Walmart Increases Minimum Wage and Education Opportunities for Associates
Walmart, the largest private employer in America, has announced that it is increasing its minimum wage from $12 to $14 an hour in an effort to attract and retain talent in today’s tight labor market. The company also said that its overall minimum wage would climb to $14 an hour, representing a roughly 17% jump for workers. Starting in March, store associates will earn between $14 and $19 an hour, up from the current $12 to $18.
Under its Live Better U (LBU) education program, Walmart is also adding new college degrees and certificates, available for both full and part time associates on their first day, for which Walmart pays 100% of tuition and fees.
Walmart’s Associate-to-Driver initiative is being expanded. This program covers the cost of getting a commercial driver’s license for employees, so they can become a Walmart truck driver and potentially earn up to $110,000 in their first year. Previously, the program was only available for supply chain associates, but now it is being made available to store associates as well.
The organization is additionally persisting to put resources into the employees who run its Auto Care Centers (ACCs). “Last fall, we created a higher-paying ACC coach role. Now, we’re introducing a higher-paying ACC team lead position and elevating the ACC tech position to a higher pay-band that reflects the special skills needed for the role and its importance to our business.”
Andy Challenger, the senior vice president at outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, stated in an email that the labor market is still competitive, especially at this stage. He also said that hourly workers are still difficult to come by and companies are still vying for them by increasing wages.
John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a note to employees, “We’re proud to continue investing in Walmart’s legacy by introducing new job opportunities and raising pay. No matter where you are in your journey, getting your start here can open doors – the first step into jobs that become careers and build better lives.”
In November, the Labor Department reported that there were 10.5 million job openings, which is very high in comparison to historical standards and a much greater number than the 6 million unemployed people who were seeking employment. Retail sector job openings totaled over 1 million.
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