Lots of Walmart workers are getting a raise, thanks mostly to the pandemic's transformation of the way people shop. The largest private US employer said 425,000 workers who handle online shopping—either on the digital end or in the stocking of orders—will make an average of more than $15 an hour, reports the Wall Street Journal. Specifically, the employees getting raises will make somewhere between $13 and $19 an hour, depending in part on store location, notes the AP. However, Walmart also said it isn't raising its minimum wage of $11 an hour for entry-level positions—someone starting as a cashier, for example. CNBC notes that rivals Target and Amazon have raised their minimum wages to $15 an hour for all workers. Walmart employs about 1.5 million in the US, and its pay policies can have a broad effect.
“We saw major changes to customer behavior last year we believe will be lasting, and we have to continue working to stay in-stock, deliver items on time, and provide the best omni experience possible,” says John Furner, CEO of Walmart US, per the Journal. The company will likely raise its minimum wage in time, adds Walmart Inc. CEO Doug McMillon, but he said $15 is currently too steep for some regions. For now, the company sees its payment scale as providing a "ladder of opportunity" for those on the lower rungs to move up, he says. The news came as Walmart reported that online sales surged another 69% in the fourth quarter, after rising 80% in the previous quarter, per the AP. Overall sales were up 8.6% for the quarter, up from 6.4% in the third quarter. (The feds say Walmart played a role in worsening the nation's opioid epidemic.)