Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, will be closing three of its tech hubs, with hundreds of employees potentially facing relocation or remote work. According to Walmart spokesperson Mischa Dunton, the closures will impact staff working in Austin, Texas; Carlsbad, California; and Portland, Oregon. The company’s statement expressed its hope that it will be able to relocate or offer remote work options to affected employees, but Dunton declined to specify the number of individuals impacted by the closures.
Walmart has described this move as a “location strategy,” and it will be handled on an individual basis to decide where to relocate the employees. Before these closures, Walmart operated 17 tech hubs worldwide, with six of them based abroad. However, the spokesperson did not share further details on the company’s decision to close the specific locations.
The retailer has also decided to cut back on remote work and has asked its tech teams to schedule regular in-office work days. Dunton declined to comment on the exact number of days that tech staff will be required to be in the office. It’s worth noting that other corporate employees were asked to return to the office in late 2021.
Walmart’s statement included an explanation for the decision to reduce remote work, citing the belief that being physically together will strengthen their culture and build stronger partnerships. The company is the largest employer in the United States, with nearly 1.6 million workers. Its technology teams employ 20,000 individuals and have grown rapidly during the pandemic.
In March of last year, Walmart announced its intention to hire 5,000 more tech workers and add hubs in Atlanta and Toronto. However, it laid off 200 corporate staff in the summer of the same year after warning that consumers had pulled back on discretionary purchases due to high inflation. According to Dunton, the cuts were related to organizational changes.
Finally, Walmart announced last month that it would be raising hourly wages from $12 to $14. This move is expected to help the company attract more front-line workers in a labor market that remains tight. In conclusion, Walmart’s decision to close three tech hubs and potentially relocate hundreds of employees indicates a shift in the company’s overall strategy, which has been impacted by the pandemic and the changing demands of its consumers.
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