Walmart, the nation's biggest private employer, said that as part of a shift in the way it trains and pays employees, the company will give raises to nearly 40 percent of its 1.3 million U.S. employees by early next year, boosting current worker wages to at least $10 an hour.
The company also promised that in April, it will increase starting pay to a minimum of $9 an hour, resulting in raises for about 500,000 employees.
In addition to raises, Walmart said it will modify work scheduling and add training programs to allow staff to move from entry-level positions to jobs with more responsibility that pay $15 an hour or more.
"Today's cashiers will be tomorrow's store or club managers,'' Doug McMillon, Walmart's chief executive officer, said in a letter and video sent to employees. "Today's managers are tomorrow's vice presidents. Tomorrow's CEO will almost definitely come from inside our company.''
McMillon said that about 75 percent of Walmart's U.S. management teams began in an hourly role with the company.
"If you work hard, develop new skills and care for others, there should be no limit to what you can do here,'' McMillon said.
In addition to the changes with Walmart's workforce, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will commit $100 million over five years to help fund programs designed to create career paths in retail and related industries, including hospitality and wholesale, and train thousands of workers outside of the company.
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