In October 2017, Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, accepted the National Equality Award from the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT+ advocacy organization in the United States. In accepting the award, he said, "Amazon has more than 500,000 employees around the world, and from our earliest days, we've been committed to equality in our workplace. We want our employees to be empowered to speak their minds, and be heard. Every Amazonian should feel comfortable sharing their unique perspectives, and every Amazonian should seek the perspectives of others. We want our employees and the communities where we operate to embrace that we are all human, we are all different, and we are all equal."
Boosting gender diversity and inclusion in the UK with Amazon Amplify and AWS Get IT
In March 2019, we launched Amazon Amplify - a series of initiatives designed to further increase the number of women in technology and innovation roles across our UK business. This new programme builds on existing diversity-focused initiatives at Amazon, including programmes to ensure diverse interview panels and increase volumes of women applicants, affinity groups for women, LGBT+, BAME and disabled employees, and transgender guidelines for managers and employees to support transgender staff and their allies. Amazon Amplify initiatives include:
Boosting the pipeline of future women innovations, with the Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary, providing funding for up to 24 women students a year; an Amazon degree apprenticeship programme, enabling people of all ages and backgrounds to train as engineers and business leaders; and opening Amazon’s doors and inspiriting future leaders with public tours and STEM workshops for children.
Recruiting and retaining more women innovators, with new global candidate inclusive interview questions, which help find potential Amazonians who share our commitment to diversity; a new UK-wide interactive training programme to support employees with building confidence and self-awareness; and a new AWS (Amazon Web Services) Return to Work programme, providing individuals on a career break with the opportunity to return to full-time employment following robust on boarding and coaching sessions and support from a subject matter per coach.
We have also commited to diversity goals by becoming a signatory to the WISE Ten Steps Commitments.
The Amazon Amplify programme aims to further ramp up the recruitment and retention of women employees, encourage more women to consider careers in technology and innovation and help prevent some of the biggest barriers to career progression cited by women in STEM roles across different sectors.
Building on Amazon Amplify, we launched ‘AWS Get IT’, a new initiative from Amazon Web Services that aims to encourage more young people from diverse backgrounds, particularly girls, to gain practical digital skills, while inspiring them to consider a career in technology. AWS Get IT has two complementary strands. The first is a competition that challenges 12 to 13-year-olds (year 8) to come up with an innovative idea for an application to help to solve a specific problem for their community, or school. The second is a targeted programme of public speaking training, starting with female AWS employees, to give them the opportunity to receive executive-level coaching, and subsequent speaking opportunities, in order to raise their profile as role models.
Building Community in the UK
We pride ourselves on our unique culture. We honour and respect the differences that each Amazonian brings, and we seek to include those perspectives in our solutions for our global customer base. We also seek to build the diverse community of creators and developers who we are proud to call customers.
We want our employees to be empowered to speak their minds, and be heard. Every Amazonian should feel comfortable sharing their unique perspectives, and every Amazonian should seek the perspectives of others.
Our Affinity Groups bring employees together across businesses and geographies. With executive and company sponsorship, these groups play an important role in building internal networks for career development, advising Amazon business units, leading in service projects, participating in policy discussions, and reaching out to communities where Amazonians live and work. Since 2016, enrollment in Amazon’s affinity groups has more than doubled in more than 90 chapters worldwide.
Every year, we host AmazeCon, our largest internal conference at Amazon, to highlight the importance and business benefits of gender diversity. Over 4,700 Amazon employees participated in our 2017 conference, hearing from leading scientists, artists, and businesspeople. Megan Smith, the former Chief Technology Officer of the US Government, spoke about the history of gender representation in technology and government, and how that history informs us today. Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor of Law at UCLA and Columbia Law School and a co-founder of the African American Policy Forum, led the Intersectional Diversity track, discussing two concepts she pioneered: critical race theory and intersectionality. Jill Soloway, a two-time Emmy winning comedian, playwright, writer, and director spoke about their experiences and the importance of holding space, leadership, and allowing for all people to make amazing things happen. There were 20 main-stage speakers and deep-dive breakout sessions on topics such as career development, technology, intersectionality, and mentoring led by internal and external leaders in their fields.
Amazon’s Military Talent initiatives in the UK and abroad
In 2017, Amazon and AWS were two of the first to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant in the UK - a promise to ensure that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. Early on we recognised how the skills and experiences of Service personnel, from logistics to communication would benefit our business in delivering for customers, so in 2011 we introduced our military veterans recruitment programme in the UK. Since then, we have employed almost 400 men and women into Operations management and engineering positions across our network, and many have been promoted into senior leadership positions. We’re really proud of the contribution these ex-Service personnel make every day at Amazon.
