Diversity at Amazon
Diversity of thought
Amazon has hundreds of millions of customers who benefit from diversity of thought. We are a company of builders who bring varying backgrounds, ideas, and points of view to decisions and inventing on behalf of our customers. Our diverse perspectives come from many sources including gender, race, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, culture, education, as well as professional and life experience. We are working to develop leaders and shape future talent pools to help us meet the needs of our customers around the world.
We believe that diversity and inclusion are good for our business, but our commitment is based on something more fundamental than that. It's simply right. Amazon has always been, and always will be, committed to tolerance and diversity. These are enduring values for us, which are reflected in our Leadership Principles, and nothing will change that. As we invest in global programs to accelerate our progress, we want to share some of our actions.
Our Affinity Groups bring people together across businesses and geographies. They also provide critical inputs and insights about where the company should focus its diversity efforts. With executive and company sponsorship, our Affinity Groups play an important role in building internal networks for career development and in reaching out to communities outside the company.
Asians@Amazon provides a network across Asian communities. The group provides a support structure for Asian employees and promotes diversity within Amazon. The group helps recruit, onboard, and connect Asian employees across geographies by sharing experiences and providing access to career development, networking, and community-building opportunities. They also host local community and recruiting events.
Latinos@Amazon is focused on building a strong community for Latino employees. Their efforts center on hiring, retaining and developing talent, early pipeline development, community outreach, and improving the customer experience of Latino customers. The group hosts social and cultural events, participates in recruiting efforts at national conferences and universities, and has developed a mentorship program for employees.
Amazon Warriors are Amazonians who have served in their respective countries' military forces, those who are still serving, and Amazon employees who support them. The group provides members with a professional network and a means to organize community outreach programs, to aid veterans during their transition into the Amazon workforce, and to be a resource for the Amazon Military Talent Partnership, which supports Amazon in recruiting top military talent.
Amazon People with Disabilities
AmazonPWD is committed to building a community that supports employees with disabilities and their allies through raising awareness, supporting career development, participating in community outreach and improving access for Amazonians and customers. In addition to sponsoring and supporting programs and classes, the group partners with organizations like Northwest Center to recruit people of all abilities, and works with Amazon's Global Real Estate group and our architects to raise the bar on accessibility for our facilities.
Women@Amazon connects current and emerging women's groups, providing resources and activities to grow their networks and attract new talent to Amazon. Women@ sponsors the Amazon Circles Program, a global program to support peer mentoring groups. The group partners annually with Amazon Women in Engineering and Women in Finance to host the AmazeCon Conference, which focuses on the innovation sparked by gender-diverse work teams. Women@ has been expanding chapters internationally, bringing women together in places like Hyderabad, India, where Women@India hosted a Women's Day event to share professional stories and explore initiatives to hire and develop women.
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 group co-hosts AmazeCon, Amazon's internal conference on gender diversity, and leads a delegation of employees to the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. The group's chapters also engage in community outreach to help increase the pipeline of girls entering STEM fields.
Women in Finance Initiative
The Women in Finance Initiative (WiFi) is building a global forum for women in finance and their advocates through which they can network and partner to promote a more welcoming and inclusive workplace culture. With a focus on training, career development and community engagement, the group's accomplishments include improvements to the recruiting and onboarding experience of new candidates and hires, developing and facilitating new trainings, such as "Owning My Finance Career," and organizing multiple networking events for members and the broader Finance community. WiFi is expanding internationally in Luxembourg, China, Japan, and India.
Glamazon helps make Amazon a great place to work by identifying opportunities to educate and inform employees about LGBTQ issues and opportunities. The group mentors fellow employees (both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ) by promoting diversity and visibility in recruiting and throughout Amazon. The group makes Amazon more visible within the LGBTQ community-at-large by sponsoring PRIDE Parades around the globe including in Seattle, London, Vancouver B.C and Costa Rica. Glamazon also hosts cross-corporate social events, and partners with local business groups.
