The rising unemployment woes are giving way to some cheer, thanks to the retail giant, considered to be an unscathed entity in the current financial turmoil – Wal-Mart Stores.
At a time when the major retailers, including Costco, Target and Best Buy are struggling to beat the recession and the retail industry seeing extensive layoffs, Wal-Mart is at the other end of the spectrum, all by itself.
The news that Wal-Mart has decided to recruit people for about 150 new or expanded stores’ in the United States comes as a pleasant surprise. The company will be creating more than 22,000 jobs for Americans during this period of economic hardship. Although, this figure is less than that of 2008, it is extremely impressive in the current scenario that leaves thousands of people jobless each month.
The economic crisis in the US has seen thousands of people lose their jobs, as employers started trimming their workforce in the past year, as a way of cutting costs. The official unemployment rate is said to be above 9 percent.
According to Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman of Wal-Mart, “Job creation is just one way in which we’re working hard every day to help people across this country live better.”
Wal-Mart would be taking employees for different positions; including store management, human resource managers, pharmacists, customer service associates, sales associates and cashiers. The company is planning on generating jobs in various states; 1,300 jobs in Arizona, 1,300 in Florida, 1,200 in New Jersey, 1,000 in California, 1,500 in Michigan, 1,200 in Utah, 1,000 in South Carolina, 1,100 in Virginia and others.
In spite of being considered as one of the best employers, Wal-Mart has been facing its share of criticism, mainly for the low pay and benefits as well as for preventing its employees from forming unions. This may be true to some extent, but the fact also remains that Wal-Mart is one of the very few large companies in the U.S. that contributes to improving national employment.
Now, with the announcement made to provide thousands of jobs, Wal-Mart has also improved its employee benefits, in the form of health insurance coverage, which is available at cheap rates for both full-time as well as part-time employees; a 401(k) plan, profit sharing bonuses annually, stock purchases and discounts for its workers making in-store purchases. It was only recently that this employer has given out more than $2 billion in bonuses, payments into the 401(k) plan and profit sharing. There are few other companies that put money in to the 401(k) plan without the employee also putting in money.
Satisfied employees who work at Wal-Mart talk about several other benefits they enjoy, such as getting cancer, dental, short and long-term disability and others. They also say they are guaranteed a 40 cent an hour raise every year just for coming to work and doing their job perfectly. They get discounts on child care, gyms, car purchases, cell phones, travel etc.
Yes, there is a section of society who is unhappy with the way Wal-Mart looks after its employees. There are several people who love to hate Wal-Mart. But the fact remains that a job is better than no job. Some pay is certainly far better than stretching hands in front of the government. A hiring employer is better than one laying off. There will always be detractors but as long as the basic essentials are provided at affordable rates for families who cannot afford to spend much in the current situation and thousands of unemployed are being given jobs, then there can be nothing to complain about.
Regardless of everything else, a majority of Americans agree that Wal-Mart is a trendsetter and this is good news for the American economy. This retailer will provide thousands of Americans a career again and help them get back on their feet. These positions could be filled by housewives looking to earn extra income for the family or they can even be taken up by students looking for help to make their way through college.