Amazon pledges to create 3,000 new jobs in France

‘I invite anyone who wants to join us to get involved’, says Amazon France’s CEO as he dismisses controversy over working conditions

New jobs in France will include everything from order pickers in the warehouses to professional roles in finance and HR, the director of Amazon France says

US online giant Amazon has pledged to invest €1.2 billion in France and says it is recruiting for more than 3,000 roles across all levels and more than 400 different roles, it has said.

The jobs will cover roles including:

  • Order pickers in warehouses

  • Professional roles in finance

  • Human resources teams

  • Logistics and infrastructure managers

  • Development teams

Frédéric Duval, director general of Amazon France, confirmed the plans today (May 14) ahead of the Choose France summit, an event designed to celebrate and attract new foreign investment in France.

“I invite anyone who wants to join us to really get involved in the [job] search,” he said. “We have a website dedicated to this.”

Read also: France's love-hate relationship with Amazon 

Eco-friendly development

The investment will also go towards developing and “decarbonising” Amazon’s cloud computing infrastructure in Paris, which consumes a vast amount of energy.

“We are committed to decarbonising our supply chain and our business,” said Mr Duval. “90% of our electricity consumption worldwide comes from clean energy sources.”

The director also addressed concerns about the number of Amazon delivery vans on the roads - a subject that has been previously criticised by high-profile figures including Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

He said that Amazon France was working to develop more eco-friendly delivery practices, including “deliveries in electric vehicles, cargo bikes and even, in Paris, deliveries on foot”.

“We are really working on decarbonation,” he said. “This €1.2 billion investment will allow us to improve our client services, by reducing delivery times and CO2 emissions.”

Working conditions

He also countered the controversy and criticism surrounding the allegedly poor working conditions of some Amazon warehouse employees.

Read also: Protests against Amazon warehouses across France 

“We asked [pollster] Ifop to carry out a survey of our employees a year and a half ago,” he said. “80% of people are happy or very happy. This is 20% above the national average [for this metric].”

Amazon France is the largest e-commerce site in the country and employs tens of thousands of people. It has been in the country for more than 20 years.

While it is undoubtedly popular among consumers, it has attracted much criticism from elected officials. As well as Ms Hidalgo, former environment minister Delphine Batho supported a petition for ‘an Amazon-free Christmas’ in 2021. A poll at the time found that 70% of the public agreed with the idea amid criticism that it was detrimental to local businesses.

Similarly, the same year, the mayor of Lyon joined local businesses in taking legal action against plans for a new Amazon warehouse near the city’s airport.

Amazon controversy

At the time, logistics expert Jérôme Libeskind said: “Workers like Amazon because they usually pay above the Smic minimum wage and have excellent working conditions [good canteens and sports clubs etc] but their public image, led by politicians, is terrible.”

He said that Amazon tends to build warehouses away from major centres because the land is cheaper, but this means that employees must use cars to get there, which pushes up the carbon footprint. Plus, the company is often accused of opaque business practices and communications.

Yet, he added: “There are sites that are far worse, which escape the sort of demonisation Amazon gets. For example, tests with Alibaba’s French sites show that items bought for €20 on it routinely have €2 as the value on the customs declaration to escape customs duties - but no one is going after them.”

Read more: France's love-hate relationship with Amazon 

Vincent Drezet, a tax expert with left-wing think tank Attac, said that the company is often seen as a symbol of all of the negative aspects of online business.

He said: “Amazon is a target of demonstrations because everyone uses it and everyone knows who it is. And while Amazon is not solely responsible for the problems of town centres, it does not help when people buy books from it rather than the local bookshop.”

Amazon pays several billion in taxes in Europe every year, but it has been embroiled in repeated tax disputes in France over accusations that it should be paying much more.

Records show that it made sales income of more than €44 billion in Europe in 2020, and figures suggest that sales increased by 40-50% over the pandemic as more people shopped from home.