Walmart Invests in Hiring Teens

The world’s biggest employer offers teen workers free ACT and SAT prep help, along with other perks.

September 11, 2019

BENTONVILLE, Ark.—Walmart employs 2.2 million people globally, making it the world’s biggest employer. But in today’s tight labor market, the retailer is actively going after high schoolers, CNBC reports.

Walmart employs 1.4 million in the United States, but less than 25,000 are teens—a tiny percentage, and it’s even smaller when compared to industry competitors. The retailer has recently beefed up its perks aimed directly at high schoolers: free ACT and SAT prep, an opportunity to earn some college credits and help paying college tuition.

Hiring teen workers benefits employers in a number of ways, including less outlay to hire them and an easier time training them to fit job openings. Walmart isn’t the only company waking up to the benefits of having a younger workforce. Chipotle, Disney, McDonald’s and Starbucks all offer comparative educational perks. But not as many teens are seeking employment these days. During the 1970s, close to 45% of teens worked part time. In 2018, only around 29% of U.S. teens held jobs.

For more on hiring high schoolers in your stores, see “Next-Generation Workers” in the September issue of NACS Magazine.

Retailers are getting creative with their hiring practices in general. For example, fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are throwing hiring parties and launching campaigns to generate more applicants. Meanwhile, more companies, including Walmart, are offering additional incentives to current employees, such as payroll loans and advances, to aid in retention.