Why Amazon’s Attrition is Higher than Attrition at Other Tech Companies

The average tenure of a full-time Amazonian is roughly one year, while tenure at other tech places like Facebook, Apple, and Google tends to be roughly about two years. Why is that?

Before venturing an explanation, I should clarify a couple of house-keeping items: 1) the one-year-tenure estimate excludes Amazon’s fulfillment-center employees and seasonal employees. And 2) Payscale’s latest survey of employees’ median tenure at a number of companies, pegs Amazon’s tenure at exactly one year. However, my main point is not to debate the veracity of this estimate. I am sure that the one-year-tenure estimate is more of a directional number than an absolute one. The main point is to offer a base hypothesis of why the average tenure at Amazon tends to be lower than tenure at other tech companies.

Amazon’s Official Explanation is that its Headcount Growth Deflates its Retention

You can Either hire well or fire well

Strong Performers Leave too

In a way, Amazon has become a cradle of talent, bound to move on to bigger projects, which at times means having to leave home.

Given Amazon’s hectic pace and its focus on results, the one-year mark is a huge deal. And other companies know this too. And they are lying in wait, happy to take advantage. It certainly did happen to me — after I clocked my first year at Amazon, the number of companies trying to poach me (via LinkedIn and elsewhere) jumped significantly. And I was not, by any means, an exception. Companies of all types attempt to lure away successful Amazonians post their one-year marks because these Amazonians have become a proven quantity; and have been forged by the Amazon ways of doing business.

So, even successful Amazonians frequently face compelling opportunities to work elsewhere. Smaller companies offering VP roles, or competitors offering more money, or exciting startups, all offer reasons to leave the mothership. It certainly happened to me: I left to start my own business after five good years at Amazon.

A Cradle of Talent

This originally appeared on amazonbound.today.

Entrepreneur. Immigrant. Ex-Amazon and Microsoft. ALAW.