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Walmart is looking to hire 20,000 supply chain workers

Walmart said the positions it is filling are permanent jobs — not just seasonal help — including full-time and part-time roles.

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Walmart is looking to hire 20,000 workers for its distribution and fulfillment centers, trying to fill some of the most high-demand jobs in retail as the pandemic continues to disrupt the global supply chain.

Walmart said the positions it is filling are permanent jobs — not just seasonal help — including full-time and part-time roles. Positions include order fillers, freight handlers, lift drivers, technicians and management positions. The average pay for its supply chain employees is $20.37 an hour.

"As our business continues evolving to meet the needs of today's customers, having a robust supply chain is more important than ever," the company said in a statement.

Walmart is the nation's largest private-sector employer with 1.6 million U.S. workers as of Jan. 31 this year, according to a regulatory filing.

Competition for warehouse workers was already stiff before the pandemic, with stores adding jobs at their warehouses and logistics networks as more customers ordered online.

Then the pandemic supercharged online shopping, putting even more pressure on retailers to staff up at warehouses. Now, retailers are scrambling to add extra warehouse staff as they ramp up for the peak holiday season amid a record number of unfilled jobs.

Just over half of retailers said they were having "significant challenges" hiring warehouse employees, according to a survey of more than 80 big box, grocery, drug store and apparel chains conducted on Aug. 4 by executive search firm Korn Ferry. That compares to 35% that said they were having such challenges hiring employees to staff stores.

Walmart says it plans to hold special hiring events on Sept. 8 and 9 aimed at filling these positions. Even with Walmart's ability to offer attractive pay and benefits packages, including an offer of free college tuition announced last month, it will be challenging to fill the warehouse positions, according to experts.

"The demand for distribution center workers continues to skyrocket," said Craig Rowley, senior client partner at Korn Ferry specializing in retail. "Everyone who has a desire to be a distribution center worker already has a job."