Sources

Ready for Anything: The Modern Retail Workforce

Last updated July 27, 2021.

The data used throughout this site reflects current internal Walmart employment and training numbers and select third-party sources, including the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Census Bureau, National Retail Federation, and Chronicle of Higher Education. Below you can find the specific sources and relevant contextual details for all data claims.

Learn how Walmart’s workforce philosophy is creating access to employment, providing stability and building mobility for professional advancement in our 2020 ESG Report. Walmart also seeks an inclusive culture where all associates feel like they belong and are empowered to be themselves. Learn more about our approach in the 2020 Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Mid-Year Report.


INTRODUCTION

The Retail Impact

Nearly 16 million Americans are employed in the retail industry…

This is the most recent (December 2019) number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The actual figure is 15.8 million.

…which collectively supports $1.6 trillion in labor income.

42 million direct and indirect jobs supported by retail…

$2.6 trillion is the retail industry’s GDP impact in the United States…

These figures come from a 2014 National Retail Federation / PricewaterhouseCoopers report titled The Economic Impact of the U.S. Retail Industry. The report considers three separate channels—the direct, indirect, and induced impacts—that in aggregate provide a measure of the total economic impact of the U.S. retail industry.

That’s more than the total GDP of France.

This data comes from the World Bank.

In total, retail accounts for nearly a quarter of total national employment.

This figure comes from a 2014 National Retail Federation / PricewaterhouseCoopers report titled The Economic Impact of the U.S. Retail Industry.

The Retail Opportunity

Graph: Employment in Retail Jobs vs. Other Jobs

This graph uses data available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor website for retail, manufacturing and health care & social assistance.

Retail and the American Experience

6 in 10 Americans have worked a retail job, and nearly a third (32%) of all first jobs were in retail.

These figures all come from a National Retail Federation article titled Economy: Retail Jobs.

21% of retail workers are going to school and 21% are pursuing another career.

These figures are included in the NRF article titled Economy: Retail Jobs. The referenced survey was originally published in a 2015 NRF article titled Retail’s Value on a Resume.

1 in 10 part-time employees are also stay-at-home parents, and 1 in 20 retail employees are over 65.

The stay-at-home parents figure comes from the aforementioned NRF article titled Economy: Retail Jobs. The 1-in-20 figure is from an Aspen Institute paper titled The Retail Trade Workforce in the United States.

1 in 12 of America’s veterans work in retail, where they bring specialized leadership skills to any role they assume.

This is the most recent (March 2020) number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The actual figure is 7.9%.

Retail as a Skills Lab

80% of hiring managers surveyed said the skills and traits they view as most important are
the same as those most retail employees say they already use regularly.

71% of hiring managers say that retail provides employees with foundational skills and
experiences that are transferable to other industries and recommend employees have retail experience on their resume.

Both of these figures come from a 2015 NRF article titled Retail’s Value on a Resume.

Walmarts Across America – Map

This map uses internal and published Walmart data along with the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’s total retail numbers from 2018.

  • Walmart locations data as of August 2020 and include stores, clubs, supply chain and corporate-coded offices.
  • Walmart associates by state as of Q2 FY21 and is inclusive of Home Office associates in Arkansas.

To calculate the percentage of total retail employment, the total number of Walmart associates per state is divided by the total number of retail jobs for that state.

The "Largest Private Sector Employer" data comes from an article titled Largest Employer in Every State by 24/7 Wall Street, a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. An earlier version ran in the Des Moines Register as Who is the largest employer in your state? Walmart top in nation with Amazon second. Please note that while the introduction of the article says that "Walmart is the largest employer in 22 states," clicking through the states reveals that Walmart is the largest employer in 21 states. This discrepancy is likely because a data correction noted on the first page ("A previous version of this piece listed the largest employer in New Hampshire as Walmart. In fact, the largest employer is the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System.") resulted in the state page being updated, but not the introductory copy.

Ready to Transform Retail

No claims


EDUCATION

Introduction

No claims

The Multiple Pathways

6 in 10 millennials say they’re open to new job opportunities.

