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New demographic data shows continued divide at Amazon

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Amazon's JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York City

By Ross Kerber

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc's executives ranks remained largely white, although the share of non-white executives rose modestly, while minorities continued to account for most of its blue-collar workforce as the online retailer grew rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new company data.

The disclosure made Amazon the largest company by market capitalization to date to respond to a call from New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for companies to publicly release a confidential federal form, his office said on Thursday.

In all 67 companies in the S&P 100 released or plan to release their EEO-1 forms, which show detailed worker information as a result of the campaign, Stringer's office said.

A lack of racial or gender diversity in the leadership of many U.S. corporations has drawn focus since last year's Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

Demographic trends at Amazon are closely-watched compared to other technology companies partly because of the big blue-collar workforce staffing its warehouses and delivery vans, making it one of the largest U.S. private employers.

Amazon's data on U.S. workers showed that as of the end of October last year, 71% of top executives were white, down from 74% at the same point in 2019.

The figures were in a similar range as other big technology companies, several of which have not yet disclosed 2020 reports. An Amazon spokeswoman said via e-mail the data shows it is making progress on diversity and noted hiring goals it has set to improve diversity, including hiring more Black people and women. People of color accounted for 42% of newly-hired executives in 2020, she said.

Amazon's total U.S. employment now stands around 950,000, and the company has described more hiring goals.

In the filings Amazon posted on its website on Wednesday the biggest single category of workers was "laborers and helpers," accounting for about two-thirds of workers as of last October.

The form showed such workers who were Black, Hispanic or in other nonwhite categories made up 74% of such workers last year, compared with 72% the prior year.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

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