<p>A Walmart store in California, US</p>

A Walmart store in California, US

Black executives would not recommend working at Walmart, survey finds

‘I have been here 10 years and I have never recommended Walmart to a person of color,’ one director says

Saman Javed
Sunday 11 July 2021 15:04
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Many managers would not recommend working at Walmart, an internal survey at the US-based retailer has found.

The survey, seen by Bloomberg, asked 56 Black employees in senior positions to score the company from -100 to 100 on how likely they are to encourage friends and family to work there.

Answers from 24 supervisors, 24 directors and eight senior managers, gave Walmart an average score of -86. “Positive sentiment decreases at higher levels,” it concluded.

As per Walmart’s latest Culture, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (CDEI) report, Black people make up 20.7 per cent of its workforce. Less than 10 per cent (8.4) of the company’s corporate officers are black.

While supervisors gave the retailer an average score of 72, indicating that they would recommend working there, all senior managers gave the company a score of -100.

“I have been here 10 years and I have never recommended Walmart to a person of color. I have recommended others to leave,” one Black director said. “Pay, benefits, not bad – but recommend? NEVER. EVER.”

The survey highlighted five key reasons why Black staff members would not recommend Walmart to a friend.

The employees said a lack of diversity in leadership positions deters Black employees from progressing, and that the company focuses more on external recruitment, rather than developing existing talent.

They also said there is “unequal access” to career opportunities, making it difficult for Black people to thrive.

As per Walmart’s CDEI report, Black workers make up 28% of new hires at the company, but only accounted for 12.65 per cent of promotions from hourly-paid positions to management roles.

Most alarmingly, the survey found that Black staff feel they must outperform their peers and take on more complex workloads to maintain their positions, and that favouritism and “internal politics” at the company negatively impact Black employees.

Walmart told Bloomberg the survey was “early research” with a “limited sample size”.

“Hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent is a top priority for Walmart. While we are proud of the progress we have made, we are always looking at our own systems and processes with a critical eye for ways we can do even more,” the statement said.

Black employees account for 12 per cent of the 125 million US private-sector workforce, according to research from McKinsey & Company.

The consulting firm estimates that 45 per cent of Black private-sector employees work in lower-paying service industries; healthcare, retail and food services.

The Independent has contacted Walmart for comment.

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