technology

Amazon Extends U.K. Hiring Spree as Brexit Uncertainty Lingers

  • Retailer to add 2,500 jobs in 2018, boosting British force 10%
  • Expansion plans come amid heightened political instability
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Amazon.com Inc. plans to expand its U.K. workforce by 10 percent this year, despite continued uncertainty over what Brexit will mean for the British economy.

The online retailing giant will create 2,500 British jobs in areas from machine learning to customer service, Amazon said in a statement. The company added 5,000 U.K. workers last year.

“We’re committed to the U.K.,” Doug Gurr, Amazon’s head for the country, said Wednesday at a press briefing. “It’s a very important consumer market and a fantastic source of talent.”

With nine months until the nation is scheduled to leave the European Union, businesses say they have little visibility into what Britain’s future trading relationship with the bloc will look like. Some are adding facilities in Europe to prepare for potential supply-chain bottlenecks, and conservative rebels are calling on Prime Minister Theresa May to abandon her plan to take the U.K. out of the single market.

Supermarket chains Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc have cut thousands of jobs amid the Brexit questions, while Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar Land Rover, Britain’s biggest carmaker, slashed 1,000 jobs earlier this year. CEO Jamie Dimon has said JPMorgan Chase & Co. may cut more than 4,000 U.K. jobs if a suitable Brexit deal isn’t reached.

Against a backdrop of retail bankruptcies and restructurings, Amazon’s U.K. revenue grew by 19 percent to $11.4 billion last year. The company is now the U.K.’s fifth-biggest retailer, according to researcher GlobalData, which also estimates Amazon accounts for about a third of all of the online spending in the country.

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