Why Wal-Mart is hiring so many veterans
The company is getting some positive word of mouth for its plan. It also gets some help with its huge turnover.
As Matthew Yglesias at Slate notes, "Wal-Mart is anticipating that demand conditions will warrant them adding a fair amount of staff over the next few years and that honorable service in the military is a good screening device."
Wall Street didn't have much response to the program, which goes into effect Memorial Day along with a pledge to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made goods over the next decade. Shares of Wal-Mart, whose offer is only open to those with honorable discharges, barely budged Tuesday.
Derek Thompson at the Atlantic argued that Wal-Mart has been besieged lately by negative news such as the bribery scandal in Mexico and certainly could use some positive public relations. He also noted that Wal-Mart, like many retailers, has a huge turnover, so promising 100,000 veterans a job isn't as generous of an offer as it may seem. Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, though, could certainly use the help.
According to the latest data, the unemployment rate for former members of the military was 9.9%, the lowest since 2008, though well above the national average of 7.8%. That's particularly shameful given the billions taxpayers have spent training soldiers, sailors and Marines to do every type of job imaginable. Sadly, there were record numbers of suicides in the military last year. Of course, Wal-Mart's offer doesn't solve veterans' many problems but it certainly is helpful.
Veterans will be eligible for everything from part-time work to more senior roles, depending on their particular qualifications, according to Brooke Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Ark., company.
"If they want a job in retail, they have one at Wal-Mart," she said in an interview.
The push to hire veterans is nothing new for Wal-Mart. It has recruited members of the military for managerial roles for years and currently has about 100,000 veterans on its U.S. payroll of 1.4 million. William Simon, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, served in the Navy. The company pledged in 2011 to donate $20 million to veterans charities, including Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which applauded Tuesday's announcement.
'With unemployment for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans often above 10% in 2012, we need more employers to appreciate that these young men and women are not a charity, they are an investment," says Paul Rieckhoff, CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America,in a statement to MSN. "Wal-Mart's footprint is large enough that they can single-handedly impact that unemployment number, especially if they exceed their 100,000 jobs goal."
Over the next few months, it will be interesting to see how many veterans will take Wal-Mart up on its offer and, of those that do, how many wind up sticking around for a year or more. That may prove to be a vexing challenge, as the Atlantic's Thompson notes.
"I know this may sound like quibbling, but Wal-Mart -- just like pretty much all big-box retailers -- still pays most of its workforce pretty miserably," he writes. "The average sales associate makes around $8 an hour. If that's the best we can for our veterans, we're not really doing very much."
--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.
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Actual *starting* per-hour pay averages at Wal-Mart can be found here: and average $11.13. These are averages, so some start lower, some start higher.
Just sayin', right?
First of all THANK YOU to all our Veterans, may the Good Lord keep his arm around you and protect you where ever life takes you.
As for walMart it would be better that no job at all but they are among the worst emplorers there is. The pay is a slap in the face in todays economy and there are no benefits. But as someone said in an earlier post $8 an hour is better than nothing and it could be a stop over job until something else comes along.
As for the unemployment in this county no matter what they report as the unemployment rate that is false and misleading because it counts only those individuals that are still drawing unemployment benefits and Does Not incluse those individuals whos unemployment benefits have run out and who still do not have a job.
It is hard for a big company to prevent some employees from doing bad things such as in Mexico.
If you do not like Walmart, then do not work or shop there. Obviously a lot of people work and shop there so they must be doing some things right. I know some that work there, and it is not the worst place to work by far.
I hear a lot of anger at Wal Mart from posters, but why do I always find the stores have shoppers in their Stores? I can tell there are shoppers in Wal Mart by the cars in the parking lot. If you don't like a store's business practices then don't shop there. I for one do not shop at Wal mart very often because I do like like the customer service there.
As far a Wal Mart hiring vets, it's a joke to me. I'm sure they will get some kind of tax break for this action, so it benefits them in ore ways then just PR value.
Just another PR move. With all the turnover at the company there will be 100,000 positions open at some point that no one wants.
I am resentful to Wal-Mart because they should have been openly accepting all qualified people from day one. Besides what this article states, it seems like the store is actually highlighting the fact they have somewhat discriminated against Veterans until now. Waiting for a military based holiday to start the P.R. experiment just emphasizes it is a stunt. I will be even less likely to shop there & Sam's Club now. Luckily other stores are coming to the plate with great prices and I don't mind if I have to go to three or four shops in the mall to get everything that I need.
★★ ★ Thank You Veterans! ☆ ☆ ☆
the walmart warehouses start you at over $12.00 an hour .you work up to $ 20.00 an hour pretty fast.
yes it sucks but every job sucks . not everything about this company is bad .
if you work there lets say 10 years and leave you will get a check that will support you for months if not years.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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