Walmart plans to make most store associates full-time by early 2022

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·4-min read

Walmart (WMT), which recently gave many of its workers a raise, said on Wednesday that two-thirds of its hourly associates will be full-time with consistent schedules by the end of the current fiscal year.

Of Walmart's 1.2 million hourly U.S. store associates, approximately 740,000 will be full-time hourly associates by Jan. 31, 2022. Going back to 2016, about 53% of Walmart's hourly store workers were full-time — meaning just over 100,000 will have been moved to full-time status in that timeframe.

The full-time workers will receive consistent schedules, with the same hours on the same days of each week. They'll also work in the same small teams with 39 to 40 hours scheduled each week. The nation's largest employer defines full-time as anyone working 34 or more hours; anyone working at least 30 hours is eligible for medical insurance. 

"We are prioritizing consistent schedules, skills training, and new pathways for growth, so all jobs at Walmart lead to careers," Drew Holler, Walmart's SVP of U.S. people operations, told Yahoo Finance. 

The company hopes that, by creating more full-time positions, it will help Walmart "continue to attract and retain top talent," Holler added.

'Huge demand'

Job candidates receive information about employment at Walmart at a U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Jobs Fair in Miami, Florida August 23, 2011.  REUTERS/Joe Skipper  (UNITED STATES - Tags: EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)
Job candidates receive information about employment at Walmart at a U.S. Congressional Black Caucus Jobs Fair in Miami, Florida August 23, 2011. REUTERS/Joe Skipper (UNITED STATES - Tags: EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

According to the executive, Walmart associates have sought stability in their weekly schedules. They've also requested mobility when it comes to advancing at the company. 

Holler pointed out that more than 70% of store operations management members started as hourly employees, and a store manager earns an average of $180,000 per year, according to Walmart's annual ESG report. 

Holler noted that there "was a huge demand" from associates to move into a full-time role from a part-time role. 

"For an hourly associate, their take-home pay is how many hours they work each week times their hourly rate, and we're constantly looking at both of those," Holler added.

In mid-March, Walmart raised wages for 425,000 store associates in the digital and stocking workgroups, boosting wages to between $13 to $19 per hour, depending on location and market. In September, the retailer also hiked pay for 165,000 of its workers

With that latest hike, Walmart now has about 730,000 U.S. store associates, or approximately half of its workforce, earning $15 or more per hour.

According to Holler, the retailer has seen "much higher" retention rates as it adds more full-time roles, and it's also helpful in recruiting.

"What you may find at other in retailers across the industry is it's going the opposite direction where they're starting to create and provide more part-time jobs than full -time. And so we think it's a great attraction to future associates as well, where you can come to Walmart and have a career but also have stability," Holler said.

In a blog post, Holler wrote that "having full-time associates has never been more important than it is right now." He pointed to the growing demand for pickup and delivery, transforming stores to act as both fulfillment centers and retail spaces.

Across Walmart's supply chain, including its distribution and fulfillment centers, most of those employees are full-timers. They also work in team environments — a structure Walmart introduced last year across its stores, where associates work in small groups of 8-12 people.

As Walmart store associates do more picking for orders, "that work lends itself to more full-time roles, inside of teams, working together to accomplish a goal," according to Heller.

"And so, we've learned a lot from our supply chain side of the business as well. We've been doing this type of scheduling for a while in creating consistent shifts. And so we're now applying some of that mindset to the stores," he added. 

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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