Amazon Study Reveals Most European Employees Favour On-The-Job Skills Training or Apprenticeships Over University Degrees for a Successful Career Start

The study coincides with Amazon celebrating the ten-year anniversary of its Career Choice training programme and the announcement of €40 million in further investment in skills training for Amazon employees across Europe.

More than half of European workers (54%) believe that on-the-job-skills training or apprenticeships are more valuable for preparing people for work today than traditional university degrees, a new European career insights and workplace trends study commissioned by Amazon has found. In fact, the study found that just under three quarters (73%) of workers feel there needs to be a wider range of apprenticeship or internship opportunities available to young people.

“I attribute a lot of my growth at Amazon to Career Choice”

The Amazon Future of Work & Career Development European study, conducted by Ipsos, also found that a majority of European employees* (89%) think it’s important to learn a new skill to improve or change their career path, even more so than receiving a promotion (73%). Alongside factors such as pay/salary (94%) and office/worksite location or flexible/hybrid or remote working (93%), 91% of adults say on the job training or career development training is essential or important when looking for a new job or role, and that training programmes offered by a potential employer are more important than company culture (78%). One potential reason is that many workers in the study said it would make them feel motivated (39%), encouraged (32%), valued (31%) or supported (30%) to work for a company that provides access to career development training. Additionally, almost one in five workers in Europe (19%) admit they couldn’t afford to pay for training.

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Amazon has long adapted to the ever-changing career and education landscape, investing more than €100 million in training programmes in Europe since it launched its Career Choice programme in the region in 2014. The programme provides 95% of pre-paid tuition, up to €8,000 over four years, for nationally recognised courses from more than 85 schools throughout Europe. It offers various training opportunities in a range of popular, in-demand job fields, from tech and sustainability to business administration and logistics, for Amazon’s hourly and salaried workers across the region.

To mark the ten-year anniversary of Career Choice in Europe, Amazon plans to invest €40 million in 2024 and to add more than 25 new programmes across five countries in Europe this year to support current and future job needs for the thousands of employees who participate in Career Choice. Currently, Amazon employees in Europe have access to over a hundred different programmes to help them maximise their potential within the company or outside of Amazon. Some of the new courses added in 2024 include Cloud Support, Cyber Security, Information Security, Web and Graphic Design, Mechatronics, Procurement Logistics, and Big Data, Virtualisation, and Machine Learning.

Since its launch ten years ago, more than 40,000 Amazon employees across Europe** have participated in the programme. While some employees leave Amazon to pursue other career opportunities with their newly acquired skills and certifications from Career Choice, thousands have stayed and transitioned into new roles. The popularity of the programme continues to increase, with about one in ten of all eligible employees in Europe participating in Career Choice in 2023. Popular areas of study vary from technology and sustainability, to mechanical and industrial systems, transportation and logistics, and administration and business studies.

“I attribute a lot of my growth at Amazon to Career Choice,” said Mo Abdullahi, Senior Operations Manager and Career Choice participant number four in the UK from 2014. “It gave me an opportunity to learn more about the role that I wanted and helped me with obtaining the qualifications that I needed. I’m still super surprised of my journey and growth through Amazon. If I look back ten years ago and starting as a temporary worker, I certainly wouldn’t have assumed that I would be at the level I am right now and with the responsibility I have now. It’s been an incredible journey.”

When it comes to jobs in the future, the study shows that training will need to play a key role in alleviating worker concerns, as 32% of European workers are worried they won’t have the training and skills to be relevant in their job in the coming years. In fact, two-thirds of European workers (67%) believe that people in the workforce today will need to continue to retrain and update their skills to continue working in the future. However, only 15% of employees say they have access to training to help them change their career path, and over one in five (22%) employees say they don’t have any access to training with their current employer.

“The latest research and the growth of our Career Choice programme over the past ten years clearly demonstrates the strong desire for workers across the Europe to develop their careers through relevant and accessible skills training programmes,” said Robert Marhan, Global Operations Vice President of People Experience & Technology (PXT). “Amazon is proud to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Career Choice skills training programme in Europe and to expand the course options available, so that thousands of employees across Europe can advance their skills and take on new career opportunities both at Amazon and beyond.”

The Career Choice programme is currently available to Amazon employees in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, the U.S., and the UK. It has a rigorous selection process for third-party partner educators, choosing partners that are focused on helping employees through their education programmes, assisting them with job placements, and overall offering education that leads to career success.

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