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Walmart to Hire 150,000 Store Associates Ahead of Holiday 2021

Walmart is hiring approximately 150,000 new U.S. store associates this holiday season in what the retailer says will largely be permanent and full-time at its conclusion. The move comes one month after Walmart said it was adding 20,000 permanent workers to its supply chain in anticipation of the peak e-commerce rush.

As part of the announcement, the Bentonville behemoth emphasized the associates’ role in helping shoppers “however they want,” whether it was in the store shelves, using curbside pickup or shopping online.

In a blog post, Julie Murphy, chief people officer, Walmart U.S., touted the retail giant’s recent wage increases, in which minimum hourly salaries were raised from $11 to $12 on Sept. 25, alongside its Live Better U education benefits program, which pays employees 100 percent of college tuition and book costs.

“We’re always looking to add great talent to our incredible team of dedicated associates, the everyday heroes who have been a constant force for good in their communities amidst the uncertainty of the past year,” Murphy wrote. “Before we know it, millions of customers will count on our team to help find those great gifts and holiday meals, and we’ll be ready.”

Walmart, like the rest of the retail and supply chain industries, is aiming to fill positions in the midst of a labor shortage across the U.S. As the holiday season revs up, enterprise-scale businesses like Walmart will need all hands on deck, particularly as more shoppers hit stores again and e-commerce backlogs are expected to accelerate. Over the summer, the company even began chartering vessels of its own to mitigate ongoing port congestion issues and avoid out-of-stocks in the critical third and fourth quarters.

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Overall, projections for the holiday season indicate that retail sales could increase anywhere between 7 and 9 percent, says Deloitte, while Mastercard tabs expectations at 7.4 percent.

With the hires, Walmart is following in the footsteps of Target, which recently announced 100,000 new seasonal store employees, as well as Macy’s, which is bringing nearly 55,000 associates onboard to improve the store experience during the holiday. Of the 76,000 employees the department store is bringing in across its stores and fulfillment centers, 28,000 will be permanent. Dick’s Sporting Goods is hiring up to 10,000 seasonal store associates, while Kohl’s said to hire 90,000 seasonal store and warehouse workers.

And while it isn’t hiring a legion of store associates, Amazon is prepping for the e-commerce tidal wave with 125,000 new hires of its own in its fulfillment and logistics operations.

In preparation of the season, Walmart is also offering current store associates the opportunity to pick up extra hours and plans to “continue to offer those opportunities,” Murphy said.

The retailer, which has nearly 5,000 stores nationwide and has a location within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, offers an hourly wage of approximately $16.40. Jobs in its stores can also pay as much as $34 per hour, according to Murphy.

America’s largest private employer, at 1.6 million employees, hasn’t exactly been associated with workforce wellness in the past, but Walmart has sought to change this appearance with some of the added perks and wage increases. Murphy further noted in the blog post that any entry-level associates can be promoted “to roles of greater responsibility and higher pay within seven months, on average.”

She also laid out the advancement opportunities at the retailer, saying that approximately 75 percent of U.S. salaried store managers began their Walmart careers in an hourly role.

Employees get a 10 percent discount on general merchandise and fresh food, as well as assorted discounts on cell phone plans, fitness memberships and more. Additionally, Walmart associates also can access the company’s stock purchase plan, in which the retailer matches 15 percent of the first $1,800 accrued.

In 2021, 41 percent of Walmart’s active full-time and salaried U.S. associates participated in at least one of Walmart’s stock ownership programs, including but not limited to equity awards and its associate stock purchase plan.

In the employment push, Walmart now encourages prospective associates to apply in stores, online and also via a mobile app.