Full- and part-time hourly workers at Walmart’s U.S. stores are now eligible for bonuses, the nation’s largest retailer announced Wednesday.

The move is a first for Walmart and could mean as much as $1,000 a year for roughly 700,000 employees, the company said in a news release. “The longer an hourly store associate stays with the company, the higher their bonus potential.” Walmart also is testing new training programs for associates in such trades with higher earning potential, such as facilities maintenance or HVAC technician.

The announcement, made in the lead-up to Walmart annual shareholders’ meeting Wednesday, comes as retailers battle to retain workers in a competitive labor market. In January, the company boosted salaries and bonuses for managers, upping the average salary from $117,000 to $128,000 a year and allowing bonuses to reach up to 200 percent of those earnings depending on store performance.

In a call with reporters, Walmart U.S. chief executive John Furner said the retailer is seeing a “decrease in turnover,” according to Reuters.

The company raised its minimum wage last year to $14 an hour, bringing the median associate’s total compensation to $27,642, according to its 2024 proxy report.

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“Over the past five years, we’ve increased hourly wages by around 30 percent, bringing our U.S. average hourly wage to close to $18,” the company said in the news release. “But it’s not just about pay. We’ve also invested in centers of excellence for health care, family building and adoption benefits and many other resources for mind and body.”

The company said its new programs are focused on advancing associates’ long-term earning potential. The technician pipeline program, which will be piloted in with 100 associates in Dallas-Fort Worth area, will train them in jobs where there is a shortage of skilled trade workers. The jobs, where pay ranges from $19 to $45 an hour, include facilities maintenance, refrigeration and HVAC, and reliability and automation technician roles.

Walmart also offers more than 50 skills certificates, which take on average four months to complete, to help usher them into higher-paid positions like pharmacy technicians, opticians and software engineers.

“Our goal is to fast-track front-line associates into approximately 100,000 jobs that are higher-paying and in-demand for our business over the next three years,” the company said.



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