Black Employee Network
Amazon's Black Employee Network (BEN) provides a support structure for Black employees to champion diversity throughout the company. BEN's mission is to recruit, retain, and empower Black employees at Amazon to build a stronger company through a more diverse workforce. BEN connects employees and interns with mentors and provides career and personal development workshops throughout the year. BEN also hosts the annual Seattle Urban League Young Professionals Leadership Summit, supports the United Negro College Fund Portfolio Project, Gala and Walk for Education, engages with the local and regional chapters of the National Society of Black Engineers, leads recruiting trips to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and participates in Code.org's Hour of Code.
Our Affinity Groups have extended their reach into our local communities. For example, the Black Employee Network (BEN) and Latinos@Amazon support Rainier Scholars, a non-profit dedicated to cultivating and supporting the academic potential of students of color, by hosting workplace receptions, attending academic enrichment program tours, and sending care packages to college level Rainier Scholars near and far. AWE hosts a Technology Open House in Seattle to help educate young men and women about career opportunities in technology, and partners with Google and the University of Washington to support Tech Out!, a day for girls in grades 7-12 to explore technology, engineering and learn from women in the industry during workshops and hands-on activities.
Hacking a better future
During Black History month, our Black Employee Network (BEN) hosted a hackathon in our Seattle office. The "Black to the Future" event brought together community members, developers, designers, data scientists, and local officials to imagine and build a more perfect future. Projects focused on innovating around open data, youth development, housing justice, arts & culture, and economic development for the Black communities in Seattle and beyond. The two day event was hosted in partnership with community organizations Northwest African American Museum, Startup Seattle, National Black MBA Association, Inc., Black Dot, BDPA, Ada Developers Academy, Floodgate Academy, unloop, and Code Fellows.
Showing our pride
Amazon contributes to the national conversation on crucial issues facing the LGBTQ community. Three Amazonians were selected this year to participate in the White House LGBT Tech & Innovation Briefing. Robyn Kanner, Bowen Ames and Annabelle Richard Backman were selected from 3,500 nominees to join the final group of 180 people from around the country to attend this year's briefing. Amazon was also proud to stand in support of the transgender community to defeat Washington's Proposition I-1515, an initiative seeking to repeal Washington State's non-discrimination protections that for 10 years have helped ensure transgender family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors are treated fairly and equally under the law. Glamazon, our LGBTQ Affinity Group, sponsors PRIDE Parades around the globe including Costa Rica, Vancouver B.C. and London. In 2016, glamazon participated for the fourth consecutive year in the Seattle Ends AIDS Walk, celebrating the organization's 30th anniversary and raising funds for HIV prevention and services.
Bringing together global communities
Amazon celebrated International Women's Day by taking over our homepages across the globe with campaigns featuring women authors. Amazon curated a list of favorite titles from new and emerging voices, and encouraged customers to celebrate International Women's Day with a book. Our employees across 20+ locations including Boston, Cape Town, Dublin, Luxembourg, Sydney, and Costa Rica connected with each other in celebration of International Women's Day via live video conference with presentations from inspirational women across the company.
Throughout the year, our customer service organization hosts women's development conferences across the United States, Europe, India, China, Japan, and Costa Rica. These events provide leadership skill building opportunities, inspiration, and networking connections for hundreds of Amazonians.
Our Workforce Demographics
Amazon is committed to fair and equitable compensation for its employees, and on June 14, 2016, we proudly signed the White House's Equal Pay Pledge. A review of the compensation awarded in 2016 at Amazon, including both base and stock, shows that women earned 99.7 cents for every dollar that men earn in the same jobs, and that minorities earned 99.7 cents for every dollar that white employees earn in the same jobs. We continue to prioritize pay equity.
Empowering Diverse Creators
At Amazon we've created a series of services that enable our customers to pursue their dreams.
Creating access to new opportunities
Through our technology we provide equal access and opportunity to diverse sellers, creators and developers, and we've created a series of services that enable them to pursue their dreams. For example Kindle Direct Publishing has enabled over a million authors of all backgrounds to publish their books. Another example is Amazon's Marketplace, where businesses of all sizes and owned by people with diverse backgrounds are able to sell their products to hundreds of millions of Amazon customers. We've found that this approach has resulted in more diverse authors, sellers and, ultimately, offerings for our customers.
