In an industry where the jobs are scarce and the rewards are small, Nike has found a way to lure a few hundred tech workers by offering them perks like $20,000-a-year “lifestyle” stipends, $100,000 per year in company stock and a $2,000 bonus if they are promoted to senior leaders.
To find the best job, the shoe giant has hired a team of 10,000 software engineers to analyze its shoes and determine which ones offer the best fit and fit-for-purpose.
The company has also hired some 100 corporate-level talent from the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon and more, said Amit Agarwal, a vice president of global operations.
The new hires have been trained in the company’s Nike app, which lets them tap into the company servers for information about the shoes, and in the shoes themselves.
It’s a great way to gauge the fit and function of a shoe.
“The software team has trained over 20,000 employees in the shoe industry,” said Michael Fuhrman, the head of footwear at Nike.
The tech companies’ hiring is part of a larger push by the company to bolster its presence in the footwear industry.
It has become a leader in its own right with its tech apps, and recently launched a new version of its shoe app that includes social networking features.
“We see this as a way of reaching out to a lot of the customers who are more in the lifestyle market,” Mr. Fuhhman said.
“They are more connected with their community.”
Nike is also trying to get its foot in the door at the fashion and fitness space, which have been hit hard by the recession.
The company hired about 1,000 engineers and designers in the last two years to help it build out its retail stores, while expanding its fitness center.
The latest move is part the strategy to turn its business around in the face of stiff competition from rival companies such as Zappos and Instacart.
“Our goal is to become a brand in the space of wearables and fitness,” Mr, Fuhnman said, adding that he believes Nike will be a strong player in the future.
Write to Andrew Rassweiler at [email protected]