Amazon on mass Canadian hiring spree with 800 positions across 15 cities

An employee works the front reception at the the new Amazon office in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Amazon is in the midst of a mass hiring effort in Canada, seeking to fill over 800 full-time positions across 15 cities, nearly all for relatively high-paying corporate roles. The e-commerce giant has already hired over 200 new Canadian employees in the past 90 days.

The company is growing its advertising sales arm in Canada with a focus on selling video ads and increasing its cloud division Amazon Web Services (AWS) by almost half. Amazon is also boosting staff for its video-streaming service Amazon Prime Video and its voice-activated assistant Alexa, according to an analysis conducted by The Logic of 820 Amazon job postings on the company website and LinkedIn data on 225 recent hires.

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Amazon’s Canadian hiring has increased significantly in recent months, with 531 new positions posted since January and 116 in March as of publication time.

The company is rapidly expanding into the US$129-billion digital advertising market dominated by Google and Facebook. While Amazon’s total sales are small in comparison, The Information reported earlier this month that its ad business is growing faster than the two companies when they were at comparable sizes.

Amazon is looking to beef up its Canadian advertising division with 26 new positions. The job description for one Toronto-based sales account executive involves selling digital ads to “large advertisers and their ad agencies in Canada to successfully grow and scale the domestic revenues.”

Talking Point

Amazon is hiring for 820 roles in Canada across 15 cities.The e-commerce giant is looking to grow its advertising sales team, increase its cloud division by almost half, and boost staffing for its video-streaming service Amazon Prime Video.

The company is currently hiring for a Toronto-based video advertising role tasked with selling ads on and off its site. The job description includes a focus of selling to TV buyers at ad agencies. Bloomberg reported last week that the e-commerce giant was selling video spots on its smartphone shopping app.  

The advertising arm is also looking for a few more senior positions, including a Toronto-based senior marketing manager for the Americas, for which the job description requires an “accomplished marketing manager to develop the regional marketing plan for Canada and Mexico, and then execute against it.”

Almost half—or 401 of the 820 new Canadian positions for Amazon—are in AWS, which already employs 819 people, according to LinkedIn data. Those new roles will be largely split between Toronto and Vancouver.

“AWS in Canada is growing as more businesses, organizations, and governments use the cloud to better serve their customers and citizens,” said Jeffrey Kratz, general manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS) overseeing Canada and the worldwide public sector.

The hiring spree includes a number of AWS sales roles tasked with selling to specific parts of the Canadian market, including the video gaming industry, the non-profit sector in Ontario, small- to medium-sized businesses in Toronto and Vancouver and the 1000 largest companies in the east of Canada. To manage the influx of new people, AWS is hiring nine senior sales managers.

The positions are evidence of Amazon’s commitment to add 3,000 new jobs in Vancouver and another 600 new jobs in Toronto. The Vancouver announcement was made in April 2018  by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Toronto’s in December 2018 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

There are 209 open positions in Toronto, where the company already employs over 800 people, and 482 open positions in Vancouver, where it employs over 1,500.

Amazon has 40 open positions for jobs working on Alexa split between Vancouver and Toronto. Nine of the roles are management positions for divisions including smart homes and digital commerce.

The company has eight open roles for employees whose job descriptions include working with government clients, including three bilingual account manager positions tasked with assisting government clients in “Central and Eastern Canada.”

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In August 2018, The Logic reported Amazon had started lobbying for cloud services contracts worth billions from governments across Canada after the company shortlisted Toronto for HQ2. Between January 2018 and August 2018,  Amazon lobbied federal government officials 84 times, four times more than second-place lobbier Google. In the past six months, Amazon has kept up a healthy pace, lobbying federal officials 72 times. In comparison, Google lobbied 15 times over the same period.

The Canadian hiring push follows a difficult few months for Amazon’s U.S. expansion plans. In February, the company abandoned its effort to build a New York-based headquarters with 25,000 jobs and scaled back on plans to expand in Seattle.

Amazon has invested significant resources in expanding services to Canada in recent months. In February, the company more-than tripled the number of municipalities that can get one-day delivery from six to 19. In December 2018, the company announced a distribution centre in Edmonton. Amazon now has 11 distribution centres either complete or approved to be built in the country.

Many of the jobs outside Toronto and Vancouver are in cities near distribution centres, but few are for jobs in Amazon warehouses. In Montreal, the company is hiring an audio scientist “well-versed in cutting-edge signal processing and machine learning techniques.” In Winnipeg, Amazon is hiring a senior software engineer to work on rendering technology for “some of the largest Feature Film productions in the world.”

According to the company’s job postings, 64 of the 820 jobs are for Amazon’s distribution centres, where open positions include operations management roles, information technology positions and on-site medical representatives tasked with monitoring safety issues and providing first aid.