• According to Recode, Amazon employees witnessed systematic disadvantages for Black workers. 
  • Workers told the outlet underrepresented people were sometimes hired at levels below their qualifications.
  • Amazon responded to Recode, saying it disagreed with the characterization of its company culture. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

More than a dozen current or former employees at Amazon’s corporate headquarters say they witnessed systematic disadvantages for Black and underrepresented workers, according to Recode

The tech news website quoted an Amazon diversity manager, who said: “We struggle to bring [Black] folks in because there’s not a whole lot of desire, in my opinion, to go outside of our normal practices.”

Once inside the company, those employees sometimes had difficulty advancing, the manager told the outlet.

Later this year, Andy Jassy will take over as chief executive at the retail giant, replacing founder Jeff Bezos. Jassy has spoken about diversity at the company previously, saying at a June 2020 event that the issue was “really important.”

He added: “Frankly, as a technology industry, I think we can be much better. It’s, in my opinion, still way too homogenous.”

Amazon’s most recent diversity data report showed that about 26.5{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} of its employees were Black, 22.8{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} were Hispanic, and 13.6{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} were Asian. About 10.6{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} of its US managers were Black, 9.5{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} were Hispanic, and 19.5{98cae0078f524eff3ab8ec32cf55b261677ef6c8a6ed6e94d92a4234b93f46b6} were Asian, according to that data. 

Amazon staffers also told Recode that Black employees had sometimes been hired for lower-level jobs than they were qualified for. The outlet quoted a diversity and inclusion manager as saying: “It is not uncommon for women, and especially Black women, to have a role advertised at one level but extended an offer at a position that is lower.”

In a statement, Amazon told Recode: “We disagree with this characterization of Amazon’s culture and believe that it misrepresents the facts and is based on the views of a small number of individuals.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment on Saturday. 

On Twitter, former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao said the reporting on Amazon was “too sad and exhausting so please read it.”


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