Walmart announces raises, new programs for associates

Walmart announces raises, new programs for associates

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Walmart announced a four-point plan to strengthen its jobs and invest in its employees.

According to a January 24 media release, the Bentonville-based retailer will initiate raises next month that will bring the average U.S. associate’s hourly salary to more than $17.50. The raise “includes a mixture of associates’ regular annual increases and targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores” and will be reflected in paychecks starting on March 2.

A company spokesperson tells CNBC that store employees will now make between $14 and $19 an hour, up from the $12 to $18 per hour they currently earn.

The retailer is introducing a higher-paying Auto Care Centers team lead position and elevating tech positions to a higher pay band “that reflects the special skills needed for the role and its importance to our business.”

Walmart is also adding new college degrees and certificates to its Live Better U education program, which covers tuition costs for full- and part-time employees.

The changes come a week after Walmart announced it would expand its Associate-to-Driver program, which pays for supply chain associates to earn their commercial driver’s licenses and become company truck drivers.

“And as you continue to focus on your customers, we’re focused on investing in you—our store associates—through higher wages and new opportunities to gain the skills to serve tomorrow’s customers and grow a career with Walmart,” said John Furner, Walmart President and CEO, in a note sent to all U.S. associates. “No matter where you are in your journey, getting your start here can open doors—the first step into jobs that become careers and build better lives.”

In 2021, Walmart raised its average hourly wage to more than $15 per hour.

Other retailers have raised their minimum hourly wages in recent years. Hobby Lobby raised its rate to $18.50 per hour at the beginning of last year, while Starbucks and CVS Health moved to $15 an hour last summer. Target announced in early 2022 that it will set a starting wage range from $15 to $24.

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