Adapted from “Vancouver To Add 1,000 Jobs With New Amazon Office, But No HQ2” by Aeman Ansari for Betakit
Retail giant Amazon announced it is opening a second office in Vancouver that will double its current workforce in the region (to 2,000 by 2020), but the company has yet to decide on a home for its prized second headquarters, HQ2.
At a news conference November 3rd, 2017, B.C. Premier John Horgan welcomed the announcement and hinted at the speculation over Amazon’s second base. More than 200 cities and regions across North America, including Vancouver and other cities in six provinces, are jockeying for the coveted facility will come with $5 billion USD in investment and up to 50,000 jobs.
“Today is a great day for jobs in British Columbia,” Horgan said. “It’s a great day for the tech sector, and I believe it’s an opportunity for us to look forward to other challenges and other opportunities presented by Amazon.”
Amazon Canada currently employs over 5,000 people across the country, and recently opened a corporate office in Toronto bringing the total of employees in the city to 800.
“The word is out; Vancouver has developed a globally recognised ecosystem supported by a robust and innovative startup community, myriad homegrown tech giants with global footprints, and international enterprises who choose to make Vancouver home,” says Vancouver Economic Commission (VEC) CEO Ian McKay. “We are delighted by Amazon’s announcement today, which marks the latest development in an influx of household-name technology companies investing in the future of Vancouver’s talent-rich, competitive business climate.”
Amazon noted two main reasons behind opening a new facility in Vancouver – that it is a metropolitan area with more than a million people, and an international airport that’s 45 minutes away. “The thing that primarily drives our decision here is the availability of awesome talent. And as our growth accelerates, we need to plan for the space to develop that,” said Jesse Dougherty, Amazon’s general manager for its Vancouver operations.
Dougherty noted the additional 1,000 jobs will be a mix of software engineers, technical employees, HR and marketing experts. The new employees will work in a temporary space until the 150,000 square foot office tower is ready in 2020.
During the event, Premier Horgan committed to addressing what Dougherty had previously told him were the city’s main limitations to tech growth: affordable housing, improved public transportation, and a post-secondary education system that produces more STEM graduates.
“We’re committed to deliver on all three,” Horgan said. “So British Columbians can stay here and we can attract other people to put down roots in this spectacular city.”
Photo courtesy Amazon.