MercadoLibre Adds 13K Jobs Amid Tech Firm Layoff Wave

MercadoLibre eCommerce

As the tech world undertakes layoffs, MercadoLibre is in hiring mode.

The Latin American eCommerce giant plans to add 13,000 jobs this year, Chief People Officer Sebastian Fernandez Silva said in an interview with Bloomberg News Thursday (April 20).

The hiring will focus on logistics operations in Brazil and Mexico, as well as the Argentinian company’s tech and product teams.

“It’s very important for us to have a stronger, more robust logistics network that allows for faster, cheaper deliveries for users,” Fernandez told Bloomberg.

He added that the new hiring will hopefully bolster MercadoLibre’s fulfillment network, particularly in smaller cities.

While he declined to offer a number for how many new distribution and service centers MercadoLibre would open this year, the company has in past statements said it planned to invest $3.6 billion in Brazil this year and $1.6 billion in Mexico.

PYMNTS spoke last year with MercadoLibre’s Karen Bruck about the rapid expansion of Latin America’s eCommerce market, especially in the wake of the COVID pandemic.

“eCommerce penetration [before the pandemic] was way lower [in Latin America] than in the U.S. or other regions, such as Asia or China, in particular,” she said. “eCommerce penetration more than doubled in Latin America during the pandemic, but the biggest difference from other regions is that it never stopped growing.”

But she added that foreign merchants hoping to gain a foothold in this fast-growing market first need to understand its particulars. Bruck cautioned that it would be a mistake to think of the Latin American eCommerce landscape as a monolith, rather than the highly diverse set of countries and consumers that it is.

“Latin America is very fragmented, and the regulations in each one of the countries are different,” she told PYMNTS. “If you go to Brazil, you will have a completely different market from the one in Mexico, Argentina or Colombia, and also different regulations in terms of how to invoice and import products.”

The company’s hiring effort — to be funded through in-house revenue with no need for financing, per Bloomberg — is happening in the middle of a wave of job cuts at other big tech companies around the world.

Among these is fellow eCommerce firm Amazon, which announced last month it was letting go of 9,000 employees — mostly in its company’s cloud computing, Twitch livestream, and advertising departments — following 18,000 layoffs in January.

“For several years leading up to this one, most of our businesses added a significant amount of headcount,” CEO Andy Jassy said.

“This made sense given what was happening in our businesses and the economy as a whole. However, given the uncertain economy in which we reside, and the uncertainty that exists in the near future, we have chosen to be more streamlined in our costs and headcount.”