By Christine Kern, contributing writer
2017 company goals including adding jobs, boost training opportunities, and raising wages.
As part of its larger initiatives to boost American job growth and invest in the community, Walmart has announced that it is tweaking its new wage policy, which it announced in 2015 to remain competitive and boost the customer experience in stores. As part of that initiative, the retailer raised its hourly minimum to $9, and is shortening the training time it takes for workers to increase their wage to $10 per hour from six months to three.
Walmart is not the only retailer to focus on higher wages; as competition to attract and retain quality works grows fiercer, many retailers are looking for ways to improve their odds. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited by The Wall Street Journal, the monthly number of workers that have voluntarily left their jobs has risen since 2010; in fact, the annual percentage retail employees in particular leaving is some 60 percent. And as retail wage growth is outpacing overall U.S. average wage growth, it places greater pressure on retailers to ante up.
Walmart is also committed to adding jobs, explained Dan Bartlett, Walmart executive vice president for corporate affairs, with plans to add some 34,000 jobs through continued expansion and improvement in the company’s store network and e-commerce services, as well as providing specialty training to more than 225,000 frontline associates.
Bartlett stated, ”Walmart is investing to better serve customers. With a presence in thousands of communities and a vast supplier network, we know we play an important role in supporting and creating American jobs. Our 2017 plans to grow our business – and our support for innovation in the textile industry – will have a meaningful impact across the country.”
Walmart will add approximately 10,000 retail jobs through the opening of 59 new, expanded and relocated Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities and the expansion of e-commerce services, and an additional 24,000 construction jobs will be supported through these initiatives.
The retailer is also revamping its training process. Walmart is ramping up its workforce investment, opening 160 new training Academies by July of this year, bringing the total to 200 institutions, where more than 225,000 associates will receive up to six weeks of specialty training. The Walmart Academies provide hands-on training in retail fundamentals, leadership, and managerial skills for running individual store departments.