Walmart has committed to invest $1 billion in career-driven training and development by 2026, while Walmart.org* has made over $140 million in philanthropic investments over the last five years to build skills-based systems beyond the company. We share a goal: creating a world where all learning counts.
That way, people like Reece get credit for all the skills they possess, not just the college degrees they may or may not hold. Credit for everything – earning skills, experience and hard work – means more opportunities for everyone.
Combining our business and philanthropic efforts is helping create skills-based systems and hiring practices that allow people to see more career opportunities and be seen by employers for all the skills they have. That includes formal education, work experience, short-form credentials, volunteerism, military service and other life experience.
This starts at home with helping Walmart associates discover new opportunities. People come to Walmart for a job and stay for a career, and we’re constantly creating pathways to in-demand roles in our company. At the same time, the Walmart.org team is working to set the stage for this approach across other employers, educators, policymakers and workforce systems.
Ultimately, Walmart believes the U.S. workforce system needs to transition to a system that recognizes and understands skills in the same way it recognizes and understands college degrees. This gives talented, skilled workers who do not have degrees the same benefits as people who do. Harvard Business Review refers to this approach as the new-collar workforce.
We believe in leading by example. Here are five ways we’re doing this inside and outside our business:
1. Offering more short-form certificates focused on new skills
Associates can start working toward a college degree – paid for by Walmart – on day one of employment. However, over the past two years, we’ve made an intentional shift with our Live Better U education benefit to offer more short-form certificates that give associates the skills they need to quickly transition into in-demand jobs here at Walmart or beyond.
We now offer around 25 short-form certificates through our partnership with Guild, compared to five in 2020. Associates can earn certificates for data analytics, cybersecurity, supply chain management and business economics, to name a few. We want people to stay and grow with us, so we’re making it easier to move up into roles with greater responsibility and higher pay.
2. Rewriting job descriptions to factor in skills
We’ve always been focused on eliminating unnecessary barriers for associates to advance in their careers. For example, 75% of salaried managers in U.S. stores, clubs and supply chain facilities started in hourly roles at Walmart – a prime example of our culture of promoting from within. We’ve never required degrees to hold these roles, which make approximately $113,000 a year.
We’re expanding that thinking as we evolve existing jobs, create new ones and look at the skills our business will need in the future. We’re rewriting job descriptions for our campus (headquarters) jobs to factor in the skills people possess, alongside any degrees they hold. This creates an either/or option for an applicant: to be considered for the job, you can have a related college degree or possess the skills needed for the job, whether through previous experience or other forms of learning.
Both options count. While degrees should be part of the equation and in some cases even required, there are many roles where a degree is simply unnecessary, including at corporate headquarters. For example, Walmart has made charitable grants available to benefit the Markle Foundation’s work to create tools that will help employers, including Walmart, put these practices in place.
Veterans like Reece are a prime example of prior experience that translates to future job opportunities. The Walmart.org team is working with Hire Heroes USA and The Manufacturing Institute to support transitioning veterans.