Walmart Raises Wages for Some Pharmacists and Opticians

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said Wednesday it is increasing the pay of its 7,700 pharmacists and opticians as it expands its health business and seeks to retain employees in a competitive environment.

The retailer said the increase would affect the average annual salary of more than 3,700 pharmacists totaling more than $140,000. Walmart declined to share the current pay rate, saying it is based on location and role.

It said opticians can now “expect” to make average hourly wages of more than $22.50. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a pharmacist in the United States is $129,410 and the median hourly wage for opticians is $21.58.

In total, Walmart employs 16,000 pharmacists and 12,000 opticians.

The company also said it was launching a program in which associates working in its Vision Center could earn certification and licensure as a way to move up to higher paying positions.

“We listened to our associates and took their feedback about the need to improve their work environment,” Brian Setter, Walmart’s executive vice president of health and wellness, said at the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.

This year, Walmart raised wages for workers across its businesses as a way to compete for talent. Inflation is affecting not only the shopkeepers but also the employees. And the job market continues to be strong, giving workers more options. walmart in january Reduced Its pharmacy hours are battling a tight labor market.

That same month, the company said it was raising its minimum wage for store workers from $14 to $19 an hour, up from $12 to $18. Its average salary still isn’t as high as some competitors like Costco.

last year, also raised wages Promised more and more frequent increases for pharmacy technicians working for Walmart and Sam’s Club, averaging over $20 an hour.

For years, Walmart faced pressure from unions, policy makers and activists to increase wages for employees in its stores. Because of its scale, Walmart’s recent move to raise wages could signal to the rest of the retail industry that companies still need to offer workers more incentives to stay competitive in the labor market.

Walmart opened its first health center in 2019. By providing health care services, the retailer is seeking to make deeper inroads into the communities where it operates and capture a larger share of the billions of dollars that Americans spend on medical care each year.

It currently has 32 health centers in the United States, with plans to have more than 75 by the end of next year.

John David Rainey, Walmart’s chief financial officer, said this month that “strong growth” in its health and wellness category helped drive comparable sales growth for the company’s most recent quarter.

At the same time, there is a shortage of pharmacists across the country. After three years on the front lines helping fight the coronavirus, a large number of pharmacy workers are burned out and have left the industry. As of 2021, in the coming years, the industry is expected to expand more slowly than the national average for other industries. job outlook report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The report states that most of the openings “will result from the need to replace workers who relocate to different occupations or exit the labor force.”

This week, Walmart executives, store associates and suppliers have gathered in Bentonville, Ark., for the retailer’s annual shareholder meeting.

The company is expected to clarify its vision for the year ahead, giving updates on its consumer base, technological innovations and store remodels. Its healthcare business will be of interest to most investors and analysts.

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