Amazon gets 'record' number of job applications after minimum wage hike

Amazon on Thursday said that it received a record number of job applications in the days after it announced plans to hike its hourly minimum wage to $15 for all of its workers.

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The e-commerce giant disclosed in its fourth-quarter earnings release that it received roughly 850,000 applications for hourly positions in October 2018 alone. That tally was “more than double the previous record for the most applications received in a month,” the release said.

Amazon added that the wage hikes, which went into effect last Nov. 1 for all hourly workers, affected more than 250,000 U.S. employees and an additional 17,000 workers in the United Kingdom. More than 200,000 seasonal workers hired during the busy holiday sales season also saw a pay bump.

Amazon implemented the change amid heavy scrutiny and pressure from critics, especially Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who had called on the company to improve its pay practices. Though initially well-received, the wage hike plan drew further scrutiny after Amazon acknowledged that it would also phase out stock compensation and incentive-based bonuses.

The Seattle-based company dismissed the criticism, arguing that the minimum wage hike “more than compensates” hourly workers missing out on stock grants and incentive bonuses. Amazon also said that its public policy team would advocate for a federal minimum wage increase.

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Amazon beat expectations for fourth-quarter revenue and earnings on Thursday, but shares sank as the company provided weak first-quarter guidance. The e-commerce retailer reported full-year revenue of $232.9 billion in fiscal 2018.