One thing most Americans still have in common? Walmart.
Consumer research group NPD estimates that roughly 95 percent of Americans spend money at Walmart, either in-store or online, every year. Today, Walmart employs 2.2 million people around the world. In the U.S., Walmart employs more than 1.5 million associates across over 5,000 stores and clubs nationwide.
"Some of our stores really function as a cornerstone for the community," Becky Schmitt, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Walmart-owned Sam's Club, tells CNBC Make It.
If you've ever relied on a local Walmart store for a job, groceries or a pharmacy, then you know that Schmitt is not exaggerating. While the retailer's size is undeniable, critics have raised concerns about how Walmart pays and treats its employees including accusations that the company punishes workers for taking sick days.
But this year, the company has made significant policy changes to address concerns such as these. In January, Walmart announced that it would be raising starting wages for hourly employees from $9 an hour to $11 an hour, and that it would be expanding its family leave policy so that all full-time hourly workers receive 10 weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave.
According to Walmart, 75 percent of store management teams joined Walmart as hourly associates. Today, they earn between $50,000 and $170,000 a year.
In May, the company announced that it would offer subsidized higher education for all of its U.S. employees, including full-time, part-time and salaried Walmart and Sam's Club workers. Workers involved in the initiative can pay $1 a day to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree in business or supply chain management.
CNBC Make It spoke with Schmitt and Amy Goldfinger, Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition for Walmart Inc., to learn what it takes to land a job at the company.