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Walmart ups store manager pay to an average $128K, revamps bonus structure

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Walmart is increasing pay and redesigning its bonus structure for store managers, the company announced Thursday in a news post on its website. 

With that change and upcoming annual increases, the average salary for a store manager will rise from $117,000 to $128,000 per year, Cedric Clark, Walmart U.S.’s executive vice president of store operations, wrote. 

Additionally, the company is redesigning its bonus program so that store profit will play a bigger role in calculating managers’ annual bonuses. “If you hit all targets, your bonus could now be up to 200% of your base salary,” Clark explained.

Walmart framed the news as an investment meant to reinforce a positive workplace culture and retain top talent. 

Clark also acknowledged the role managers play in direct reports’ experience at work. “The number one driver of job satisfaction is an associate’s manager, and we believe that you — our front-line leaders — are the best in retail,” he wrote.

While often a simplification, the old adage that workers “don’t quit their jobs, they quit their managers” can be backed by data. A UKG Workplace Institute poll from fall 2022 found that managers have a significant impact on workers’ mental health — an impact reportedly comparable to a spouse or partner. 

Clark noted the “journey of investing in our associates” has led the company to boost its pay and benefits. Last January, the company increased its minimum wage to $14 an hour, for an average hourly pay of $17.50 for U.S. employees. In contrast, the store also lowered its starting wages for some workers in September. According to Clark, however, the U.S. average hourly wage will soon exceed $18.

Walmart’s competitors have been on a similar journey of wage adjustment in recent years; Target boosted its starting pay to a range of $15 to $24 per hour in February 2022.

Walmart’s expanded benefits include a nationwide doula program — a family-planning benefit it initially trialed in Georgia in late 2021 — and an increase in free counseling sessions

The new pay increases for store managers appear to reinforce a strategy of internal promotion for Walmart.

“Most of you — approximately 75% of our field management teams — began your Walmart careers in the hourly ranks. So did I,” Clark wrote. “My Walmart career started as a sporting goods hourly associate in Washington state. I was able to grow my career because people invested in me.”

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