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Walmart is giving store managers an $11,000 reason to cheer in the new year.

That’s how much the Bentonville, Arkansas-based big-box retailer is hiking managers’ annual pay. The hike, set to kick in on Feb. 1, will raise annual salaries to $128,000 a year from $117,000, the company announced Thursday.

It’s also redesigning its annual bonus program so managers whose stores “hit all targets” could be eligible to receive up to 200% of their base salary as a bonus, Cedric Clark, executive vice president of store operations at Walmart US, wrote in a note to US store managers.

“Investing in you is an investment in our future,” Clark wrote, saying store managers shape culture, values, and work ethic for employees across its 4,600-plus stores.

The 9% raise comes after almost a decade of stagnant pay and after a couple years of high inflation.

Quotable: Walmart managers are mini-CEOs

“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. Not only are you responsible for exceeding customer expectations day in and day out; each of you is the CEO of a multimillion-dollar business. And you’re the driving force behind the development of our next generation of leaders.”

Walmart US store operations executive VP Cedric Clark to US store managers

Walmart’s rising pay scale

The largest private employer in the US with more than 2 million workers on its payroll, Walmart has been trying to win staff over with perks like health care, help with college tuition, and industry-leading wages.

At the start of 2023, the company raised its minimum wage by $2, putting its lowest hourly rates of pay between $14 and $19 depending on location — well above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 — in a bid to retain employees.

Walmart later responded to a cooling labor market by reducing the starting pay by about $1 for new hires who prepare online orders for curbside pickup or delivery to customers’ homes, and those who restock store shelves. Still, the $14-19 average pay range remained unaffected.

As a result of last year’s changes and the annual increases that were just announced, Walmart’s average US hourly wage is set to exceed $18 per hour, the company said.

One big number: Hourly-wage workers to managers at Walmart

75%: Share of Walmart’s field management teams that “began your Walmart careers in the hourly ranks,” per Clark, who is also among those who climbed the corporate ladder.

“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,” he wrote in his memo. “I know firsthand that the possibilities are endless when working at Walmart. And the possibilities are endless for you and for everyone you lead every day.”

Fun fact: Walmart managers don’t need college degrees

Walmart managers do not need to have a college degree to qualify for the job. Last year, the company even dropped the requirement for some corporate jobs at its headquarters, instead moving to a system that values “earning skills, experience and hard work.”

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