Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to cut thousands of back office positions around the country, a sign that the retailer’s effort to make its cavernous stores more efficient is also changing the face of its workforce.
The country’s largest private employer is eliminating about 7,000 U.S. store accounting and invoicing positions over the next several months, jobs mostly held by long-term employees, often some of the highest paid hourly workers in stores. The retailer wants those employees working with shoppers, not in backrooms, say company executives. Centralizing or automating much of those tasks is more efficient, they say.
The jobs are coveted as a rare desk job in retail. “You are not running around the store on your feet all day,” and receive decent pay, says a Wal-Mart store accounting employee who earns about $13 an hour, or $27,000 a year. “Everybody wants to get in there. The jobs never open up,” says this person, who has worked at the store for nine years.