21% of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year.

These stats come from a Gallup source titled Millennials: The Job Hopping Generation.

Standing in the Way

No claims

America’s Unknown Deserts

In fact, 6 out 10 of all college freshmen attend school more than 50 miles from home.

This stat references data from page 22 of a report titled The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2016. The report was published by UCLA’s Cooperative Institutional Research Program.

11 million Americans live more than 60 minutes from a broad-access public college. That’s more than the population of Madison, Memphis, Mesa, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and New York City — combined.

This callout uses data from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s in-house study of Education Deserts. The definition of an education desert—living more than 60 minutes by car from a broad-access college (degree-granting 2-year or baccalaureate-granting 4-year colleges)—and the number of Americans in those deserts comes from the Chronicle of Higher Education’s analysis of U.S. Census block and data and a list of 1,500 American colleges and universities.

The comparative city populations are pulled from the U.S. Census and represent 2018 approximate figures.

LBU: An Oasis

INTERNAL CLAIM: 29,457 students served since program launch

This claim was compiled based on internal Walmart data, paired with data from Guild Education, Walmart’s partner in the associate education benefit program, as of August 2020.

LBU: An Oasis – Map

This map uses data from the American Council on Education and Center for Policy Research and Strategy’s report, "Education Deserts: The Continued Significance of ‘Place’ in the Twenty-First Century". This map defines an education desert as an area in which there are

  • Zero colleges or universities located nearby, or
  • One community college is the only public broad-access institution nearby.

"Broad-access" is defined as any public college or university admitting more than 75% of its applicants. "Nearby" is defined using a combination of core-based statistical areas and commuting zones, with counties serving as the primary unit of analysis.

INTERNAL CLAIM: LBU learner numbers by state

This claim was compiled based on internal Walmart data, paired with data from Guild Education, Walmart’s partner in the associate education benefit program, as of August 2020. Student learner data for Puerto Rico not included.

INTERNAL CLAIM: Walmart Locations

Based on internal Walmart data as of August 2020.

Life Happens

22% of undergraduate students are parents

This figure is taken from page one of an Institute for Women’s Policy Research report titled Parents in College: By the Numbers, and reflects the IWPR’s analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Education.

College students who are parents have nearly 2x the student loan debt of students overall.

This figure comes from the same IWPR report.

43% of full-time undergraduate students work either full-time or part-time to support their education.

This data comes from a National Center for Education Statistics report tracking employment among college students over time.

Nearly half (49.3%) of students in a 2019 survey who dropped out of school cited need for money as their primary reason. But finances weren’t the only factor. Students named disinterest in classes (32.4%), lack of support (15%) and being a parent (12.8%) as other contributing factors.

This data comes from a 2019 peer-reviewed study in the International Journal of Psychological Research and Reviews investigating the reasons students leave school before graduating.

Learning and Earning

GRAPH: Dependent Students vs. Independent Students

These numbers are from a 2015 Department of Education report titled Demographic and Enrollment Characteristics of Nontraditional Undergraduates: 2011-2012. The data can be found on page 10 and has been rounded to the nearest whole digit.

Life and Learning

GRAPH: How Likely are College Students to Stay Enrolled?

This graphic uses data from a National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report titled Persistence & Retention – 2018.

The data reflects "persistence" among college students, which is the rate at which they remain enrolled in any institution (not just the one they originally enrolled in; that is measured as "retention") OR graduate. This data is filtered by full- and part-time student status.

The Debt Sentence

CHART: Average Annual Tuition by Institution Type

INTERNAL CLAIM: The cost of LBU reflects Walmart’s original LBU cost model of $1 a day as out-of-pocket cost for associates.

The rest of the chart uses data from a Collegeboard report titled Trends in College Pricing 2019. (The Collegeboard data is based, in part, on National Center for Education Statistics data.)

