Wal-Mart said on Wednesday that it plans to hire 20,000 employees to help keep merchandise in circulation ahead of the anticipated Christmas shopping boom.
The retailer bigbox, which is already the country’s largest private employer, said that these roles will play a role in the supply chain. These jobs will be a combination of full-time and part-time, but will be permanent positions. They range from order pickers to freight handlers in the company’s 250 distribution centers, fulfillment centers, and transportation offices.
Wal-Mart stated in a company blog post that the average salary of supply chain employees is $20.37 per hour. The company said it will hold a special recruitment event on September 1. 8 and 9.
Wal-Mart is hiring because the company is responding to fierce competition from workers and the Covid19 epidemic, which has led to manufacturing disruption, transportation slowdown, and global port congestion. These challenges have resulted in delays, shortages, and higher prices across the industry. They also question whether retailers will prepare for gift-giving season, especially when more online purchases are made.
Wal-Mart has not announced its hiring plan for the holidays. Last year, the retailer said it would hire 20,000 seasonal employees, and this is the first time in five years that it has announced a large number of holiday hires.
The company has also increased its supply chain investments, such as adding high-tech automated systems for selecting stores that help pick up and pack grocery orders online.
Wal-Mart said in August that as consumers returned to stores, there was a strong demand for school supplies, luggage and clothing. Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said on the second-quarter earnings call that the company has increased lead times for orders and has chartered its own vessels dedicated to speeding up imports. Still, he said: “In view of strong sales and supply restrictions, the shortage of certain categories of general merchandise is even higher than normal.”
As Wal-Mart competes with other employers for hourly workers, it has been trying to sweeten the deal. Recently, it started to issue special bonuses to warehouse workers and pay 100% of college tuition and textbook fees for employees.
Other retailers also announced similar policy changes and benefits. Among them, Target launched its own debt-free university program. CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance stated that they will increase the starting salary to $15 an hour, and CVS stated that it will reduce the educational requirements for entry-level jobs.