Amazon has launched the Amazon Returnship program, a new initiative to help professionals get back to work after they lost or left their jobs—including people displaced by the impacts of COVID-19. Through this initiative, Amazon is offering people who have been without a job or underemployed for at least a year a new opportunity to rejoin the workforce by restarting their careers at Amazon. The company plans to hire 1,000 professionals over the coming years as a result of this new program.
The Amazon Returnship program offers participants an initial 16-week paid working opportunity in several areas across the company, including teams like Operations Finance, Consumer Payments, and Search. Candidates go through a customized and abbreviated interview process that takes into account their career trajectory, and once they start in their new role, they receive dedicated support and personalized coaching. During the program, returners work on a specific project and, after four months, they have the possibility to move into full-time positions at Amazon. During the first 16 weeks, participants work remotely from their homes and are provided child and elder care assistance so they can ease back into the workforce without making any major life changes during their first step. Amazon also pays for their relocation if they accept a permanent role at the company.
“We understand that life happens and sometimes an event affects career plans,” said Beth Galetti, senior vice president of People eXperience and Technology at Amazon. “While people may need to drop from the workforce to help care for children or aging parents, we believe that this should not penalize their careers. Coming back to work after a break can be challenging—the company you know and the tools you used are likely to have changed. Amazon’s new Returnship program is designed to help professionals reintegrate to the workforce and offers them competitive pay, a structured environment, and personalized mentorship so they can succeed.”
“Returnship programs help companies find talent that they’re overlooking using traditional recruiting methods. We see more than 80% of participants in programs we work on transition to full-time roles, speaking to the caliber of this segment of the workforce,” said Tami Forman, executive director of Path Forward, a nonprofit helping people to restart their careers after time spent focused on caregiving and a partner for Amazon’s program. “Creating the right path for helping people rejoin the workforce after a break can unlock an enormous economic potential and change the lives of many professionals who so often feel discouraged to even apply to new jobs. Programs like the one Amazon is launching can be life-changing and we are excited to partner with Amazon to continue expanding these efforts.”
The U.S. has seen a net loss of 4.5 million jobs held by women since February 2020, with nearly 2 million women leaving the labor force altogether, according to a May 2021 report from the National Women’s Law Center. Amazon expects that at least three out of every four participants in this program will be women returning to the American workforce.
The company plans to hire professionals for a variety of roles, ranging from financial analysts to software development engineers. As part of its pledge to help upskill the American workforce, Amazon last year also announced a commitment to provide free training for cloud computing skills to 29 million people globally so they could remain competitive and move into technical in-demand roles.
All Amazon regular full-time employees in the U.S. receive the same core benefits, regardless of their role, level, or position—from the company’s executives to front-line employees in fulfillment centers preparing orders for customers. Every Amazon job comes with a starting pay of at least $15 an hour, more than twice the federal minimum wage. In addition, Amazon offers a comprehensive benefits package to all regular full-time employees, which includes health insurance from an employee’s first day on the job, a 401(k) plan with a company match, up to 20 weeks of paid leave for birthing parents, subsidized child and adult backup care, access to subsidized skills training opportunities, and more.