How Walmart and other big companies are trying to recruit more teenage workers

There is no company in the world that employs more people than Walmart.

It has 2.2 million employees globally. If the retailer were a country, its population would be somewhere between Gabon and Gambia.

But in a tight job market, Walmart is now getting creative when it comes to hiring.

Of its 1.4 million U.S. workers, less than 25,000 are in high school. The company acknowledges that’s a very small percentage, and it’s especially small when compared to other companies in its industry.

So Walmart is trying a new recruiting approach: offering high school students free SAT and ACT prep, subsidizing a large chunk of their tuition, and the chance to earn some college credit.

Hiring employees early on in their careers comes with a number of benefits. It costs less to employ them, and it’s typically easier to train them to fit the company’s needs, since there are no old habits that need to be broken.

Others have also caught on to the advantages of hiring teens. Starbucks, McDonald’s, Disney, and Chipotle all offer similar education benefits.

However, teenagers aren’t working nearly as much as they used to. Back in the 70s, nearly 45 percent of teens were working part-time jobs. In 2018, the national average fell to about 29 percent.

Questions remain about how long these programs will last. Is this the new norm for big retailers, or will these benefits disappear when the job market turns? Watch this video to hear what experts have to say.

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Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.

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