Walmart is raising hourly wages for 565,000 store employees across the nation – marking its third investment in employees over the past year.
Starting Sept. 25, U.S. workers in the frontend, food and consumable, and general merchandise areas will receive at least $1 more per hour, CEO John Furner told employees Thursday.
Over the past year, the Arkansas-based retailer issued pay increases for 1.2 million hourly employees, which includes upping the average hourly wage to $16.40.
The latest pay increase is to thank employees for their efforts during yet another "trying year," Furner said.
"2021 has been another trying year, with challenges that few could have predicted," Furner in his note to employees. "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."
As part of its efforts to support employees over the past year, Furner noted that the company "increased ownership and opportunity, and raised wages for more than 165,000 associates" and also raised wages for more than 425,000 stocking and digital associates.
In July, Walmart also pledged to invest $1 billion over the next five years to cover the cost of college tuition and books for its U.S. employees.
The company's Live Better U program, which kicked off in 2018, is part of its commitment to eliminate the burden of education debt, which is "a leading barrier for earning a degree," Walmart previously said.
Furner said that Walmart's entry-level workers are promoted to higher roles with more pay within about seven months on average.
Approximately 75% of the company's U.S. salaried store, club and supply chain management teams started in an hourly role, Furtner said.