BENTONVILLE, Ark. — This may be a good year to get recruited and promoted at Walmart.
Walmart executives said at the company’s annual meeting Thursday that it has launched a pilot program to give college graduates and those graduating within a year, including Walmart employees, a jump-start into management.
Through the College2Career program, they’re offered a job as an “emerging coach” with a starting salary of at least $65,000 a year. These positions come with the potential to move into store management in as little as two years and into a six-figure salary.
Walmart managers were paid an average salary of $210,000 last year, and the stores they lead are each like a big business under one roof with average annual sales of $100 million and 300 employees.
The retailer has more than 5,300 U.S. stores and said it has 1,200 new Walmart, Sam’s Club and supply chain managers that it’s putting through what it’s calling an “immersive leadership experience.”
That’s a lot of new hires at the management level, but Lorraine Stomski, senior vice president, associate learning and leadership, said the number also includes fulfillment and distribution centers.
The company is training people for jobs that didn’t exist just a few years ago, such as InHome delivery specialists, Stomski said. Walmart plans to hire 3,000 people for the service that delivers groceries into customers’ refrigerators. It’s starting in Dallas later this summer.
Walmart said it’s also expanding in-house training and college benefits to employees in its markets outside the U.S.
“We really believe we have a path forward for all our associates,” said Donna Morris, chief people officer at Walmart. She added that the company has jobs that aren’t in traditional retailing now, too, such as health care, financial services, cybersecurity and advertising.
Morris said she is putting an emphasis on well-being, including physical, financial and emotional health. She said “the next pandemic may be around mental health,” and the company is working with front-line store workers to build more flexibility into their work schedules.
CEO Doug McMillon told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Wednesday that the goal is to continue to provide competitive wages and benefits and advance more employees into leadership positions. About 75% of Walmart’s salaried workers in store management and supply chain jobs started out in hourly positions.
“Our goal is to turn even more jobs into careers by strengthening a ladder of opportunity for our associates,” McMillon said. Walmart’s average hourly wage is now $17 in the U.S.
Under McMillon, Walmart has organized store and distribution center training at 200 regional Walmart Academy locations that each serve about 26 stores.
Texas was the first state to get one of the academies in 2016 with a location in Carrollton. In 2019, it opened its first distribution center academy in Sanger, north of Dallas in Denton County.
Also, stores are training using virtual reality headsets to simulate real-life scenarios and 700 learning modules on mobile devices. At the end of last year, Walmart said that more than 411,000 U.S. employees received training at academy locations. (C)2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.