Main image of article Amazon May Adjust How Tech Pros are Paid, Again

Amazon may tweak its employee compensation yet again, according to a new report.

Amazon may reduce its restricted stock units (RSU) and give employees more cash instead, stated an internal company memo reviewed by Business Insider. The memo cited budget and recession concerns as the primary reasons behind the possible shift.

Amazon confirmed the memo’s existence, but a spokesperson stated no compensation plans have been finalized. However, if Amazon decides to reduce the RSUs that employees receive, it would mark a radical strategy shift from last year, when the company reportedly handed out record amounts of stock, including 138 million RSUs to employees in the second quarter of 2022.

That uptick in RSUs followed a significant boost in Amazon’s maximum base pay for corporate and tech employees from $160,000 to $350,000. “This past year has seen a particularly competitive labor market and in doing a thorough analysis of various options, weighing the economics of our business and the need to remain competitive for attracting and retaining top talent, we decided to make meaningfully bigger increases to our compensation levels than we do in a typical year,” the company wrote in an internal post reviewed by GeekWire.

But that was before fears of a potential recession overtook the economy. Amazon subsequently laid off thousands of employees, some of whom worked in mission-critical divisions such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). Although the company enjoyed outsized revenue and profits during the pandemic, many businesses and consumers have decided to spend less on cloud services and e-commerce, forcing new-ish Amazon CEO Andy Jassy to cut costs.

Stock is generally viewed as a crucial part of the tech pro compensation package at some of the nation’s largest tech companies, and a reduction in RSUs could prove a crucial differentiator for some job candidates in deciding whether or not to work at Amazon. However, an increase in base salary could soothe any concerns over stock awards—provided it exceeds what other companies are offering for similar roles.