We are proud to bring the works of authors like Barry Davis to our readers. Barry always loved writing stories. But after college, he went to business school, got married, became a dad and joined a telecommunications company as an engineer for 18 years. He didn't write. When he turned 40, Barry decided to make time for writing. He wrote A Strange and Bitter Fruit, a novel about racial conflict and violence set in the post-Civil War South. For years, Barry sent his novel to agents and publishers and was rebuffed by everyone. But Barry didn't take "no" for an answer; he used Kindle Direct Publishing to publish the novel himself. The hundreds of Amazon customer reviews have yielded 4.4 stars for Barry's first book, and he has gone on to publish nine other books through KDP.
A network of diverse entrepreneurs
Recently, our Seattle Headquarters welcomed nearly 300 leaders from women-owned businesses selling on Amazon for the first ever Amazon Marketplace Women's Entrepreneur Conference. The conference gave entrepreneurs and brand owners an opportunity to hear from business leaders both within and outside of Amazon, get real-time advice, and network with other leaders of women-owned businesses focused on growing and scaling their companies on Amazon. The day-long event included a welcome and introduction from Peter Faricy, Amazon Marketplace Vice President, who talked about the value that female-owned businesses bring to the economy, and how Amazon helps entrepreneurs tackle common barriers to growth. Maria Renz, Vice President and Technical Advisor to Jeff Bezos, discussed her insights as a former seller on Amazon, and how she has been empowered during her Amazon career to build new businesses. Marla Malcolm Beck, CEO of Bluemercury Inc., gave a powerful keynote about building a business from an idea, and how to stay positive and motivated along the way.
Education & Career Development
In our fast-paced environment, learning from peers is critical.
Bringing together global communities
Our Affinity Groups regularly host discussions on topics important to Amazonians, from panel discussions on career development to conversations with leaders. In addition to traditional mentorship programs, we formed peer mentoring program called Amazon Circles in 2013 in coordination with LeanIn.org. Amazon Circles meet on a regular basis with their advisors. Members decide if they want their Circles to be cross-functional, formed around a particular business, such as Kindle, or organized by discipline, such as software engineering.
It's amazing what we can do together
Our 2016 internal conference on gender diversity was titled "AmazeCon: It's Amazing What We Can Do Together," a reference to our core belief that leveraging our employees' diverse perspectives can help us innovate on behalf of customers. Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black, gave an inspiring talk on learning from failure and the gift of a community of women supporting each other. Alice Steinglass, head of the product, engineering and marketing teams at Code.org, discussed her goal to increase diversity in computer science by giving every student the opportunity to learn computer science in school. Angela Lee, founder of 37 Angels and Assistant Dean at the Columbia Business School, led a session on finding your "zone of genius" and crafting your own career. Employees connected through small group discussions and workshops on topics ranging from job-specific career paths to work-life integration. Over 40 Amazon business leaders led small group mentoring sessions, where they answered questions and shared advice from their experience.
Shaping the STEM pipeline
We know that in middle school and high school, students are already deciding what professions they want to pursue. Too often, female students and students of color are opting out of technology and engineering. We want to change this. We want all students to know the possibilities that await them at a company like Amazon. There are several ways we help make sure all students get to know the possibilities that await them with a STEM career. We are part of the coalition supporting the With Math I Can initiative, focused on providing growth mindset based learning support for schools, teachers and parents of kids K-12. We provide resources and volunteers to Code.org to increase access to computing in high school. Locally we support Washington MESA (Math Engineering Science Achievement) to bring STEM education to schools and underserved students across Washington State. We also partner with local computer science teachers through efforts such as Tech Out!: an annual technology workshop for girls.
