Walmart is the latest retailer to announce ambitious hiring plans ahead of what is expected to be a record holiday season. The retail giant said Wednesday (Sept. 29) it plans to hire 150,000 employees at U.S. stores with most of the new positions being full-time and permanent.
Julie Murphy, chief people officer at Walmart, said the hiring spree is in addition to the 20,000 new positions the retailer needs to fill within its supply chain. She said store employees already working at Walmart will have the opportunity to pick up extra hours over the holiday season. She said the hiring initiative is aimed at ensuring Walmart is ready to better serve customers shopping in stores, those using curbside, or those who chose to buy online.
The starting store wage ranges from a minimum $12 per hour to $17 per hour in some markets. Walmart has said the average wage for store employees rose to $16.40 per hour as of September. Murphy said store employees could earn as much as $34 per hour and entry level employees get their first promotion within an average of seven months. Walmart said applicants can apply in-store, online or right from the [email protected] app. In many cases, same-day job offers are being made, Murphy said.
According to the company’s career website, stores are hiring for cashiers and front-end, auto care center, food and grocery, general merchandise, fuel stations, health and wellness, online order filling, delivery, stocking and unloading. The website showed roughly 117 open store positions in Fayetteville, Rogers, Springdale and Bentonville as of Wednesday. Other markets such as Fort Smith, Jonesboro and Little Rock showed an average of roughly 40 openings in the various areas of store operations.
Walmart joins others in the effort to expand store workforce at a time when the labor pool remains tight. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of retail job openings reached 1.2 million in July, which widened from 876,000 reported in July 2020. The retail industry showed 906,000 hires in July, which was 250,000 less than reported in June.
The industry expects hire 700,000 workers ahead of the holiday season and the competitive environment has prompted several retailers to provide bonuses, pay tuition for college completion, provide free counseling benefits and raise pay. Besides supply chain challenges, the biggest concern many retailers have going into the holiday season is having enough workers, according to the National Retail Federation, who predicts retail sales to rise 9% this year with consumers shopping earlier than ever.
Target plans to hire 100,000 seasonal workers this year, which is down from the 130,000 hires a year ago. Target said it is instead offering existing store staff 5 million more hours of work which is the equivalent to $75 million in additional wages. Like Walmart, Target has been adding capacity and staff to its growing curbside and delivery businesses. Target said it tripled that staff over the past couple of years.
Kohl’s is using a similar plan to hire about 90,000 seasonal workers for stores, distribution centers and e-commerce fulfillment. Hiring is taking place between Oct 21-23 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at all stores. This will be the second hiring fair on the heels of the Sept. 16-18 event.