WASHINGTON — Mega retailer Walmart announced a big plan Wednesday to try and hire 150,000 workers as the holiday season approaches, and said that it will work to continue filling the ambitious quota in the months that follow.
As companies across the United States are experiencing worker shortages as the country continues an incremental fight to improve in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, local lawmakers and politicians in Washington have faced a growing push for a higher minimum wage.
Walmart, the largest retailer in America, said in its new hiring push, the U.S. hourly wage for the company is now at $16.40, with some in-store jobs paying as high as $34 per hour, the company said.
The company said Wednesday that as the company works to meet the 150,000 worker hiring goal, "most" of the roles would be for permanent, full-time positions.
Walmart says they are anticipating having to meet the demands and needs of millions of customers as the holiday season shopping rush approaches. The company says it will still make opportunities to "pick up" extra hours for current Walmart employees.
As WPMT reports, while the U.S. labor force has a large gap between job openings and job seekers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 10.9 million job openings in August but only 8.4 million unemployed.
Some companies are competing for those potential workers with creative enticements, like referral and sign-on bonuses, increased hourly rates and improved benefits packages.
But, the situation looks a bit different in other developed parts of the world. In a recent report from Reuters, warehouses in the United Kingdom have reported challenges hiring workers too. But in Britain, companies have reported being willing to pay potential workers up to 30% more than usual to recruit staff amid the chronic labor shortages. Already strained supply chains can't stand to deal with a continued high worker shortage adding even more pressure.
In July, Walmart announced that full-time and part-time store associates would not have to pay the $1 a day fee after Aug. 16 to participate in the company's college tuition and books education program called Live Better U. The program, Walmart says, makes "all education programs paid for by Walmart. Sam's Club associates can qualify to be in the program as well.
To apply for a job with Walmart, visit the company's hiring site here.
Walmart estimates that about 75% of the company's U.S. salaried store management team members began their careers at Walmart in an hourly position.