In the past year, Amazon has beefed up its hiring by 31% to 154,100 employees, when you factor in both full-time and part-time workers (not contract or seasonal workers).
Of course, Amazon has a famously huge workforce in its warehouse fulfillment centres.
But lately, it’s been turning to robots instead of humans for help there.
Amazon unveiled its 8th generation fulfillment center which utilizes robotics, vision systems, and almost 20 years worth of software and mechanical innovations to fulfil customer orders. During the holiday season, the fulfillment network included more than 15,000 robots in 10 fulfillment centres across the U.S.
These are from the robotics company, Kiva Systems, Amazon bought for $US775 million in 2012.
Amazon’s headcount again exceeded Microsoft, one of the other huge employers in Seattle. Amazon became a bigger employer in late 2013. But just for kicks we looked it up. After the layoffs, Microsoft is at nearly 123,000 employees, although it doesn’t have the kind of part-time warehouse staff that Amazon uses.
And as far as robots, it doesn’t look as if Microsoft employs many of them, either. It shut down its robotics group, a unit developing robotic tech, in September as part of its restructuring.
And although Bill Gates believes that robots are going to be a game-changing tech in every home like the PC was, he is also concerned at how many jobs will soon be lost to robots, too.
Here’s what Amazon’s latest Kiva robot factory workers look like in action:
And here’s the full video of the Kiva bots in action:
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.