Girls who code
To provide hands-on experience, we have hosted the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program each summer since 2014, with two classrooms in 2016. This 7-week intensive computer science course gives high school girls access not only to new skills, but also insights from Amazon speakers, the exposure of visiting Amazon offices and facilities, and the support of their own Amazon mentor. When the program concludes, we actively assist these students in enrolling in national programs such as Aspirations in Computing with the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
Incubating the talent pool
Amazon supports female developers with a non-traditional entry into software development by partnering with the Ada Developers Academy. Ada is an intensive software developer training school exclusively for women who do not have prior software development experience. Ada's unique year-long program begins with seven months of classroom instruction, followed by five months of internship. Amazon hosts Ada interns, and actively hires from the Ada graduate pool. At the college level, we support STEM students by sponsoring programs such as WHACK, a Wellesley College hackathon for undergraduate women. We consistently look for opportunities to grow this talent pool. To further broaden our impact and keep women encouraged throughout the STEM pipeline, we partner with the Anita Borg Institute to sponsor events such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Putting our military experience to work
Many military veterans and military spouses excel in a variety of careers across Amazon. We value veterans and the unique capabilities they bring. Veterans are able to transfer their problem solving skills to overcome the unexpected, whether they are leading hundreds of fulfillment associates through daily process improvements or in a technical specialist role solving complex problems. Many of the skills and the leadership aptitude refined in the military successfully translate into career paths at Amazon. Amazon's Military Talent Partnership promotes veteran hiring and engagement across multiple Amazon business units and geographies such as Canada, Japan, China, India, and the EU.
Award winning commitment
The past four years, G.I. Jobs and U.S. Veterans magazine have recognized Amazon as a top military employer in the U.S. - placing Amazon in their list of Top 100 companies recruiting veterans. Amazon has also been recognized by Military Spouse Magazine as a top military spouse-friendly employer and has received the honor of multiple ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) awards including the Patriot Award, Seven Seals Award, and the Above and Beyond Award. On May 5, 2016, Amazon pledged to hire 25,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years, and to train 10,000 active duty service members, veterans and military spouses (not employed at Amazon) in cloud computing through AWS Educate memberships and offering a path to AWS certifications. Amazon is proud to partner with Military Spouse Employment Partnership and with Fourblock Veteran Career Development, Joining Forces, and Veteran Jobs Mission, organizations dedicated to aiding the transition from military to civilian workforce. In the Seattle area, Amazon partners with Camo2Commerce and is a pioneering participant in the Navy Tours with Industry Program.
Choose your career path
The Amazon Career Choice Program is an innovative tuition benefit that pre-pays 95 percent of tuition for employees to take courses for in-demand fields, such as airplane mechanic or nursing, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. The idea is simple: enable choice. Many associates will choose to build a career at Amazon. For others, Amazon might be a stepping stone to a job in a different field - a job that may require new skills. If the right training can make the difference, we want to help, and so far, we have been able to help thousands of employees in ten different countries who have participated in the program. There's been so much interest that we are now building dedicated classrooms onsite at our fulfillment centers so college and technical classes can be taught inside our facilities, making it even easier for associates to achieve their goals.
Supporting the diverse needs of our workforce
Amazon has unique and flexible maternity and parental leave programs. Employees can choose how to manage their leave in the way that works best for them and their families. Amazon offers up to up to 4 weeks of paid pre-partum medical leave, followed by 10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Additionally, all new parents who have been at Amazon for a year or more can take a 6-week paid parental leave. An inventive Leave Share program gives parents the flexibility to share all or part of this paid parental leave with a working spouse or partner who's employer does not provide paid parental leave. Our Ramp Back Program allows new birth mothers or primary care givers to ease back to work with up to 8 weeks of flexible time and a choice of part-time options. Employees can choose when to take their parental leave time, either in one continuous 6-week period or split into two periods within 12 months of birth or adoption. These benefits are designed to provide support and flexibility to new parents, and apply to all full-time hourly and salaried employees, including 100,000+ Fulfillment Center and Customer Service Associates.
Amazon has an Adoption Assistance benefit, which provides new parents with support for costs associated with the international or domestic adoption of a child. Eligible U.S. employees can be reimbursed for qualified adoption expenses, such as adoption fees, attorney fees, court costs, and travel costs, up to $5,000 for a single-child adoption or up to $10,000 combined maximum for a sibling-group adoption.