Walmart Announces Bonuses for Hourly Workers, New Programs to Combat Skilled Worker Shortage
Walmart Announces Bonuses for Hourly Workers, New Programs to Combat Skilled Worker Shortage

By Katabella Roberts

Retail giant Walmart announced a string of new changes on Wednesday, including training programs and certifications aimed at combatting the shortage of skilled trade workers as well as bonuses of up to $1,000 per year for hourly workers across its U.S. stores.

The company said in a press release shortly before its annual shareholders’ meeting that the changes are part of ongoing efforts to make the supermarket “the best place to work” for its associates.

“We know that when they’re given the right tools, opportunities for growth, and investments in their personal well-being, they can accomplish more than they imagined personally and professionally,” the company said of its workers.

In total, four new changes were announced on Wednesday.

They include the launch of a new “Associate to Technician pipeline program,” which the company said will create pathways for its associates to fill in critical jobs across its stores and supply chain facilities at a time when such roles are experiencing a shortage.

Walmart said the program, which is being run under the Walmart Academy, is being piloted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for now and will help hourly store and supply chain associates move into facilities maintenance, refrigeration, and HVAC, reliability, and automation technician roles.

“These jobs make between $19 and $45 an hour and offer opportunities to build a meaningful career while meeting a business need for the company,” Walmart said.

Bonuses for Hourly Workers

Elsewhere, the retail giant said it would be offering more than 50 skills certificates, which associates can complete in four months, on average, compared to years for a college degree, and which can help fast-track them to higher-paid positions like pharmacy technicians, opticians, and software engineers and more.

Walmart said it plans to fast-track front-line associates into approximately 100,000 jobs that are higher-paying and in demand over the next three years.

Additionally, the company is offering bonuses for its hourly store workers, including those at its pharmacy and Vision Center stores, as part of its “ongoing investment in associate compensation.”

Both full and part-time hourly store associates will be eligible for the bonus, provided they have been with Walmart for one year, according to the company.

Walmart employs about 1.6 million workers in the United States.

Hourly Wages Still Fall Short

“This new associate bonus rewards great work and customer service and it celebrates long-term associates who build a career at Walmart,” the company said. “The longer an hourly store associate stays with the company, the higher their bonus potential, up to $1,000 a year.”

Elsewhere, the retailer announced new features are being added to its Me@Walmart app, which is used by associates to check things like pay, discounts, and learning opportunities.

The latest changes at Walmart come as retailers continue to battle it out to retain and recruit workers amid a competitive job market.

Earlier this year, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain raised its minimum wage for U.S. hourly workers to $14 an hour and said it would increase the annual average salary from $117,000 to $128,000 and bonuses to up to 200 percent of base salary for its U.S. store managers in February.

In its update on Wednesday, Walmart also touted its hourly wages, which it said have increased by around 30 percent over the past five years.

However, the retailer’s minimum hourly wage is still less than those offered at rivals Amazon and Target while total median compensation for workers is $27,642, according to its 2024 proxy report.

That still falls below the average living wage for a family of four, which is $31,200 as of 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Walmart posted $648.1 billion in revenue in fiscal 2024, marking a six percent increase year over year.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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