Walmart said Tuesday (Jan. 24) it will raise the starting and minimum wage for all employees who work in stores to $14 per hour beginning next month. Walmart spokesman Jimmy Carter said that the hourly minimum wage will vary between $14 and $19 depending on location.
The minimum wage in Arkansas is $12 per hour. In Arkansas, full-time workers (35 hours a week) who are earning $12 per hour will see their weekly gross paycheck increase by $70. On an annual basis, that’s $3,640 for a total yearly income of $25,480. which is still below the Arkansas per capita income of $29,210 reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2022.
Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said the average wage for store workers will be $17.50 per hour, and the raises will be reflected in the March 2 paychecks. Walmart said about 340,000 workers will benefit from the wage hikes, which is 21% of the retailer’s 1.6 million workers.
Walmart has also been vocal about the lack of importance on a starting or minimum wage, saying it chooses to focus on average wages given what the retailer believes is an aggressive promotion strategy. The Bentonville-based retailer also provides education benefits with 100% of tuition reimbursement to selected institutions in its Live Better U program.
“Today, I’m happy to share our latest steps to shape jobs at Walmart,” Furner noted in his memo to workers.
He said aside from higher minimum wages, the retailer also created higher-paying positions for skilled workers in the auto care centers. Furner said the new expanded plan to recruit truck drivers from its store worker pool is another way employees can increase their earning potential as high as $110,000 annually by becoming a licensed commercial driver.
Furner said no matter where a Walmart employee begins their journey, there are opportunities for career advancement. He began his career at Walmart at Store No. 100 in Bentonville while attending college at the University of Arkansas.
Walmart’s wage investment comes as retailers have said workforce challenges remain one of the biggest challenges in 2023. Walmart’s starting pay remains lower than competitor Target who led the industry with a $15-hour minimum store wage in 2017. A year ago, Target announced its starting wage range was $15 to $24 per hour depending on job and location, reflecting a $300 million increase in payroll costs.