Walmart announced Thursday that it will be raising the hourly wages for more than 565,000 of its store workers by at least $1 amid fierce competition from among companies for skilled workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The world’s largest retailer said in a memo to staff that the move marks the third investment the company has made in salaries in the past year. Walmart’s U.S. average hourly wage currently stands at $16.40 with the latest wage increase.
“Effective Sept. 25, associates in the Frontend, Food & Consumable and General Merchandise work groups will receive at least a $1 an hour raise. That means a raise for more than 565,000 store associates. It’s our third wage investment in store associates over the past year,” U.S. CEO John Furner wrote in a memo sent to employees, which was obtained by Yahoo Finance.
The latest announcement comes just one day after the company said it plans to hire 20,000 new associates across more than 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers (DCs), fulfillment centers (FCs), and transportation offices.
Walmart will be holding “special hiring events on Sept. 8-9 to attract the best and brightest candidates in all our supply chain locations,” and will be looking to fill a broad range of roles including freight handlers, lift drivers, order fillers, and management positions.
The company noted that due to stiff competition, the average wage for such positions is $20.37 per hour.
Back in July, Walmart said it would pay 100 percent of college tuition and book costs for employees in an effort to help curb soaring student loan debts, starting Aug. 16.
In March, the company raised the pay for 425,000 of its store associates in the digital and stocking workgroups from $13 to $19 per hour, dependent on location and market.
Like other retailers, Walmart is facing nationwide labor shortages and hiring difficulties as the COVID-19 pandemic upended job market dynamics.
In an effort to counteract shortages and attract workers, numerous companies, including other large retailers, have implemented new perks and higher wages in recent months.
Low-price retailer Dollar General Corp. said on Wednesday it was looking to hire more workers at stores and distribution centers as well as truck drivers.
The discount chain, which has hired more than 50,000 employees since mid-July, is offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus to drivers as it expands its private fleet.
Rival Dollar Tree is offering a $1,000 sign-on bonus to ensure its distribution centers are sufficiently staffed ahead of the holiday season.
Last month, grocery chain Aldi announced plans to hire more than 20,000 U.S. workers across its stores and distribution centers and raise its wages.
E-commerce giant Amazon.com will hire 55,000 more workers to keep up with demand in retail, its cloud services and advertising, among other businesses, its new chief executive, Andy Jassy, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Elsewhere in Thursday’s memo, Furner also touted some of the other recent employee benefit rollouts, including free counseling and paid time off in what he called “another trying year,” Yahoo reports.
Reuters contributed to this report.