Walmart is making a $2.7 billion investment over two years in its U.S. workforce to raise wages, provide better training and increase scheduling choice and flexibility. As part of this commitment, the company is investing $23 million, resulting in 17,200 additional raises for associates in Maryland. By February, the new full-time average hourly wage in Maryland will be $12.92 an hour and $10.61 an hour for part-time associates.
Over the past year, Walmart has increased wages in three phases beginning in April by moving its starting rate to at least $9 an hour. In July, the company increased wages for more than 100,000 associates in specialized positions, like wireless or deli associate, and department managers. In February 2016, Walmart will raise wages for associates hired before Jan. 1, 2016 to at least $10 an hour, $2.75 an hour above the federal minimum wage; hourly managers of the company’s more complex and service-oriented departments will earn at least $15 an hour. Associates hired beginning Jan. 1, 2016 will start at $9 and move to at least $10 after successfully completing the company’s new Pathways training program.
The company is starting to see a return on its investments. Since the first phase of pay raises went into effect, Walmart’s customer experience scores and associate engagement numbers have increased. The company also announced during its third quarter earnings that U.S. comp-store sales were positive for the fifth straight quarter and customer traffic was positive for the fourth straight quarter.
Wages are just one part of Walmart’s commitment to providing associates the tools they need to grow with the company and provide great customer service. The company is also opening doors for existing and new associates by increasing scheduling flexibility and providing new training opportunities for continued advancement beyond entry-level jobs. Also, the addition of more than 8,000 new department managers and rolling out a new shelf-stocking program will make it easier for associates to get products on the shelves when customers are shopping.