​Amazon plans machine learning, software engineering, R&D hiring spree in UK

1,000 new 'Silicon Valley' jobs to be created in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge.

Retail to cloud-computing giant Amazon plans to hire over 1,000 new staff across three sites in the UK, and will open a new office in Manchester next year.

"These are Silicon Valley jobs in Britain, and further cement our long-term commitment to the UK," said Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager.

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Hanover House in Manchester.

Image: Amazon

A new corporate office in Manchester, due to open next year, will be located in the Hanover Building in the Northern Quarter. The company said the six-storey, 90,000 square-foot site will house at least 600 new staff working on software development, machine learning and R&D.

Amazon said it will also expand its development centre in Edinburgh, adding 250 new staff where it already has hundreds of software engineers, machine learning scientists and user experience designers. Teams in Edinburgh work on new advertising technology and personalised shopping recommendations. It is also adding 180 new jobs in its Cambridge development centre, which houses R&D teams working on Amazon devices, Amazon Alexa, Amazon Web Services, drone-powered package delivery system Prime Air, and machine learning and retail systems.

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Amazon said that since 2010, it has invested more than £9.3bn in the UK to build and run its operations, and is on course to grow to 27,500 staff -- including over 6,500 roles in its corporate, AWS and R&D divisions -- by the end of this year.

The announcement comes less than six months before the UK is set to leave the European Union.

The looming prospect of Brexit has worried some tech companies, which are are concerned that leaving the EU may have an impact on their ability to sell into European markets and to attract top quality staff to work in the UK. Amazon's UK boss himself reportedly warned ministers of the risks of a no-deal Brexit.

International trade secretary Liam Fox said the news of the new jobs was an enormous vote of confidence in the UK "and a signal to the world that the UK is very much open for business".

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