Belfast Telegraph

Amazon 'very optimistic' for future amid plans to create 450 jobs at London HQ

Amazon's UK chief has expressed his desire to maintain a "diverse workforce" following Brexit as the internet giant revealed it is to create 450 research and development jobs at its new London headquarters.

Doug Gurr said that the firm employs a large number of EU citizens, adding that he is pleased that their status is being prioritised in Brexit talks.

"In common with any large organisation here, we have a large number of EU citizens, and we love that, we've always celebrated diversity in the workforce.

"We benefit hugely from a diverse workforce, we're very optimistic and hopeful that will continue to be the case going forward," he said in response to a question about Brexit.

His comments come as fears grow of a UK skills shortage in sectors like tech once Britain severs itself from the European Union in 2019, cutting itself off from continental talent.

But this has not deterred Amazon's expansion plans, with the firm a nnouncing that it is to double its R&D headcount to 900 at its new Shoreditch head office, where it is now taking all 15 storeys of the Principal Place building, totalling 600,000 square feet.

The roles include software development engineers, user-interface experts, data analysts and graphic designers who will work on building new technologies for Amazon's Prime Video service.

The fresh recruitment drive means that, by the end of the year, Amazon will have over 5,000 corporate and research and development roles in the capital across three offices in Shoreditch, Holborn and Barbican.

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 US firm said that it has invested £6.4 billion in the UK since 2010 and is on track to bring its total UK headcount to 24,000 permanent employees.

"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," Mr Gurr added.