Amazon Announces Plans to Double R&D Roles in London as it Opens New UK Head Office
25 July, 2017
Amazon today opened the doors to its new UK head office in central London, announcing it will take all 15 storeys and 600,000 sq. ft. of the Principal Place building in Shoreditch so it can double the capacity of its London Development Centre from 450 to 900 high tech staff, as well as house other corporate roles from across the company. By the end of the year, Amazon will have over 5,000 corporate and research and development roles in London across three offices in Shoreditch, Holborn and Barbican supporting its retail, digital entertainment, devices and AWS businesses.
At the head office opening, Amazon announced increased community investment plans to help children and young people reach their full potential in the digital world including funding one million schoolchildren's healthy breakfasts in the 2017/2018 school year through the charity Magic Breakfast, and doubling the size of its Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary programme.
Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said: "This is great news for Britain - Amazon's increased investment in developing cutting-edge technology in London is another vote of confidence in the UK as a world-leading centre of creativity and innovation."
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said: "London is open to talent, innovation and entrepreneurship and the natural place for major global companies to call home – and it's great news that Amazon has put its confidence in our unique blend of talent, creativity and access to finance. This is the latest in a long line of recent major investments in London by global tech firms over the last year, and shows once more that our great city is the tech capital of Europe."
The opening of Principal Place is part of Amazon's significant investment in the UK, with the company investing more than £6.4 billion in the UK in building and running its operations since 2010. This year Amazon has pledged to create 5,000 new permanent roles across the country, bringing its total workforce to 24,000 across its head office, three development centres as well as its fulfilment and customer service centres. These new job opportunities are for people with all types of experience, education and skill levels—from software developers, engineers and technicians, to those seeking entry-level positions and on-the-job training in operations roles.
"London is one of the world's truly great cities and home to some of the most talented, creative people on the planet, and we are delighted to provide our teams of innovators with a new, purpose-built workplace," said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. "While we open a new development centre to house today's innovators, we also want to help foster the next generation of inventors by funding a million healthy breakfasts to give schoolchildren the fuel to learn, and expand our bursary programme to help more women get university educations for high tech roles."
A new, state of the art head office and development centre for the UK,
Located on Norton Folgate, between Liverpool Street and Shoreditch High Street stations, Amazon's new UK head office and London Development Centre at Principal Place is a mixed-use development with half an acre of public piazza and events space and 20,000 sq. ft. of retail, including cafés and restaurants offering alfresco dining. In 2014, Amazon announced plans to take residence in 431,000 sq. ft. of office space, and today announced it will take all 15 storeys and 600,000 sq. ft. to support continued growth.
The building has a design-led interior which celebrates the industrial heritage and rich culture of Shoreditch, complemented by a rotating selection of art provided by local artists. It offers employees extensive amenities, such as several cafés and restaurants, light and airy open plan work spaces with adjustable sitting/standing desks for all employees, a large auditorium for employee events, and two large outdoor spaces offering views over London.
Doubling Research and Development in the capital to benefit Prime Video customers globally
Amazon's London Development Centre, which primarily focuses on research and development for Amazon's global Prime Video service, will have three dedicated floors in the new building, with capacity increasing from the current 450 roles to 900. The new development centre will house teams of software development engineers, user-interface experts, data analysts and graphic designers working to build new technologies for Amazon's Prime Video service, benefitting tens of millions of customers around the world.
Teams of engineers in London are responsible for product design, innovation, development and ongoing support for the Prime Video service to ensure it works seamlessly for customers across living room devices such as TVs and gaming consoles, web, and mobile applications across the globe.
The London Research and Development teams have already helped develop innovative features such as X-Ray, which allows you to go behind the scenes of your favourite films and TV shows with instant access to cast photos, bios, filmographies, soundtrack info, trivia and in-depth character information via IMDb; including for UK-filmed series like The Grand Tour, Outlander and Ripper Street.
Teams have also developed and launched the capability for add-on channel subscriptions, allowing UK customers to subscribe to channels, such as Eurosport and Discovery, through the Amazon Video service; as well as the mobile downloads feature, which enables customers to download shows and films for offline viewing when they are on-the-go.
"There is a thriving creative community here in London, many of whom we already work with on Amazon Original and exclusive TV shows like The Grand Tour and the forthcoming Good Omens," said Jay Marine, Vice President, Amazon Video Europe. "We also have hundreds of dedicated software engineers right here in London working hard every day to deliver a fantastic video experience to our Prime members, wherever they're watching on whatever device they are using."
The expansion of Amazon's London Development Centre complements growing teams in development centres in Cambridge and Edinburgh which focus on innovations including voice recognition, drones and further improving Amazon's online and mobile shopping experience. By the end of the year Amazon will have over 1,500 UK based employees in high tech roles working on services that are rolled out to Amazon customers globally.
Helping children and young people succeed in the digital economy
To mark the opening of its new head office, Amazon is increasing its support to help children and young people reach their potential in the digital world including funding one million school children's healthy breakfasts in the upcoming school year through Magic Breakfast and doubling the intake of its Amazon Women in Innovation Bursary programme.
Magic Breakfast is a charity that aims to end hunger as a barrier to education in UK schools through the provision of healthy breakfasts. Amazon's pledge to fund one million breakfasts in the 2017-18 school year will benefit over 5,000 children in 77 schools located close to Amazon's offices and buildings across the country, including in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. This increased funding ensures more schoolchildren than ever before will receive a nutritious breakfast at school including bagels, cereals, juice and porridge to help improve their performance.
Magic Breakfast's founder and Chief Executive, Carmel McConnell MBE, commented: "Amazon's investment means we can help children the length and breadth of the UK, from Shoreditch in Hackney, where the charity was born, to Sheffield, Stoke and Scotland. The evidence of the impact of a healthy school breakfast is clear, with pupils in schools with Magic Breakfast clubs getting a boost to their attainment of as much as 2 months progress over the course of a year, compared to children in schools with no such breakfast provision."
Amazon is also expanding its Women in Innovation Bursary, an initiative which provides financial support to female students from low income households studying technical subjects. The increased support from Amazon means the company will be funding up to 24 students annually at Cambridge, Edinburgh and Kings College London universities. Students benefit from financial support, mentoring and development opportunities at the development centres across the three locations.
The company also announced earlier this year an apprenticeship programme offering hundreds of opportunities in engineering, logistics and warehousing roles in fulfilment centres across the country, as well as Amazon Web Services re:Start, a free training and job placement programme for the UK to educate 1,000 young adults as well as military veterans, reservists, and their spouses, on the latest software development and cloud computing technologies.
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