Walmart has increased the number of women and people of color in its officer roles in an effort to better reflect the country’s diversity among its top leadership. According to the retailer's annual diversity and inclusion report, which was published on Monday, Walmart’s representation of women and of people of color at the officer level — the highest level of the company and includes positions of vice president and above — rose 1.03 percent and 0.61 percent, respectively, over the past year.
In a statement on Walmart's blog, Ben-Saba Hasan, senior vice president and global chief culture, diversity, equity and inclusion officer, pointed out that the report "details our progress to create greater racial equity across society and in our company. While the work is multifaceted and extends across our company and into the community, there are certain themes that shine through: representation matters, education is the foundation of progress, and we’re investing in change."
Other findings from the report include:
- Women representation in U.S. management is up year-over-year by .026 percent, likely aided by a 7.69 percent annual increase in hourly-to-management promotions and 4.46 percent gain in total management promotions for women.
- Walmart remains one of the largest employers of Black and African American people, comprising 20.7 percent of its total U.S. workforce.
- Walmart hired more than 480,000 new associates in the U.S. last year, and total people of color represented 55 percent, women 49.4 percent, and Latinx 18.0 percent of new hires.
- A new Race & Inclusion curriculum was introduced in August 2020 on Walmart’s ULearn platform. The program contains seven learning paths for home office associates and four field-focused paths. More than 105,000 cumulative learning paths have been completed as of January 2021.
- Walmart created the RACE Ahead series to provide a space for transparent, relevant and solutions-oriented conversations. We had more than 17,700 total live connections for nine 60-minute sessions.
- Walmart launched a five-year, $100 million philanthropic commitment to create a new Center for Racial Equity. The first $14 million in grants from the center was announced on Feb. 1, 2021.
- Walmart established a five-year, $5 million commitment to the Equity in Education initiative in collaboration with North Carolina A&T State University, which is the first outcome of our SVNs. This commitment is from the business, and is above and beyond the $100 million Center for Racial Equity philanthropic commitment.
Total Retail's Take: Walmart, like other companies across corporate America, has faced heightened pressure to show that it's advancing racial equity with how it hires, promotes and does business — particularly after the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. And while Walmart has made progress in these areas, it still is left with plenty of work to do: Nearly 75 percent of Walmart employees in officer roles are white, according to CNBC.com. However, the company is certainly working to become more diverse, particularly within its leadership ranks. In the CNBC article, Hasan said Walmart "has focused on hiring and promoting women and people of color by enlisting support across the board, rather than having efforts largely begin and end in his department." Furthermore, he said he has noticed more energy devoted to the effort at Walmart compared with his nearly 13 prior years at the company.