John Furner, president and CEO, Walmart U.S., has revealed new investments in store associates through higher wages and new career opportunities, as Furner laid out in a recent note to employees that was published as a blog post.
Starting next month, employees’ wages will increase. “This includes a mixture of associates’ regular annual increases and targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores, to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate,” explained Furner in the post. “We expect these raises will bring our U.S. average hourly wage to more than $17.50. They’ll be reflected in March 2 paychecks.”
The company is also continuing to invest in the associates who operate its Auto Care Centers (ACCs). “Last fall, we created a higher-paying ACC coach role,” noted Furner. “Now, we’re introducing a higher-paying ACC team lead position and elevating the ACC tech position to a higher pay-band that reflects the special skills needed for the role and its importance to our business.”
Furner went on to write that Walmart is adding new college degrees and certificates to its Live Better U (LBU) education program. “These new options are focused on where our business is headed and will equip associates with skills to unlock new career opportunities,” said Furner. “Both part-time and full-time associates can participate in LBU on their first day, and we’ll pay 100% of the tuition and fees.”
Earlier this month, the company expanded its Associate-to-Driver Program, which pays for supply chain associates to earn a commercial driver’s license and become a Walmart truck driver. The development program is now also available to store associates.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.