Retail

Walmart to Hire 20,000 to Support Holiday E-Commerce

In a show of how quickly Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) has evolved from a brick-and-mortar company to one that challenges Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) primacy in e-commerce, it will hire 20,000 temporary workers to staff its fulfillment centers for the holidays. It also announced a pay structure for the new workers.

Amazon has a vast warehouse and fulfillment system that allows it to deliver inventory efficiently. These are staffed by tens of thousands of workers in a hub and spoke model that feeds ground delivery. The system continues to expand rapidly. It is everything Walmart can do to keep up.

In the announcement, Walmart stated the 20,000 people would:

… including order fillers and power equipment operators, that begin at a starting hourly rate ranging from $15.75 up to $23.75 based on location, position and schedule. Seasonal employment will begin immediately upon hiring with shifts scheduled as quickly as 48 hours from applying, and it will continue through Jan. 1, 2021.

Walmart has been in very public battles with its employees and with minimum wage advocates about whether it pays minimum wage. In this case, base pay is above minimum wage levels in all states. The highest state minimum wage threshold is currently $15 an hour.

Walmart generally is considered the second-largest e-commerce operator in the nation. In its last quarterly earnings report, it said the online part of its business had grown almost 100% year over year, driven largely by shoppers shut in by the pandemic.

Walmart’s store network is considered an e-commerce-based success factor as well. Some customers order online and then pick up, either inside stores or at curbside.

Walmart pointed out this was not the first hiring surge of the year. It has added 500,000 people since March. Obviously, Walmart thinks the holidays will be successful financially. The 20,000 new jobs are an outward and visible sign.