Walmart said Friday that it has reached its goal of hiring 150,000 additional employees. Now, it said it plans to add 50,000 more to keep up with sustained demand for groceries and a wide range of items, from sewing machines to beard trimmers, during the coronavirus pandemic.
The retailer is the nation's largest private employer with about 1.5 million employees. In mid-March, it announced plans to expand its workforce by filling 150,000 jobs in stores, distribution centers and fulfillment centers by the end of the May.
Since announcing its hiring goal, Walmart has averaged 5,000 hires per day and had more than 1 million applicants, Walmart's chief people officer Donna Morris said on the company's website. She said about 85% of its new hires are in temporary or part-time roles, but some will become permanent.
To accelerate hiring, Morris said it shortened its hiring process from two weeks to 24 hours, allowed candidates to apply with a text message and worked with more than 70 companies to find workers displaced by furloughs in hard-hit industries, such as restaurants and hotels.
She said the 50,000 additional hires will be focused in key areas where Walmart still has need, such as drivers for its fleet; cashiers, stockers and personal shoppers in stores; and fillers and pickers in distribution and fulfillment centers.
"We are humbled and proud to be able to give an opportunity to so many workers during this critical time," she said. "We continue to see strong demand in our stores, and at the same time, we want to give our current associates the flexibility to take time off and stay home if they feel more comfortable doing so."