Sept. 24, 2021
By Ben Hasan, Senior Vice President and Global Chief Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Walmart Inc.
Last year was pivotal for our country. It forced us to sit in an uncomfortable state of self-examination individually and collectively. In turn, we made conscious decisions to change. To do better. But change doesn’t come easy, does it? Social systems that create inequity have been built over decades, so dismantling and rebuilding for the betterment of all people won’t happen overnight. We are on a journey.
We often fixate on big acts of change – the splash we create when we toss a rock into the pond. But we must recognize that small actions, repeated over time, are equally important. They’re the pebbles that create ripples and waves that transcend beyond a moment in time and create lasting change.
Today, we published our 2021 Mid-Year Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report. Within the report you’ll see actions big and small, each representing an important step in our journey.
While all of the work is critical, here’s what stands out to me:
Our focus on representation in the workplace is unwavering.
- We’ve added new insights specific to age representation. The average age of our U.S. workforce is 38.32, while the largest percentage of associates is 20-24, suggesting Walmart is a place for those starting their careers.
- We’ve achieved incremental gains in representation for People of Color, specifically with Black and African American associates. In fact, People of Color represented 55.47% of U.S. new hires.
- We also achieved representation gains across management. When you look at our U.S. promotions from hourly roles to management, 44.61% were women, 38.80% were People of Color and 17.38% were Latinx.
- Latinx and Asian representation in the total workforce also rose.
Supporting women in the workplace is critical. The data in our report suggests what we’ve known for a while – Across most industries, women are leaving the workforce at unsettling rates, in large part due to constraints of the pandemic.
- In the U.S., we saw a -0.98% decline in employment rates for women overall since Jan. 31, 2021, which is also reflected in national trends.
- Despite the decline in hourly and management women representation, U.S. Officer-Women representation is up 1.14% since Jan. 31, 2021.
We have a global opportunity to advance equity and inclusion for people with disabilities.
- In May, we announced the formation of our Accessibility Center of Excellence to continue to push for progress inside and outside our walls.
- Walmart has long been committed to supporting people with disabilities, which I believe is evidenced by our score of 100 on the 2021 Disability Equality Index for the sixth consecutive year.
We will continue to build programs and provide resources aimed at bridging the gaps in our social systems. We cannot let perfect get in the way of progress. We’re doing the work – big and small – focused not only on the splash, but also the ripples and waves that will create everlasting change.