Dive Brief:

  • Walmart on Tuesday announced it’s raising pay for hourly employees. The company said the raises will increase its minimum wage to $14 an hour. This move will boost the company’s U.S. average hourly pay to about $17.50 for hundreds of thousands of employees.
  • The company also announced other pay and benefits-related changes this week. They include new, higher-paying positions for employees in Walmart’s auto care centers. Walmart is also adding new college degrees and certificates to its employees’ education program.
  • America’s largest retailer by sales also said that it’s expanding a program that pays for store-based and supply chain employees to earn a commercial driver’s license or CDL. Earning a CDL is an eligibility requirement to become a Walmart truck driver, a position that pays up to $110,000 annually.

Dive Insight:

With the change, the starting pay range for store associates is now $14-$19 an hour, up from $12-$18 previously, Walmart spokesperson Nick DeMoss confirmed in an email to Retail Dive.

“Approximately 340,000 associates will receive increases as a result of the change and we expect the new average hourly wage in the U.S. to be more than $17.50,” DeMoss said. 

The company employs about 1.6 million people in the U.S. and 2.3 million globally. Walmart President and CEO John Furner shared more details about the pay and career development-related benefits and program changes in the memo.

The higher wages for employees will come through annual pay increases, along with “targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores, to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate,” Furner said.

Walmart says its pay range for Supercenters and Neighborhood Market grocery stores ranges from $14 to $32 per hour. Sam’s Club associates can earn $15 to $32 per hour, and Walmart distribution and fulfillment center workers may earn $16 to $34 per hour.

Secondly, Furner said the company will create a higher paying auto care center team lead position The auto center tech position will be elevated “to a higher pay band that reflects the special skills needed for the role and its importance to our business.” Last fall, the company created a higher paying auto center coach role. Walmart has about 2,500 auto centers and 4,720 U.S. stores.

The company said it’s also adding new college degrees and certificates to its education program, Live Better U. Furner said the new programs “are focused on where our business is headed and will equip associates with skills to unlock new career opportunities.”

Finally, Walmart said Tuesday that it’s expanding its Associate-to-Driver program. The company recently announced that this career development program which was previously only available to supply chain employees, is now also open to store associates.

Walmart’s pay bump shrinks the potential earnings gap between other large retailers. Amazon warehouse and delivery workers got a raise ahead of the holiday season. They now make between $16 and $26 per hour. The company’s minimum wage is $15 an hour, CNBC reported. Target last year set its starting pay range from $15 to $24 an hour.

“We’re proud to continue investing in Walmart’s legacy by introducing new job opportunities and raising pay,” Furner said. “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.”


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