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Want to earn six figures? Consider working at Walmart

  • Store managers at Walmart earn an average of $175,000 per year, according to the retail giant.
  • Walmart now pays full-time workers $14.26 an hour, nearly double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
  • While it's boosting pay, Walmart is also increasingly investing in robots and other technology to automate stores in a bid to cut labor costs.

Walmart, long criticized for underpaying workers, seems particularly eager to shed that label. The world's biggest retailer revealed this week that its store managers earn an average of $175,000 a year -- that's nearly four times the roughly $47,000 a typical U.S. worker makes.

Full-time workers at Walmart earn $14.26 per hour, which comes to just under $30,000 a year and is nearly double the federal hourly minimum wage of $7.25 (More than half the company's hourly U.S. employees are full-time, according to Walmart, suggesting that many of its workers are part-time and may earn less.) The lowest starting wage for any worker at Walmart, full-time or part-time, is $11 an hour, according to the company. 

Walmart moved to rehabilitate its reputation for paying poorly in 2015, when it pledged to boost wages by $2.7 billion over two years, as well as offer more training and education for workers. Last year, it increased starting hourly pay to $11 for full-time employees. Meanwhile, Walmart made headlines in January when it announced that it was boosting the annual salary for 8,000 truck drivers to an average of $87,500 year

"We want to build a skills-based employment system, with ladders of opportunity, at scale," Kathleen McLaughlin, chief sustainability officer at Walmart, said in a report.

The company said it promoted 215,000 people, or about one-fifth of its U.S. workforce, to roles with greater responsibility and higher pay in the past year. 

Here come the robots

How serious is Walmart about rebranding itself as a place to work? When Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos last month challenged retailers to match the ecommerce company's $15 an hour minimum wage, a Walmart executive promptly fired back and suggested that Amazon pay its taxes. Amazon paid has owed no federal income tax for two straight years.

Although Walmart is raising pay for many workers, the company is joining many other retailers in embracing automation. The company said in April that it's adding almost 4,000 robots to its stores, effectively removing low-skilled work like scrubbing floors and sorting inventory.

Walmart framed the move as a way to free up employees to do what they're "uniquely qualified for," while critics fear its robot fleet will cost jobs.