Walmart is rolling out a streamlined program to place recent college graduates into store manager roles that pay out more than $200,000 a year – the latest bid by a top retailer to lure talented workers in an ultra-competitive labor market.
Dubbed the “College2Career program,” the pilot initiative is a fast-track training program for recent college graduates and individuals within 12 months of their graduation date, the company said.
Walmart said participants will receive a mix of classroom lessons, individual mentorship and hands-on experience in store management – with standout performers offered the management role of “emerging coach” and a starting salary of $65,000 or more per year.
“We see the emerging coach role as an additional pipeline to develop high-potential talent into future store managers,” Walmart executives Amy Goldfinger and Lorraine Stomski said in a blog post outlining the program.
Walmart store managers earned an average salary of $210,000 last year, the executives added. Top “emerging coaches” are expected to be placed as store managers within two years.
In addition, Walmart said its internship program is expected to grow by nearly 30% compared to last year – adding that it has set a goal that the “majority” of its interns will eventually receive full-time roles.
Walmart officials told the Wall Street Journal that the training program was part of its effort to avoid a potential shortage of store managers across its network of about 4,700 US stores.
“My talent pool for store manager three years from now was not going to be what I needed it to be,” Walmart human resources executive Brandy Jordan told the outlet.
Walmart and rivals such as Amazon have ramped up benefits is recent months during a fierce competition to fill open roles. The national unemployment rate is just 3.6%.
In April, Walmart revealed that it would pay its truck drivers a starting salary between $95,000 and $110,000, up from a past average of $87,500. That chance occurred as trucking shortage contributed to higher shipping costs.
The tight market was given more leverage to workers, though rising inflation has sapped the benefit of higher wages. In March, the US economy had a report 11.5 million job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Meanwhile, the number of job “quits” hit a record 4.5 million – a sign that the trend known as the “Great Resignation” was still going strong despite mounting fears of a global economic slowdown.