibly looking to replace some Whole Foods workers through automation. 

Last year, Amazon launched “Amazon Go,” a small grocery store line where checkout counters don’t exist and customers pay through an Amazon phone app. After Amazon and Whole Foods announced their $13.7 billion deal in June, analysts were quick to say that Amazon could build similar services at Whole Foods more than 460 stores.

But for now, Amazon and Whole Foods appear to be interested in upping the grocer’s headcount, adding to the roughly 87,000 people Whole Foods already employs. 

Whole Foods is looking to hire 291 positions at its Texas stores, with 78 being in the Austin area, according to the grocer’s website. Whole Foods did not respond to requests Wednesday for additional comment regarding its hiring event. 

Candidates have the option to apply through Whole Foods’ website or visit the store. With the national unemployment rate at 4.2 percent, the grocer has been promoting its various benefits to lure candidates.

Amazon reported last week that its employee headcount has grown about 77 percent during the past year to 540,000 full and part-time workers, only behind Wal-Mart. Part of that rise, Amazon's chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said recently, was through the company’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Amazon, which has already added some Whole Foods products to its online store, will continue to integrate the grocer more with products such as Amazon Prime and AmazonFresh, Olsavsky said. He also said Amazon would explore different Whole Foods store formats. 

As part of its quarterly earnings report on Oct. 26, Amazon singled out some specific Whole Foods figures, saying the grocer added $1.3 billion to the company’s net sales and $21 million in operating income. Key figures that Whole Foods had been struggling with before the acquisition, such as comparable store sales, were not reported.

Comments