Friday, March 23, 2007

From Hourly Associate to Senior VP at Wal-Mart: Wal-Mart is More Selective Than Harvard University

"Jobs at Wal-Mart are a dead-end cycle that keeps people in poverty," according to Wal-Mart critics like Wendell Chin in this SF Chronicle article. Why is it then that so many people want to work at Wal-Mart? Most new Wal-Mart stores employ 350 employees, and it typically gets 11,000 to 25,000 applications, or about 25 to 75 applications for EVERY AVAILABLE JOB! Even Harvard University gets only about 10 applications for every available position. Think about it, Harvard's acceptance rate is 9.3%, and Wal-Mart's acceptance rate is only 1-3%!

One reason so many people want to work at Wal-Mart is the opportunity for advancement - more than 75% of current store managers started at Wal-Mart as hourly associates.

For example, consider the case of 42-year old Patricia Curran, Wal-Mart's Executive Vice President of Store Operations, and listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful women in the U.S., along with two other senior Wal-Mart executives. She is also listed here as one of the Wall Street Journal's top 50 Women to Watch for 2006.

At age 20, Ms. Curran started her career at Wal-Mart as an hourly associate in the pets department, and was subsequently promoted to Department Manager, Assistant Manager, Co-Manager, Store Manager, Regional Personnel Manager, District Manager, Operations Coordinator, Regional Vice President, and Divisional Merchandise Manager, and in 2003 to Senior Vice President of Wal-Mart store operations.

I don't think Patricia Curran is living in poverty, and I don't think she would consider her career at Wal-Mart as a dead-end cycle.

To paraphrase Thomas Sowell, Wal-Mart does not pay its associates as much as third-party observers like Wendell Chin would like to see them paid. But how much are third parties like Wendell Chin, who wax indignant, paying them, and how many jobs are they providing? None.


At 3/23/2007 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not unusual at Wal-Mart. I started out in the warehouse at $2.75 an hour and 28 years later was managing a group of programmers in their systems group at close to $100,000/year, and also was able to retire at age 52. Many of the long-timers at WM started out in hourly jobs and worked their way higher into management.

At 3/24/2007 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have worked for Sam's Club for almost seven years. I love the place. Apparently many other folks do to, because we have many hourly associates here who have worked at this location for over fifteen years. Once people "make the grade" here, THEY DON'T LEAVE. It is the people who are unwilling or unable to adjust to our corporate culture (which is challenging) who whine, complain, and cause problems for the rest of us. "The squeaky wheel gets the grease."

At 3/24/2007 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought anecdotal evidence was frowned up in science. What is the point and where is the scientific evidence backing it up?

At 3/26/2007 1:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why would so many people want to work at Wal-Mart?? Maybe because the store which often targets rural areas forces out small business pre-existing in the area, and these small towns economies begin to fail. It becomes a Wal-Mart job or no job situation. As for their suppliers they are coaxed into a dependent relationship at the height of which Wal-Mart demands that the supplier cuts their prices or they drop the account. This company keeps their prices low by railroading suppliers, wrecking small town economy and then they make their employees work off the clock. YES! Work off the clock, take a look at the number of law suits against Wal-Mart for Labor and Industry violations! They particpate in the manditory and unconstitutional practice of Wal-Mart excercises where the "team" must cheerlead the letter that spell Wal-Mart. They do these off the clock manditory at 6am. if you work that day or not you have to be there. That is how they really treat their family. Wal-Mart is currently trying to ruin India's economy to drive out the middle-men and the street hawkers... which are the backbone of the retail economy. Trying to again make a Wal-Mart job or no job situation. Wal-Mart is evil, backed by the devil 100% and the smiley face is put there to lead you astray. Be warned that God does not condone the enslavement of your fellow man, nor the puppeting of the elderly, the sick, the needy. Wal-Mart tries to warp your patriotism into profit BEWARE!!!

At 4/03/2007 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe so many people apply to Wall-Mart because the barrier to entry is lower than it is for Harvard. At Harvard, not only do you need good grades, but you have to pay them. It's a wonder they get any applications at all.

At 11/30/2007 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah Hah...that's funny.(actually sad) My daughter just sent her application to Harvard last night in fact, when just yesterday I had my first and last experience that I ever want to have in a Walmart. The "customer service" people I experienced at the Richmond, California store were the lowest class of people I have ever encountered in a retail establishment in my entire life! They were low class, spoke poorly, used the F word ( yes, thats right!) and mocked me. I am a 52 year old caucasian women and have shopped everywhere except Walmart until yesterday and I will NEVER go into another one. What I saw was the lowest class of person I have ever spoken to and this includes on the street in Oakland! I guess my daughter will be going to Harvard next year if this is the type of person Walmart hires. I only found this site in an attempt to find a contact fpor Patricia Curran, so I could write to her about the conduct of those she is ultimately responsible for. I tried at the more local level of the district manger, but found the much the same unproffesional conduct that I found in the actual store.


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