In May 2016, Amazon pledged to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses by 2021, and to train 10,000 more in cloud computing skills through AWS Educate. Amazon's Military Talent initiatives promote veteran hiring and engagement across multiple Amazon business units and geographies including the U.S., Canada, Japan, China, India, and the EU.
Diverse Creators and Builders
Through our technology we have created a set of services to help enable our diverse sellers, creators and developers to pursue their dreams. Kindle Direct Publishing has enabled over a million authors of all backgrounds to publish their books, while businesses of all sizes are able to sell their products to hundreds of millions of Amazon customers. Recently, we launched the Amazon Saheli Store, which empowers women entrepreneurs in India. Read more about our customers whose lives have been transformed with Amazon.
Through Amazon Web Services, we are working to build skills in cloud computing for technical leaders from all backgrounds, and highlight the stories of diverse developers to inspire the next generation. Partnering with AWS Training and Certification and AWS Educate, We Power Tech enables diverse builders from all walks of life to innovate and shape the future of the tech industry. In November 2017, AWS held their first We Power Tech Diversity Series. This included sessions and networking events within AWS re:Invent, a technical learning conference reaching over 43,000 attendees.
Empowering the next generation
Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary
The Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary aims to help young women from less advantaged backgrounds fulfil their ambitions of a career in innovation and technology. The bursary is awarded to six students annually in universities in cities where we have a UK Development Centre, including the University of Edinburgh, King’s College London and Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. All students are on courses that focus on high-tech innovation, including Electronic Engineering, Robotics & Intelligent Systems, and Computer Science. In addition to providing financial support the students will be mentored by a female Amazon employee who works in the software space, on careers advice, CV building, and interview training. The students will also have the opportunity to apply for an internship at the local Amazon development centre.
Amazon Early Insights Scheme
In 2017, Amazon Women in Engineering in the UK launched the Amazon Early Insights Scheme, a community outreach programme that helps young women develop new technology skills. AWE invited twelve female students in their early years of study to visit Amazon’s Development Centre in Scotland and learn how to build and develop Alexa skills. During the week, students completed a range of workshops, talks, social events and a ‘hackathon’ run by Amazon volunteers. The programme helped to build confidence in the technical skills of the participants, and encourage a career in the field of technology.
Training young people in digital skills through AWS Re:Start
AWS re:Start is a training and job placement programme, launched by Amazon Web Services in the UK, to educate 1,000 young adults, military veterans, reservists, and their spouses, on the latest software development and cloud computing technologies. The programme provides free training and job placements to help participants launch a career in technology, and is delivered in partnership with The Prince’s Trust and The Ministry of Defence.
Encouraging STEM Talent
In October 2017, Amazon committed $50M over five years to support STEM programmes for diverse communities. Part of this commitment includes $10M over the next five years to support Code.org in developing the talented technology and business leaders of tomorrow.
Code.Org and Amazon Future Engineer are working together to train future programmers.
Lesbians Who Tech
Members of our LGBT+ affinity group, glamazon, were proud to host the kick-off event for the first ever London Lesbians Who Tech Summit in 2017. Lesbians Who Tech is a community working together to promote the visibility and inclusion of women, LGBTQ people, and people from other backgrounds under-represented in technology. The Lesbians Who Tech + Allies Summit in London brought over 150 lesbians, queer women + allies across all areas of technology together at our new UK Head Office in Shoreditch, East London. Amazon has was previously headline sponsor for the 2017 Lesbians Who Tech summit in San Francisco, with many key Amazon leaders giving inspiring and engaging talks during the event.
Inspiration and recognition of diversity
We are passionate about creating a diverse workforce to reflect our global customer base and ensure we have diverse perspectives. That’s why our senior female leaders regularly speak at events across the country telling the story of their career journeys to attract the best talent and inspire the next generation. Initiatives supported include:
Amazon and our senior leadership in the UK have earned nominations and award wins for our efforts to champion diversity in the business and across the sector.
- British Ex-Forces Business Awards 2019 - Amazon named Employer of the Year and Gillian Russell named Advocate of the Year
- TechWomen100 - Marija Pinkute named winner
- OUTstanding 50 LGBT+ Future Leaders 2018 - Christon Mallett named as a top 50 future leader
- everywoman in retail awards 2018 - Dave Brittain named winner of the Male Agent award
- FT HERoes - Lauren Kisser, Jacqui Chin, Fiona McDonnell and Lauren Gemmell
- EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model list - Katie George
Meet our Affinity Groups
Learn more about our various Affinity Groups that bring together Amazonians across disciplines and locations.
