Half of Walmart’s US Workforce Is Part Time, Capping Opportunity

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If a new study by OURWalmart, an organization which loosely represents the interests of Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) workers, is correct about half of the world’s largest retailer’s U.S. staff is part-time. This means they could struggle as they hope to climb higher on the Walmart promotion ladder.

The business benefits of part-time workers is obvious. Walmart has more control over the time of these people.  It most likely does not have to pay them expensive benefits. With a staff of nearly 1.5 million in the U.S, this must save hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

The study which was done in March and April and polled 6,176. Of those 87% were current Walmart workers. The conclusion:

Over the last decade, Walmart has quietly been reducing full-time positions and shifting to a part-time workforce. In 2005, 80% of Walmart’s associates were full-time. In 2018, an estimated 50% Walmart’s U.S. workforce is part-time.20In contrast, nationally, 29% of people working in retail are part-time.

It appears that Walmart may be pursuing a deliberate part-time strategy. A 2005 internal memo from Susan Chambers, then serving as Walmart’s Executive Vice-President of Benefits, proposed “increasing the percentage of part-time Associates in stores” as a “major cost-savings opportunity.”

The comment was from a over a decade ago, and probably means little now. However, the study claims to support the conclusion about the composition of Walmart’s work force.

The two other major conclusions of the research is that 69% of part-time workers would like to work full-time. The other is that part-time workers are often excluded for a chance to get better opportunities at Walmart.

Walmart increased it minimum wage to $11 this year. And, full time workers enjoy better benefits than before. However, many experts in income say that even at $11, some Walmart workers do not make enough money to keep them much above the poverty level. That means part-time workers are more likely to suffer from the problem, unless, perhaps, the have other work.

Are the results of the OURWalmart survey right? If so, many people who work at Walmart are trapped in an income vice which they cannot get out of