Walmart looks to win talent war with new education benefit
With unemployment in the U.S. at a 17-year-low, retailers and other employers are finding it difficult to fill open positions. Retail employers are offering higher wages, career advancement opportunities and an expanding list of benefits to attract and retain talented people. The latest case in point is Walmart and a new educational benefit that enables associates to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business or supply chain management.
The program, in partnership with Guild Education, an education benefits platform, is being billed by Walmart as a sign of its commitment to train and educate its workforce to advance their careers, whether that be with the retailer or somewhere else. Degree programs are offered through Bellevue University, Brandman University and the University of Florida. The schools were selected for their focus on helping adult learners earn their degrees.
Associates working in the U.S. for Walmart and Sam’s Club are eligible for the program. Walmart will subsidize the associates’ costs for pursuing degrees beyond financial aid. Employees will pay the equivalent of $1 a day towards their own education. The retailer expects 68,000 employees will take part in the program over five years, according to CNN.
“Investing in the personal and professional success of our associates is vital to Walmart’s future success,” said Greg Foran, CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. “We know training and learning opportunities empower associates to deliver for customers while growing and advancing in their careers.”
Associates can also earn credit towards their degrees while going through paid training offered by the company through the Walmart Academies program. Prior college credits and work experience may also be applied for Walmart associates pursuing a degree.
Walmart’s new program is one of many now being offered by chains, including Home Depot, McDonald’s, Lowe’s and Starbucks, that help workers advance their careers.
“In combination with increased pay, training, and improved career opportunities, Walmart is recognizing the positive impact across the board of a stable workforce, and increases the pressure on other companies inside and outside of retail as this heats up the competition for quality employees,” Charlie O’Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst, wrote in an email to RetailWire. “This new benefit escalates the ongoing ‘arms race’ for employees in retail.”
- Walmart’s New Education Benefit Puts Cap and Gown Within Reach for Associates – Walmart
- Why We’re Offering Associates a Path to Debt-Free College – Walmart
- Walmart’s perk for workers: Go to college for $1 a day – CNN
- Is an on-demand workforce heading to retail’s selling floors? – RetailWire
- Lowe’s using pre-apprenticeship program to attract top talent – RetailWire
- Starbucks to workers: College is on us – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Walmart’s new educational benefit do for the company’s employee recruitment and retention efforts? How do you see retailers using educational benefits to their benefit in the years ahead?