Expat Essentials

Amazon’s bold Europe expansion means career opportunities for highly skilled expats

The news hit last week: Amazon is making a big push for Prime in Europe by buying up about 1,300 small warehouses across the continent, which the Seattle-based digital commerce giant will use for distribution.

Amazon Prime – Amazon Premium in some markets – is offered in the United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Austria in Europe.

The new distribution facilities will be vital to expanding Prime Now, Amazon’s one-hour delivery service for Prime members, according to media reports.

Dominant in the U.S., Amazon still isn’t much of an e-commerce force in Europe outside Germany (40-percent share of online sales) and the United Kingdom, where it has about a 30-percent share.

In our global headquarters in the Netherlands, we’re limited to buying Kindle books on Amazon.nl. To get apparel or other items, we have to use German Amazon, but Amazon.de and its sellers don’t always deliver to the Netherlands.

You have to add an item to your cart and start the checkout process before you know if it will be delivered to the address.

All that is about to change as Amazon builds out its infrastructure to capture more and more of online shopping in Europe, which is valued at about 550 billion euros.

Obviously, adding 1,300 distribution centers means mostly adding laborers. BUT, this is about more than fulfillment. This is about creating the same massive do-everything digital capacity Amazon has in the U.S.

For you highly skilled expats, that means more than just being able to buy PlayStations and those American Giant hoodies like you wore in The Valley.

It’s about careers.

Amazon is adding jobs like crazy in the UK. But of course with Brexit, those positions won’t be open to internationals.

Everywhere else in the European Union, Amazon is hiring, both for e-commerce jobs and for its cloud computing operations. And as we sampled the available opportunities, we noted most ads are in English except in France. What’s that tell you?

We counted at least 74 job openings posted during April just for Luxembourg alone, and another 31 openings in Berlin. The vast majority of these are for high-level computer engineers and IT types, though there were also management and marketing jobs. Of course, you have to be cleared to work in these countries – which might not be that hard since most have provisions in their residency permits that allow companies to hire internationals if they have skills difficult to find locally.

(There are multiple hiring events around Europe this month and in June. Here’s a link to one in Berlin that runs from 29 May to 2 June where Amazon is looking for software development engineers and software development managers.)

All the following were posted in April and are still unfilled, as far as we can determine:

• Senior Manager, EU Operations Development and Change (Luxembourg)

Are you interested in defining the future operating model for Amazon’s European operations? We are looking for an exceptionally talented Senior Manager to be part of the leadership team within ACES. The roles will report into the European Director of ACES and independently define, own and drive a portfolio of complex cross-functional and cross-EU projects and programmes from concept through to full implementation.

Preferred qualifications:

– Demonstrated experience and proficiency of hypothesis-led problem solving
– Highly analytical and comfortable with large analyses. Able to quickly distill down complex operating models and identify where the value and opportunity is
– Ability to operate at both a strategic and operational level. Credible and impactful both with Senior Operational and Business Leaders as well as on the shop floor

• HR Project Manager, Expansion (Amsterdam)

As part of the Global Expansion, Mergers & Acquisitions HR team, the HR Project Manager will be dedicated to support all aspects of expansion projects involving employment activity. You will also contribute to the overall team charter driving further improvement and efficiencies on how we approach expansion efforts.

Key Responsibilities:
· As EMEA HR Project Manager you will be responsible for planning and executing expansion projects across all business and service lines
· You will act as a local expert and provide consulting support to relevant HR Business Partners in order to ensure smooth employee experience and strong support for the business needs
· You will also get involved in global program activity supporting development & improvement of our tools and methodologies.

Basic Qualifications:

· Expertise in leading complex and multi-country projects across varying business and service units
· Experience driving expansion projects related to new geographies and businesses

• Senior Solutions Architect – AWS – Enterprise (Belgium for the BeNeLux)

Roles & Responsibilities:
· Serve as a key member of the sales team in helping to ensure customer success in building applications and services on the AWS platform.

Basic Qualifications:

· The right person will be highly technical and analytical, possess several years of implementation/consulting experience
· Fluency in English is essential, other Central/Eastern European Languages are advantageous especially Dutch
· Experience working within the software development or Internet industries is highly desired.

• Principal Solutions Architect (Berlin)


· Run technical workshops and advise customers on architectural and strategic IT decisions
· Educate customers on best practices to ensure their solutions are designed for successful deployment in the cloud
· Work with other AWS teams to drive adoption and revenue

Basic Qualifications:

· 10+ years of experience in the design and implementation of complex IT systems
· Experience in system architecture and software delivery processes
· Hands-on experience in at least two of the following domains: networking & infrastructure, operations, application design & development, automation & deployment, virtualisation or container technologies, web technologies

• Senior Solutions Architecture Manager – Amazon Web Services Nordics (Stockholm)

The ideal candidate will have past experience working as a Solutions Architect or similar role and managing a team of a Solutions Architects.

Basic qualifications:

· 7+ years design/implementation/consulting experience of distributed applications
· 3+ years management of technical, customer facing resources
· 5+ years experience in infrastructure architecture, database architecture and networking

As you can tell from this quick sampling of listings, Amazon is looking for the best talent in Europe. Is Amazon likely to crush a number of bricks-and-mortar retailers, as well as e-commerce competitors? Yes, as well as dominate cloud computing, fintech, big-data processing, machine learning, drones, air cargo and everything else, at least until a competitor emerges.

Is that a bad thing? Too soon to know.

But clearly, if you’re a highly skilled techpat, the future is now in e-commerce, where tech talent makes roughly 10 times as much as someone waiting on customers at H&M.

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Co-CEO of Dispatches Europe. A former military reporter, I'm a serial expat who has lived in France, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands.

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