Walmart has a long history of paying workers poorly and often shows up on lists of the lowest-paying companies in America.
There is another way to view the pay issue. Walmart’s CEO Carl Douglas McMillon made 993 times the median pay of people who are employed at the retailer, based on data from its most recently reported annual financial statement. (These are CEOs of majors companies who are paid 1,000 times more than their employees.)
The SEC measure of CEO pay compared to workers covers not just employees who work in the U.S. It covers every person the retailer employs. That does not negate the fact that the entry level pay for workers is $14 an hour, which barely keeps many out of poverty.
McMillion made $25,306,714 in fiscal 2023. The previous year, he made $25,670,673. The year before $22,574,358.
Walmart’s board would, and probably does, make the case that McMillion runs the largest company in the U.S. by revenue and by employee count. Management would, and probably does, make the argument that a sharp raise in pay of its retailer workers would substantially erode margins. In turn, Walmart’s stock price would fall. It is hard to argue against the share price statement.
In the latest quarter, Walmart US reported revenue of $104 billion, with operating income totaling $5 billion. Despite generating substantial revenue, the operating margin remains quite slim. Implementing a pay increase could potentially erode a significant portion of that margin.
Walmart’s margin is probably the top reason the pay problem for retail workers will not go away. McMillion’s pay package is another matter. (This is America’s most hatred retailer.)
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