Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Amazon to hire 100,000 employees to cope with COVID-19 demand

It's also investing $350 million globally to give a slight pay rise to its staff in its fulfilment centres and delivery network.

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Amazon has announced that it will be hiring 100,000 new full and part-time roles in its fulfilment centres and delivery network across the US to cope with the COVID-19 panic buying. 

In addition, the giant e-commerce retailer said it would invest over $350 million globally to increase staff pay for employees and partners who are in fulfilment centres, transportation operations, stores, or those making home deliveries. As a result, staff will receive an extra $2 per hour in the US, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. These pay increases will be paid through the end of April. 

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Amazon and our network of partners are helping communities around the world in a way that very few can -- delivering critical supplies directly to the doorsteps of people who need them," Amazon worldwide operations senior vice president Dave Clark wrote in a blog post.

"Getting a priority item to your doorstep is vital as communities practice social-distancing, particularly for the elderly and others with underlying health issues. We are seeing a significant increase in demand, which means our labor needs are unprecedented for this time of year." 

Australian grocery retailer Coles has announced similar moves. It is recruiting more than 5,000 casual team members to work in supermarkets across Australia. Coles said new casual workers will have their inductions fast-tracked.

"This will allow us to serve more customers and replenish shelves faster, while offering employment opportunities for Australians working in other industries impacted by COVID-19," the company said.  

It comes as the retailer attempts to cope with high demands for household essentials such as toilet paper, rice, pasta, and hand sanitiser that have been flying off its shelves amid COVID-19 panic buying.

To keep up with demands, Coles has temporarily suspended online delivery orders "to dedicate vans in our network to delivering groceries to those in genuine need, especially the most vulnerable and those isolated".

The retailer has also suspended its UberEats delivery service and will temporarily no longer accept click-and-collect orders.  

The grocery giant, however, reassured that it is not running out of food. 

"There is enough for everyone if people shop as they would normally shop," it said.