Amazon Uses Gig Workers to Deliver From Malls

Many companies like Amazon offer flexible hours and competitive pay, yet 20% of workers feel their job is secure.

May 24, 2022

Amazon Flex Driver in a Mall

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Amazon is now delivering products from mall retailers to customers by utilizing its Flex drivers in select markets, reports CNBC. Amazon has been notifying the drivers it’s testing a program that delivers packages from mall retailers to customers’ homes.

“Amazon Flex is testing a new offer type near you,” said the notice obtained by CNBC. “Retail delivery offers will allow you to pick up and deliver pre-packaged orders directly from non-Amazon retail stores in participating local shopping centers.”

Amazon is piloting the program in Las Vegas from Fashion Show Mall, Tysons Corner in Virginia and Chandler, Arizona, and CNBC reports there could be an additional test happening in Friendswood, Texas, near Houston, according to a Reddit post.

“We have been delivering from third-party stores for years,” Kate Kudrna, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement. “This is another way we are able to connect Amazon sellers with customers via convenient delivery options.”

Amazon Flex uses contracted workers to deliver packages from their own vehicles and operates in over 50 cities. The drivers make between $18 and $25 an hour, depending on the type of shift, and are responsible for costs like gas, tolls and car maintenance.

Despite companies like Amazon offering flexible hours and competitive wages, workers are still feeling insecure about the job market, CNBC also reports.

A recent survey by ADP found that 20% of workers felt that their job was secure.

“Workers have experienced a tremendous amount of upheaval,” ADP Chief Economist Nela Richardson told CNBC. “The changes are both seismic and persistent.”

A big concern for workers is inflation. The economy added over two million jobs this year, but 40-year high inflation is impacting the actual amount employees receive in their paychecks.

“The real thing to focus on today is inflation,” Richardson said. “What inflation does is it erodes the value of that paycheck. ... People are getting more take-home pay; it’s just not going as far as it used to.”

“Even though their wages have gone up and they’re growing faster, when all is said and done the average worker in the fourth quartile [of income earners] is only making about two bucks, a little less than two bucks [more] than they did in 2019 per hour,” Richardson told CNBC. “Despite all the talk of wage growth, it hasn’t been stellar when you think about inflation. Real wages are declining, and that’s true at every income level.”

Richardson said that companies must focus on boosting worker flexibility and security, as the ADP survey showed that workers want flexibility over their time and more autonomy in their work.

“Our data shows that workers are willing to take pay cuts to get that kind of flexibility,” Richardson told CNBC.

Flexibility in the workplace could also help bring female workers back into the labor market, as more than 1.4 million net jobs were lost among women since the pandemic began. Before the pandemic, women made up 46% of workers but took on 53% of the losses, according to Richardson.

“[Flexibility] could be a way to accommodate the very real fact that women have a larger share of the family responsibilities,” Richardson told CNBC.

NACS is hosting a webinar next month on how convenience retailers can implement flexible and innovative scheduling tactics into their operations. Creating half-shifts for employees who are willing to work but have limited availability, setting shift changes outside of rush hour to cut down on travel time, or authorizing employees to work at multiple locations are just a few options. Register today to hear from leading retailers about how they have implemented flexible and unique scheduling arrangements for their employees.

Convenience retailers also can access the Good Jobs Calculator, designed exclusively for NACS and the convenience industry. This tool allows retailers to use their own data and customized assumptions about the amount of improvement or uplift achievable, and executives can run scenarios on the bottom-line impact of a Good Jobs system.

Look for “Understanding Your Local Labor Landscape” in the December issue of NACS Magazine for tips on building an effective employee value proposition and how to gain an edge when competing for candidates.