"In District" is analogous to "in state"; 4-year public institutions typically charge different tuition rates for "in state" students and "out of state" students, because those institutions are funded in part by state taxes. Likewise, 2-year institutions often charge different tuition for "in district" vs "out of district" students. In this case, the district is typically based on county-level designation, as many 2-year institutions are funded in part by county or city property taxes.

This definition comes from information from GradLime, CWI, and NWACC.

Low Investment, High Return – Map

INTERNAL CLAIM: But with access to education for just $1 a day, LBU learners have already amassed an impressive savings of more than $42 million – which sets them up to yield an enormous return on their education investment.

This monetary figure is based on reported Walmart LBU data as of February 2020, which was based on LBU’s original $1 a day cost model.

External Map Data

This map shows the average student loan debt by state, collected by The Institute for College Access and Success, a non-profit policy and advocacy group. Data is from a commissioned survey of the graduation class of 2018.

INTERNAL CLAIMS – Map: LBU tuition savings by state, LBU credits completed by state, as of August 2020.

This map displays the total tuition savings (by state) for LBU learners. This figure is derived by calculating the difference between the total financial contribution of all LBU learners in a state and the market value of all credits earned by LBU learners in that state.

Total credits earned is data provided by Guild. Estimated credit value is calculated by the number of credits earned in college programs multiplied by the cost per credit (which is unique by university and based on each university’s standard rates – not the cost to Walmart as part of the LBU program), plus standard higher education fees (3%), which are calculated when the credit is earned and only for students who pass the course. The estimated value of College Start credits is also included. These calculations reflect the full market value of ‘traditional’ college credits.

INTERNAL CLAIMS: Walmart locations

Based on internal Walmart data as of August 2020.

Case Studies

Maikayla Pierson

In fact, only 41% of full-time college students finish a degree in four years according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Janine Johnson

44 million Americans owe $1.56 trillion in student loan debt, according to Federal Reserve data reported by Forbes.

Harry Weist

In fact, two-year community colleges and for-profit four-year schools have average completion rates below 40 percent, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Dustin Clemons

Around a quarter of all college students are also raising children, according to the Lumina Foundation. Of the roughly 4.8 million students who are raising kids, around 30 percent are fathers, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

Demetrius Watkins

According to the College Board, the average amount of student debt for borrowers at public four-year schools is $27,200 and increases to $33,500 for borrowers at private four-year schools. And according to a study by One Wisconsin, the average time it takes to pay off that student debt is 21 years.

Zaguru Zamani Karffa

According to a report distributed by the National Bureau of Economic Research, refugees who entered the country between the ages of 18 and 19 see college graduation rates of less than 20 percent.

Ana Pedro Hipalito

As of academic year 2015-2016, 56% of undergraduate students nationally were first-generation college students, according to the Center for First Generation Student Success.

 


RETAIL JOB TRAINING

Introduction

No claims

Opportunity for Mobility

62% of retail store managers say they reached their current position by "moving up the ranks" in the industry, for example starting as a store associate.

This figure can be found in a National Retail Federation article titled Economy: Retail Jobs.

80%+ of workers in the retail industry do not have college degrees.

50% of retail employees don’t have any post-secondary education.

These figures were cited in an Aspen Institute report titled Industry at a Glance: The Future of Retail. A footnote says the number comes from the author’s analysis of Current Population Survey data.

Foundational Skills

The retail industry is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting 42 million jobs…

This figure comes from a 2014 National Retail Federation / PricewaterhouseCoopers report titled The Economic Impact of the U.S. Retail Industry. The report considers three separate channels—the direct, indirect, and induced impacts—that in aggregate provide a measure of the total economic impact of the U.S. retail industry.

GRAPH: These are top traits important to retail hiring managers, along with the percent of retail employees that says they already use these skills regularly.

This data is from page eight of a National Retail Foundation report titled Retail’s Value on a Resume.

The Soft Skills Gap

82% of employers look for communication skills on a candidate’s resume, and 79% look for the ability to work in a team.

