Walmart Offers a $200,000 Salary for Store Managers, so Why is the Company Worried About Hiring?

Salinas, United States - April 8, 2014: Walmart store exterior.
Wolterk / Getty Images

In a hiring landscape where job positions for retail store managers and sales managers are growing at a rate of 7%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and roughly 27,900 new sales manager jobs should be created between 2020 and 2030, superstore Walmart is seriously concerned about having enough managers in the near future.

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Job openings, in general, had risen to 11.5 million in March, according to the Jobs Report, while the quit rate sat at a high of 4.5 million. The tight labor market has enabled many workers to seek out jobs with better pay, better benefits, better hours or more flexibility. The role of a retail store manager is typically high-pressure and has long hours. BLS.gov says that most sales managers work full-time and often put in additional hours on evenings and weekends. They also rarely get holidays off if the store is open.

Walmart typically pays an annual salary of $200,000+ for store managers, according to WSJ.com, which is well above the $129,470 that BLS cites as the average salary for a sales manager. But even that may not be enough to recruit and retain qualified managers, according to the WSJ.com article.

“My talent pool for store manager three years from now was not going to be what I needed it to be,” Brandy Jordan, a longtime Walmart human-resources executive, told WSJ.com.

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With this in mind, Walmart has launched the College2Career program, which puts college students on a fast track to a management position within two years after joining the company and a starting annual salary of at least $65,000.

Typically, Walmart managers begin as hourly workers and are promoted from within. Walmart’s head of human resources, Donna Morris, told WSJ.com that if they can keep an employee for more than two years, they tend to stick around. But promoting from within can often be a long process. By recruiting college graduates at higher salaries, Walmart can improve retention rates and also assure they have a talent pool to draw from within the next few years.

“If you offer something that is a specialized opportunity it’s highly retentive,” Morris told WSJ.

In addition to increasing their starting wage to $12 an hour and increasing pay for other associates, Walmart dropped its dollar-per-day fee that was previously charged for the company’s subsidized university degree program.

The College2Career program, a 12-week training, shows promise for college students who may view even the highly paid Walmart store manager position as a stepping-stone to an executive-level retail career. The first two program participants learned many aspects of a retail management role, from stocking shelves to scheduling and using technology on the job. Ty Juarez, one of the first program participants, told WSJ.com, “It puts me in a perfect position to start a career.”

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Candidates may come from Walmart’s employee pool or from local colleges, according to the WSJ.com report.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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