Amazon People with Disabilities
AmazonPWD supports employees with disabilities by raising awareness, supporting career development, participating in community outreach and improving accessibility for all Amazonians and customers. The group sponsors programs and classes, and partners with external organisations to recruit people of all abilities to work at Amazon.
Amazon Women in Engineering
Amazon Women in Engineering (AWE) is dedicated to making Amazon a great place to work for technical women. With more than 30 chapters at Amazon locations around the world, the group creates networking, training, leadership, and community building opportunities for both employees and interns. The chapters also engage in community outreach to increase the number of girls entering STEM fields.
Black Employee Network
Amazon's Black Employee Network’s (BEN) mission is to recruit, retain, and empower Black employees. BEN connects members with mentors and provides career and personal development workshops. BEN launched in the UK during Black History Month in October 2017.
Glamazon helps make Amazon a great place to work by educating and informing employees about LGBTQ+ issues and opportunities. The group mentors fellow employees (both LGBTQ+ and allies) and promotes diversity and visibility in recruiting and throughout Amazon. The group makes Amazon more visible within the LGBTQ+ community-at-large by sponsoring events and PRIDE parades around the globe.
Women@Amazon is committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best talented women in both tech and non-tech roles across all of Amazon’s businesses. Women@ has chapters internationally, bringing women together in places like Hyderabad, India, where they hosted a Women's Day event to share professional stories and explore initiatives to hire and develop more women. Since launch, Women@ has grown to over 2,000 members across Europe.
Women in Finance Initiative
The Women in Finance Initiative (WiFi) is building a global forum for women in finance and their advocates to network and partner. They focus on recruitment, retention and advancement through training, career development and community engagement. They have also worked to improve the recruiting and onboarding experience of new candidates and hires, and host networking events.
We are proud partners of WISE, a high-profile campaign which aims to increase the participation, contribution and success of women in science, engineering and technology. Joining Wise helps Amazon to support the development of female talent in STEM sectors across the UK.
Business in the Community
As a member of Business in the Community (BITC), part of the Prince of Wales’ Responsible Business Network, Amazon supports the gender equality campaign to maximise women’s success at work. The campaign aims to drive further opportunities for women in the workforce, improving recruitment and retention levels, and ultimately, contributing to business success as a whole.
As part of our continued work to support diversity in the technology sector, we are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme. Stonewall is the largest LGBT rights charity in Europe, currently working with over 700 of the world’s leading organisations to create fully inclusive workplace environments by integrating diversity and inclusion into all parts of the business.
Amazon in the UK are members of OUTstanding, the leading LGBT+ and ally professional network in the UK. Through OUTstanding, Amazon employees will have access to mentoring, online resources, executive sponsorship programme, board readiness sessions and a broad range of networking events.
Latasha Gillespie, Director, Amazon’s Global Diversity & Inclusion Organisation
At Amazon, it is always Day 1. Diversity, inclusion, and equality are core values for us, and they are embedded in our DNA through our Leadership Principles: You Are Right, A Lot, when you “seek diverse perspectives, and work to disconfirm your own beliefs.” We have a lot of work to do and we are innovating in diversity, inclusion, and equality like we do in all areas of our business: using data, thinking big, and building disruptive solutions. We seek diverse builders from all walks of life to join our teams, and we encourage our employees to bring their authentic, original, and whole selves to work.
UK Gender Pay Gap and global workforce demographics
We are committed to creating a diverse organisation where employees thrive. Career progression is merit-based with a structured yearly review and 360-degree feedback, through which we enable and encourage employees to openly discuss their development and career ambitions. We take professional and personal development very seriously and have a number of groups, mentoring schemes and training programs to support employee growth at Amazon. Employees are encouraged to try out different areas and functions.
Amazon offers unique and flexible benefits to all of our employees, whether hourly or salaried, and their partners/spouses and dependents when enrolled. Industry-leading benefits including competitive pay, employee discounts, private medical insurance and company pension plan.
The UK Government requires all companies with 250 or more employees to publish details of their gender pay and bonus gap each year by 5 April. The gender pay gap is the difference in the average pay and bonuses of all men and all women across an organisation. Our Gender Pay Gap for our total UK workforce shows parity (0%) in median pay between male and female employees compared to a UK average of +17.9% in favour of men. In 2018, 60.3% of female employees received a bonus and 58.6% of male employees received a bonus.
Last year’s GPG figures are also available here.