This data is from a National Association of Colleges and Employers article titled Employers Want to See These Attributes on Students’ Resumes.

23% of workers with low skills, including written and verbal communications skills, are in charge of supervising colleagues at work.

This figure comes from page two of a National Skills Coalition report titled Foundational Skills in The Service Sector.

The Digital Literacy Gap

According to an Associated Press study, the number of skills required in entry-level job postings has increased since 2010.

20 million service sector workers lack "foundational skills," including basic problem solving with technology.

This figure comes from page one of the aforementioned National Skills Coalition report titled Foundational Skills in The Service Sector. The NSC report, in turn, cites "our analysis of data from the [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] Survey of Adult Skills" as the source for the figure. Links to both reports are included below.

3 out of 4 retail workers lack digital problem-solving skills in things like sending an email, or opening the proper application on a computer.

This figure comes from the same NSC report. The cited figure is actually 73%, however, that figure includes an endnote about methodology suggesting that number may be an understatement. Thus, we felt safe rounding to "3 out of 4" for concision.

Per the NCES website, digital problem-solving skills are defined as: "using digital technology, communication tools, and networks to acquire and evaluate information, communicate with others, and perform practical tasks." The examples we provide ("…sending an email, or opening the proper application on a computer") are anecdotal illustrations of this.

Closing the Gaps

No claims

Introducing Walmart Academies – Map

INTERNAL CLAIM: …as of February 2020, there has been 1.1 million total associate trainings completed through instructor-led and virtual reality curriculums.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data for FY20.

The map on this page uses internal data for Walmart Store Academy Trainings completed for FY20, and the count of associates eligible for training (Home Office + Supply Chain excluded). Additional breakdowns include:

Additional breakdowns include:

  • Total # of unique, eligible associates trained by state: Unique Instructor Led Trained + Unique Connect Trained + Unique VR Trained
  • % of all unique, eligible associates trained for each state: % of all Associates Trained = (Unique Instructor Led Trained + Unique Connect Trained + Unique VR Trained) / (Current # Supercenter and Neighborhood Market Store Associates)

Additional Notes:

  • Some associates may travel across state lines to receive training, and this number reflects their primary "home state" working location.
  • An individual is only counted once no matter how many classes taken
  • Inclusive of some VR courses that are counted as Academy trainings and are entirely exclusive of the ILT classes

INTERNAL CLAIM: Walmart Academy Locations

Based on internal Walmart Academy data through FY20.

Lessons Beyond the Classroom

CHART: What Learning Methods Work Best for Americans?

This data comes from a survey conducted for Everest College by Harris Interactive, which asked 1,000 adults what methods of learning worked best for them.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 50%+ Walmart Academy training goes beyond the classroom — in fact, more than half of associates’ training is scheduled to take place on the sales floor.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data.

Soft Skills Solutions

More than half (55%) of workers say they learn work-related things from coworkers and managers at least once a week.

This figure comes from page 17 of the National Skills Coalition report titled Foundational Skills in The Service Sector.

Digital Literacy Solutions

INTERNAL CLAIM: 10-15% increase in assessment scores when VR training is incorporated into the classroom, on average.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 724,024 total trainings through VR devices.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data for FY20.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 16,455: Number of virtual reality devices for associate training

Based on internal Walmart Academy data as of September 2020.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 131,021 number of trainings completed via video conferencing.

Based on internal Walmart Academy Connect Training data for FY20.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 170,000+ active installs of Spark City, a custom-built, simulation style game that teaches management concepts.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data for FY20.

Training Drives Results

INTERNAL CLAIM: 1,861,835 total associate trainings completed

Based on internal Walmart Academy data through FY20.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 75% of Walmart store management began as hourly associates.

Based on published Walmart data.

INTERNAL CLAIM: 53.3% greater earning potential for assistant store managers who are promoted from department manager upon completion of Academy training.

Percent increase is based on pay increase from Department Manager to Assistant Store Manager, a promotion that requires completion and passing of Academy trainings.

Based on internal Walmart Academy data.