Leaked Document Shows How Amazon Ended Up Over-Listing Thousands of Jobs

Amazon headquarters, called The Spheres, in Seattle, Washington.
Amazon headquarters, called The Spheres, in Seattle, Washington.

After Amazon announced another round of layoffs affecting 9,000 employees earlier this week, a leaked document from inside the company revealed that listing too many job openings and subsequently over-hiring in some departments may have been a part of the problem.

A leaked document obtained by Insider reveals that Amazon put hiring power in the hands of managers, and that the company had little oversight on the hiring process until 2022. This apparently led managers to recruit and hire more employees than they were approved to. Insider cites a figure from the document: Amazon Web Services posted 24,988 job openings in 2022, but the department was only approved to recruit for 7,798 positions. The document addresses Amazon’s lack of governance as an issue that led to the disconnect between job listings and open positions.

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“This enabled over-hiring in certain cost centers and contributed to span of control and level ratio defects,” the leaked document said as quoted by Insider.

An anonymous former recruiting manager told Insider that Amazon’s lack of oversight in both job postings and the interview process led to over-hiring as managers tried to “squeeze people in where they could.” The source also told Insider that the job listings were meant to be actively filled. Amazon’s blasé attitude toward the hiring process could also be a signal that the company was riding the high of unsustainable pandemic-fueled growth, an attitude that has backfired as the company faces widespread layoffs.

“The conclusions Insider draws in their article are simply inaccurate,” Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, told Gizmodo in an email. “For example, while multiple requisitions may have been opened for a single role, it’s because we source candidates from a variety of geographic locations. And AWS has never over hired beyond their planned and approved headcount. Unfortunately, Insider made incorrect assumptions based on an anonymous source and a document that’s both outdated and taken out of context.”

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy announced on Monday that the company would be laying off 9,000 positions from departments like Amazon Web Services, human resources, advertising, and Twitch live streaming. These cuts are on top of the Amazon’s decision to cut 18,000 positions, which was announced earlier this year.

Update March 23 11:05 a.m. EST: This article was updated to include a response from Amazon.

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