More than half a million workers at one US employer are getting a pay raise later this month. The plan from Walmart to raise wages for more than 565,000 workers — out of more than 1.6 million that it employs in the US — will start on September 25. That’s according to Walmart’s US CEO John Furner, who announced the news of the hike that will impact employees working in departments such as food and general merchandise, in a staff memo on Thursday.
His memo, according to CNBC, also noted that this is the third such investment in higher salaries the company has made over the past year. And that Walmart’s average US salary now stands at $16.40.
Walmart raises wages for 565,000+ employees
For a little more context, the federal minimum wage is still set at $7.25/hour. And while Walmart will hike its own minimum wage by $1, to $12/hour, that’s still lower than the $15/hour minimum at rivals like Amazon and Target.
There are also external factors contributing to this move by Walmart, most of which are no big secret. Since they’re also macro forces exerting pressure basically across the board among US businesses. 2021 thus far, according to Furner’s memo, “has been another trying year, with challenges that few could have predicted,” per The New York Times.
Walmart said that it plans to raise wages for more than 565,000 store workers by at least $1 an hour, as the all-important holiday shopping season is set to kick off in the middle of a desperate labor crunch across the country https://t.co/aMSo9igJWc pic.twitter.com/arvDjQzqx3
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) September 2, 2021
This comes as we’re starting to move into the all-important holiday season. Which is typically the busiest time of the year for retailers. The COVID-19 crisis, however, has upended so much of the status quo. The Delta variant of the coronavirus that’s predominant now leading to another pullback in consumer activity.
Coinciding with all this is also a push by labor activists for better pay and working conditions at employers like Walmart. Businesses are often struggling to retain employees, and it’s getting harder to entice new hires into some jobs. This, by the way, is related to another announcement that Walmart made a few days ago. Specifically, its newly announced push to hire 20,000 supply chain workers in preparation for the crush of holiday business.
Many industries are feeling the pinch of an acute labor shortage right now. Walmart’s push for more supply chain workers, however, is arguably a bullish sign for the company. Earlier this year, the company also shared plans to roll out high-tech automation systems to its facilities in addition to high-tech grocery distribution centers.
“In order to support that growth, we’re planning to hire 20,000 new associates across more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices,” the retailer announced. “Next week, we’re holding special hiring events on Sept. 8-9 to attract the best and brightest candidates in all our supply chain locations.”
These supply chain associates will have a starting average wage of $20.37/hour.