Pros and Cons of Working at an Amazon Warehouse

Amazon building

Amazon has almost 1 million warehouse employees across the US. At the same time, Amazon warehouses have a very high turnover rate – about 150% a year.

The reasons for this unusual turnover rate are due to peculiarities specific to Amazon warehouses and the warehousing industry in general.

Current and former Amazon warehouse employees love and hate the company in equal measure.

Below are some reasons why some associates love working at Amazon and reasons why some hate working there and contribute to the turnover rate.

Pros of Working at Amazon

Good pay. For the kind of job you’ll be doing as an entry-level employee, Amazon pays above average. Minimum pay at Amazon is $15/hr, which is well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

In fact, Amazon pay is so good that it has been putting an upward wage pressure on other industries such as restaurants and retail stores.

Not only is the money good, perks and benefits such as prepaid tuition are also among the best in this industry. Other benefits include (but not limited to):

  • Dental, medical and visual insurance
  • 401(k) savings plan
  • Paid time off
  • Vacation, sick and personal days
Stable shift schedule. As a full-time employee you will get full shifts if you need them. You can also schedule voluntary extra time (VET) for overtime. There are certain periods, however, where you will be required to work overtime, i.e., mandatory extra time (MET). An example of this is during peak season.

Great for introverts. If jobs like bartender, cashier or waiter don’t sound appealing to you, then you will love working at Amazon. With roles like stow associate, packer or picker, you may work whole shifts without having to talk to anyone.

Good workout. Working at Amazon will whip you right into shape. Get ready to be standing, walking and lifting stuff for up to 12 hours a shift. You can use this as an opportunity to burn off some calories instead of paying for a gym membership.

Can make great friends. Believe it or not, there are awesome guys and gals working at Amazon. The employee culture is great in many locations and you can form good, lasting friendships in some of these facilities.

Easy job to get. Warehouse jobs are some of the easiest out there to get, and it doesn’t get easier than in Amazon warehouses. All you need to do is pass virtual and in-person interviews, pass a background check, take a drug test (Amazon does not test for THC) and attend an online hiring orientation.

Cons of Working at Amazon

It is important to note that some of these cons are not only tied to Amazon warehouses but are endemic in the warehousing industry. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight them.

Mandatory Extra Time. During busy periods such as the peak season, Amazon workers are obligated to work overtime. Vacations are usually frozen during peak. Mandatory Extra Time (MET) can be quite stressful for associates as they may have to work up to 60 hours a week.

Seemingly arbitrary firing. It is quite easy to get fired at Amazon for reasons Amazonians (especially newer ones) may not know are violations. For example, cutting off PIT equipment is a big NO-NO at Amazon. To be on the safe side, don’t hesitate to ask your Learning Ambassador about what constitutes a fire-able offense.

Employees feel like they’re just a number. Employees at Amazon complain about not being noticed for their efforts and their concerns not being acknowledged by management. This leads to loss of motivation especially for those with a good work ethic.

Promotions with little pay raise. Promotion from an entry-level (T1) position to a higher position like a Tier 3 (Process Assistant), comes with very little pay increase. Usually, pay raise is about $1 from T1 to T3. This discourages many employees from seeking promotions at Amazon facilities.

Mind numbing and repetitive work in some departments. Some roles such as stowing or packing involve standing in place for long periods of time. This can get quite boring and make the days seem to drag on. If you require constant stimulation, you might find it difficult to adapt.

Earphones are not allowed in most locations. With the work being grueling and boring, the no ear-phones policy is a constant source of consternation among associates at Amazon. Some associates like listening to music or podcasts on their AirPods to break the monotony while working. However, some Amazonians have found ways around this.

Soreness and fatigue. Roles like stowing and packing can cause soreness and fatigue due to the amount of physical work involved. In fact, there are high incidents of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) at Amazon warehouses.

To minimize soreness on your feet, good work shoes are a necessity. The Amazon Zappos at Work program provides free credit every year towards buying shoes for work. Back-braces can also help prevent back pain.

Favoritism. Many employees complain about being looked over when it comes to promotions. There is a general suspicion that those who get these promotions are not necessarily the most deserving of them but are the most friendly to the managers, i.e., “it’s not what you know but who you know”.

However, what may be construed as favoritism may in fact be simple networking and those who put themselves forward generally tend to get recognition in most places.

Feeling Depressed. Like in many warehouse jobs, feeling depressed and isolated at Amazon facilities is pretty common. Constant work with very little human interaction is not tolerable for many employees.