Walmart announced on Tuesday that it is raising the minimum wage for store employees to $14 per hour, a 17% increase for employees who stock shelves and serve customers.
With the change, Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner said in an employee memo Tuesday that the retailer’s average hourly wage in the United States will be more than $17.50. This is an increase from the national average of $17 per hour.
According to Hatfield, the move will result in a pay increase for approximately 340,000 store employees. This equates to a pay raise for approximately 21% of Walmart’s 1.6 million employees.
The retail behemoth, the country’s largest private employer, is raising wages at an interesting time. Weaker retail sales trends have prompted companies such as Macy’s and Lululemon to recently warn investors that the year ahead will be difficult. Some economists predict a recession as a result of persistent inflation and shifting consumer habits.
Thousands of employees have been laid off by prominent tech companies, media organisations, and banks. So far, retailers have mostly avoided layoffs. Instead, they are still dealing with a tight labour market. And they have a workforce that, like the rest of the country, is feeling the pinch from higher food, electricity, and other costs.
Furner stated in a Walmart employee memo that the wage increase will be part of many employees’ annual raises. According to the company, some of the pay increases will also go to store employees who work in areas of the country where the labour market is more competitive.
Other benefits are being enhanced by Walmart in order to attract and retain employees. Furner stated that the company is expanding its Live Better U programme, which covers tuition and fees for part-time and full-time employees. It is also expanding high-paying positions at its auto care centres and hiring truck drivers, a job that can pay up to $110,000 in the first year.