Amazon fulfillment center in Eastvale, California on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.
MediaNews Group | The Riverside Press-Enterprise via Getty Images
LinkedIn’s 2022 Top Companies list tracks seven pillars focused on career progression: ability to advance, skills growth, company stability, external opportunity, company affinity, gender diversity and spread of educational backgrounds. The company said the rankings are based on data from its 810 million members and the investments companies make in employees.
JUST ranks Amazon 11th of 53 in retail, and 569th overall among the companies JUST tracks in the Russell 1000. JUST Capital’s rankings are determined by a poll of Americans on what issues they believe U.S. companies should prioritize most. For workers, these include paying a living wage, worker health and safety, benefits and work-life balance, diversity, equity and inclusion, and workforce investment and training.
Amazon exceeds the industry average in JUST’s rankings in all categories but one: worker health and safety, which measures the company’s well-being protections for workers beyond what is required by law.
JUST also ranks Amazon below the industry average on health and safety based on the number of controversies and fewer pertinent policies at the company.
This category is notably absent from the appraisal that goes into LinkedIn’s list.
Amazon, the country’s second-largest private employer, has faced broad scrutiny from lawmakers, activists and some of its own employees over its labor record.
Warehouse and delivery workers have routinely spoken out against the company, arguing its “customer obsession” and focus on speedy delivery have created an unsafe working environment. They’ve claimed the breakneck pace doesn’t allow for adequate breaks and bathroom time, and employees have also urged the company to raise wages and offer more paid vacation time.
Activism among employees has picked up since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic — with staged protests and calls for workplace safety. Employees have also accused Amazon of retaliating against both white-collar and blue-collar workers who’ve publicly criticized the company.
Amazon CEO Andy Jassy acknowledged during the GeekWire Summit in October that the company could do more to treat employees better. “I think if you have a large group of people like we do — we have 1.2 million employees — it’s almost like a small country,” he said. “There are lots of things you could do better.”
Amazon workers on New York’s Staten Island voted to join a union, in perhaps the strongest signal of activism at the company. The outcome represents a major upset for the e-commerce giant, which has staunchly opposed unions since its founding over two decades ago.
The union election has placed a renewed focus on how Amazon treats its employees. Earlier this month, the House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into Amazon’s labor practices, demanding it turn over information related to a deadly warehouse collapse in Illinois last year.
Amid growing labor unrest, Amazon last year pledged to work on improving employee welfare. The company added “Strive to be Earth’s Best Employer” to its list of leadership principles, which serve as the foundation of its corporate culture.
The company has also added more robust benefits, such as covering the cost of college tuition, including books and fees, for its approximately 750,000 hourly employees nationwide. It’s pledged $1.2 billion to help upgrade the skills of more than 300,000 of its employees by 2025.
Last fall, Amazon raised its average starting pay for U.S. warehouse workers to $18 an hour, after setting a $15 an hour minimum wage in 2018.