Walmart, which is the nation’s largest private employer, raised wages for hourly employees in the frontend, food and consumable, and general merchandise work groups by at least $1, effective Sept. 25, Chain Store Age reported. The retailer’s average U.S. wage is now $16.40 in the U.S.
The wage hike comes as retailers struggle to fill open roles while the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to rage. The retail industry and hospitality sector are facing a shortage of workers in addition to other environmental challenges. Several major retailers, including Walmart, have issued bonuses, wage increases or other added benefits to attract and retain new talent. It is likely that more retailers will take similar actions over the coming weeks as the busy holiday season approaches
Walmart previously increased wages for specific frontline hourly positions within its supercenters in September 2020, and bumped up wages again in March 2021 for some 425,000 employees in digital and stocking workgroups. The retailer is also looking to add 20,000 associates to its supply chain centers.
“2021 has been another trying year, with challenges that few could have predicted,” Walmart CEO John Furner wrote in a company memo. “But amid the uncertainty, there has been one constant: YOU––our incredible associates––have continued to serve our customers and communities when they’ve needed it most. Thank you!”