Amazon’s plans to split its second regional headquarters between two cities could lead to an intense rivalry with U.S. defense firms.
It’s been reported that the eCommerce giant might be choosing two locations for its second headquarters rather than picking just one city, with a source saying the company wants to be able to recruit more top tech talent. Amazon has reportedly been in late-stage discussions with a handful of communities, including Crystal City in northern Virginia, Dallas and New York City.
Crystal City is located near the Pentagon and the Washington defense industry, while Dallas is home to such heavyweights as Lockheed Martin, which produces F-35 jet fighters and missiles in the region. In addition, Amazon has already started competing for defense workers as it tries to enter into Pentagon contracting, causing issues for companies already dealing with a tough labor market — especially in northern Virginia.
“The competition for talent is now much broader,” said Horacio Rozanski, chief executive of Booz Allen Hamilton Holding, the government services specialist based in McLean, VA, just north of Crystal City. “When a cyber person at Booz Allen gets pinged, it’s not just by the usual suspects. Bank of America will call them, Google will call them, Amazon Web Services will call them."
In an effort to compete, defense companies are getting creative in order to attract and retain workers.
“There is a bit of concern. We’re about at structurally zero unemployment, and that’s going to at some point make it more difficult for us to hire, or hire at the rate at which we’ve been,” Roger Krone, chief executive of Leidos, said on an investor call last month.
“We are looking at all opportunities, employee referrals, bonuses for hiring your friend and things like that, things that you’re probably seeing in the industry writ large,” he added.