Walmart Plans Supply Chain Hires To Staff-Up Distribution And Fulfillment Centers In Anticipation Of Holidays
Walmart Inc., which last week posted solid earnings for the second quarter of fiscal 2022, is thinking ahead toward the holiday season and how it can mitigate the challenges of supply chain delays. The retail giant is hiring 20,000 associates, and not only for the Christmas season. They will be full and part-time employees, and they’ll work at new high tech grocery distribution centers and warehouses newly equipped with what Walmart is calling “industry-leading technology.”
“As our business continues evolving to meet the needs of today’s customers, having a robust supply chain is more important than ever,” said Joe Metzger, executive vice president of supply chain operations, Walmart U.S. “That’s why we’re excited to announce that our team is growing. Our latest industry-leading technology system is poised to transform our supply chain and make warehouse work easier for our associates.”
For the second quarter ended July 31, Walmart logged revenue of $141.05 billion, up 2.4% from $137.74 billion in the prior year. Net sales increased 5.3% to $98.19 billion in the second quarter, versus $93.28 billion in the year-ago period. Same-store sales rose 5.6% year-over-year. The results exceeded Wall Street’s earnings-per-share estimate, in spite of an $8.9 billion impact from divestitures at Walmart International.
The financial results revealed how much Walmart has grown over the past year. “Innovation across all areas of the business had a huge impact on our growth, and earlier this year, we shared plans to roll out high-tech automation systems to our facilities in addition to high-tech grocery distribution centers,” Metzger said.
“To support the growth, we’re planning to hire 20,000 new associates across more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers, fulfillment centers and transportation offices,” he added. “We’re holding special hiring events on Sept. 8 and 9 to attract candidates in all our supply chain locations. We’ll be filling a wide range of roles, including order fillers, freight handlers, lift drivers, technicians and management positions. These positions will be permanent roles and will be offered in both full-and part-time capacities.”
“We know that offering competitive pay is essential in order to build a network for the future,” said Karisa Sprague, senior vice president, people, supply chain at Walmart U.S., adding that the average wage for supply chain associates is $20.37 per hour.
Walmart stressed the growth potential of the entry-level supply chain jobs. “What starts as a job has the potential to lead to a limitless and rewarding career,” Sprague said. “The majority of our managers started their careers in roles such as order filler, and now have responsibility for leading a team of associates to ensure goods are received and shipped to stores and customers with the highest quality and level of service.”
With the country in the midst of a labor shortage, Walmart in June said it will continue to increase wages. The retailer in March announced plans to provide a special cash bonus for hourly associates for working during an unprecedented national health crisis. The $300 bonus for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly associates cost the retailer $365 million and was paid out on April 2.
To help associates gain the experiences and skills needed for success in the jobs of today and tomorrow, Walmart has invested in associate development and growth opportunities, including opening six new Walmart Academies to support the supply chain business.
Walmart Academies immerse associates in a training program that allows them to receive both classroom and distribution center and fulfillment center floor training in specialized supply chain skills and soft skills such as leadership, communications and change management. In fiscal year 2021, Walmart trained about 5,900 associates through the Walmart U.S. Supply Chain Academy, including in-person and virtual training.
In addition to job-focused training at Walmart Academies, Walmart is encouraging associates to pursue further education with Live Better U. This year, Walmart announced that it will pay 100% of the cost of tuition and books for Live Better U, enabling supply chain associates to earn bachelor’s degrees debt-free.
Another important aspect of hiring is health insurance, and Walmart said its medical coverage starts at $30.50 per pay period, which it claims is about one-third less than the average premium employees pay at other companies.
The retailer is also leaning into other benefits such as maternity leave and paternal benefits, emotional well-being benefits and healthcare tailored to the LBGTO+ community, as well as veteran and military spouse support.
Walmart is ofering field-based associates – including supply chain employees– a $150 cash bonus for getting the COVID-19 vaccination. New associates who get vaccinated before October 4, or who were already vaccinated prior to their hire date, are eligible for the bonus.
“For our supply chain to continue expanding, innovating and improving our customer service, we need a strong, dynamic team leading it,” Metzger said. “We’re excited to meet the new associates who will be joining Walmart.”