Walmart raises wages and benefits as job market remains tight

Walmart is raising its wage rates for hourly workers starting next month, an indication that competition for labor remains intense despite concerns about a slowing economy.

Our new starting range for entry-level roles is $14-$19 per hour, depending on location,” a Walmart spokesperson told SN.

The previous salary floor was as low as $12, according to reports.

In a letter to all U.S. employees this week, John Furner, president and chief executive of Walmart U.S., said the company would invest in raises both in annual raises and in starting hourly wages in thousands of stores, “to ensure we have an attractive salary in the markets we operate.

“We expect these increases to bring our average hourly wage in the United States to over $17.50,” he said.

In 2021, Walmart had announced plans to increase its average hourly rate to $15.25, followed by a commitment from Kroger to increase its average hourly wage to $16. Last year, rival Target said it was raising its starting hourly wage to between $15 and $24 an hour, based on employment and the local market, while improving health care and other benefits.

Those rates compare to the average hourly wage for non-supervisory retail workers of $19.93 in December 2022, up from $19.17 a year ago, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Walmart is the nation’s largest private employer, with about 1.7 million workers in the United States at the end of its last fiscal year. He previously called on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, which remains at $7.25 an hour, though several states and metropolitan areas already have plenty higher minimum wage.

Walmart’s wage rate increases were among several union initiatives that Furner highlighted in his letter. The others were:

  • Added new college degrees and certificates to its Live Better U education program, including more options focused on developing skills for new career opportunities. The program is available to part-time and full-time workers from their first day on the job, and Walmart pays 100% of tuition and fees
  • Expanding its Associate-to-Driver program, which pays supply chain workers to obtain their commercial driver’s license and become a Walmart truck driver, to include workers at the store level
  • The introduction of a higher paid Automotive Service Center Team Leader position and the elevation of the ACC Technician position to a higher pay scale.

“We are proud to continue to invest in Walmart’s legacy by introducing new job opportunities and increasing salaries,” Furner said in the letter. “No matter where you are in your journey, starting here can open doors for you – the first step to jobs that become careers and improve lives.”

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