For many, 2021 was another challenging year as the COVID-19 pandemic continued. As communities and businesses worked to recover from the impact, we committed to levelling up our efforts to support our customers, communities and employees throughout the year.

Our employees are the driving force of our community initiatives, small business support and diversity, equity and inclusion programmes. They embody Amazon’s 16 leadership principles and work to make Amazon the world’s best employer.

We’re taking a look back at 2021, shining a spotlight on the times Amazon employees went above and beyond to make Amazon a great place to work:

1. International Women’s Day

IWD at Amazon 2021 illustration
International Women’s Day Festival ran from Monday 8th March and was dedicated to showcasing women business owners, makers, entrepreneurs, authors, artists and charities in 2021

For International Women’s Day this year we celebrated Women Champions of Change – those who dare to innovate, lead and uplift others toward a more equal and inclusive workplace.

Our Women@Amazon UK employee affinity group led the celebrations, partnering with teams across our business for the International Women’s Day Festival at Amazon, a virtual experience for our customers dedicated to showcasing women business owners, makers, entrepreneurs, authors, artists and charities.

We also supported the #ChangeAGirlsLife campaign by The Princes Trust, donating £5 for each Kindle, Fire TV, Fire Tablet and Echo device sold.

2. Pride celebrations at Amazon

Pride month is always a special time at Amazon for both our LGBTQ+ employees and the many others who count themselves as allies.

Although many parades were cancelled in 2020 and 2021, Amazonians endeavoured to celebrate the stories and achievements of our LGBTQ+ colleagues, customers and their communities. Our LGBTQ+ employee affinity group Glamazon brought a range of fantastic virtual experiences to both our colleagues and customers for Pride in 2021.

These included Amazon Music relaunching PROUD – the global playlist spotlighting new music from LGBTQ+ artists, and Audible launched Tan France’s Queer Icons, an eight-part Audible Original podcast hosted by the Queer Eye star, that highlights and celebrates LGBTQIA+ icons from across the world. For our employees we ran mental health workshops, career coaching, mentorship sessions, coffee chats, online movie screenings and quizzes and more.

3. Amazon created 1,000 full-time apprenticeship roles this year

In the run-up to National Apprenticeship Week this year, Amazon announced we would be creating 1,000 new full-time apprenticeship roles. We are committed to creating opportunities for people in the UK to upskill and build the careers they love – whatever their age or job level - and this announcement is one of the ways we have worked to achieve this in 2021.

The new roles are launched across 25 different schemes and match a diverse range of skillsets and ambitions – from automation engineering to broadcast production, robotics to safety technician.

Over 500 of the apprenticeships were offered to our existing workforce, providing employees the opportunity to retrain and gain new skills that could lead to an exciting new career path.

4. Amazon and AWS renewed their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant

AFC Signing 2
John Boumphrey (Amazon's UK Country Manager), James Heappey (Minister for the Armed Forces) and Chris Hayman (Director of Public Policy AWS UK) re-signing The Armed Forces Covenant

Amazon have always seen the value that ex-military employees bring to a ‘civilian’ organisation.

Many of our employees have served in the armed forces and find a home at Amazon after their time in service, often joining our employee network Warriors@ Amazon where they can network and connect with other ex-military employees.

In June this year Amazon and Amazon Web Services (AWS) renewed commitments to serving personnel, reservists, veterans and families by jointly re-signing the UK government’s Armed Forces Covenant – nearly a decade after first signing the Covenant in 2013.

By resigning the Covenant we formally committed to upholding its key principles, and demonstrated our commitment to the Armed Forces; to veterans and Reserve Forces; to military spouses and partners; to a Reserves-friendly HR policy; to national events like Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day; to Armed Forces charities; to those deployed; to upskilling and retraining veterans and military spouses; to advocate for the military community in the UK.

5. Our colleagues were recognised in the HERoes Top 100 Women Future Leaders

We were delighted to see Amazon employees recognised again this year in the HERoes Top 100 Women Future Leaders 2021. Gillian Russell, Senior Program Manager, Global Military Affairs and Ramat Tejani, Programme Lead for AWS GetIT were both honoured in the list.

The HERoes Women Role Model Lists recognise those who are leading by example and driving change to increase diversity in the workplace – including lists for Women Executives, Women Future Leaders and Advocate Executives.

6. More than one million people applied for a job at Amazon during Career Day this year

This year we broke our own records when over one million people applied for a job at Amazon globally as part of Career Day 2021, with around 30,000 people applying in the UK.

The virtual event attracted job seekers from around 40 European countries. In the span of 24 hours, more than 2,000 Amazon recruiters offered 30,000 one-on-one career coaching sessions globally with participants to provide job seekers with professional advice to start, transition, or grow their careers whether they want to work at Amazon or elsewhere.

Those who tuned in from the UK Career Day had the opportunity to hear from Amazon employees including gaming, robotics, AI and sustainability experts, as well as colleagues who have joined Amazon on fully-funded apprenticeships.

7. Black History Month

With support from our Black Employee Network (BEN), we celebrated the ‘Joy of our voices’ during Black History Month in October 2021 including a host of activities for customers and employees.

Inside Amazon, employees enjoyed a host of events and workshops, including our ‘iamremarkable’ workshops, a fireside chat with Barbados-born reggae musician Dennis Bovell and virtual cooking classes.

For customers we celebrated Black artists, entrepreneurs and creators. +44, Amazon Music’s flagship Black music playlist which exists to amplify the genres, artists and culture, released exclusive content throughout Black History Month for our customers to listen to. Alexa users were able to test and build their knowledge with a quiz about Black history.

8. Amazon employees tackled childhood cancer with #AmazonGoesGold once again

Amazon employees stood next to Goes Gold balloons
From left, Elaine Taylor, Donna Mclaughlin, and Milda Zdanyte

In 2021 Amazon ran the #AmazonGoesGold campaign for the fifth year in a row, an event where Amazon employees around the world raise awareness and funds for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September.

We support and collaborate with childhood cancer organisations across Europe that make it possible for every child affected by cancer to fight for their future. This year’s charity partners included the Starlight Foundation, Together for Short Lives, and the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group.

Employees helped deliver craft boxes to 50 hospitals across the UK, came to work in their pyjamas for ‘PJammin’ to raise funds locally and took part in a golden ticket competition where individuals across our sites are invited to share their gold decorations and pyjama selfies for the chance to win prizes.

9. Amazon Future Engineer worked to inspire the next generation of computer scientists

Amazon Future Engineer is our comprehensive childhood-to-career programme designed to inspire, educate, and enable children and young adults to try computer science. The programme expanded in 2021, and as part of this, many of our employees took up opportunities to mentor, support and share their experiences with the next generation of builders, inventors, and innovators.

Our employees also benefitted by giving back to their community, thought about their own skills and career in a new light, were energised by new ideas and enthusiasm – and they even learned a thing or two from the students! Find out more about our Amazon Future Engineer mentors.

10. Glamazon was named as one of the top 10 global LGBTQ+ networks

Our LGBTQ+ employee network Glamazon went above and beyond to lead the celebrations for both Pride Month in June and LGBTQ+ History Month in October of this year, so it’s no surprise that Glamazon was named as one of the top 10 global LGBTQ+ networks in the Global Diversity List 2021. A list that celebrates people who work tirelessly to ensure that diversity and inclusion are at the very heart of everything they do.

Starting in 1999 as an email list of happy hours for after-work drinks for Amazon’s Seattle-based LGBTQ+ community, Glamazon has now grown to over 3,000 members in 60 chapters worldwide and offers an industry-leading range of tools and support for both LGBT+ employees and their allies.

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