Over the past five years, we raised the starting wage by more than 50 percent for our U.S. hourly associates, and the average total compensation and benefits for hourly associates exceeds $18. Additionally, our hourly associates received $730 million in quarterly bonuses in 2019.
While pay is important to our associates, they have told us it’s just one part of the equation. Based on associate input, we have added new benefits like paid time off, advanced job training, paid family leave of up to 16 weeks for our birth mothers, an adoption benefit that pays associates $5,000 per child to cover costs, and an education program that allows associates to earn a college degree for just $1 a day. That means Walmart will subsidize the cost of higher education through our program, beyond financial aid and an associate contribution equivalent to $1 per day.
As the world’s largest retailer, we understand the importance of workforce development. We are continually investing in our associates and encouraging them to advance their own careers. In fact, in 2019, we promoted more than 200,000 people to jobs of greater responsibility and higher pay. In addition, we converted nearly 157,000 associates from part-time to full-time positions.
These are a few of the reasons that associate retention has improved in a highly competitive job market. In fact, turnover in our stores is down by 15 percent over the past five years.
Simply put: We want to see our associates thrive. We mean it when we say our people make the difference.