Looking for a new position as a cybersecurity pro, tech architect, developer, software engineer, data scientist, data engineer, or technical program manager or product manager? You may want to check out Walmart Global Tech, the technology organization within retail giant Walmart.
The company recently announced a commitment to hiring 5,000 new positions globally this year in its 17 technology hubs, including two new hubs in Atlanta and Toronto. The tech organization currently employs 20,000.
“Walmart Global Tech grew annually by 26% last year,” in terms of the number of employees, says Sravana Kumar Karnati, senior vice president and CTO at Walmart International, which is part of Walmart Global Tech. Karnati reports to Walmart’s CTO. “That compares to the industry growth rate in the US of 2.2%. The good news is that the good talent is actually choosing us as you can see through those numbers.”
Walmart’s announcement comes amid a continuing strong hiring environment for technology pros. For instance, for the month of February, IT positions throughout the economy increased by an estimated 1,000 to more than 5 million, according to an analysis by CompTIA. Tech companies added 5,300 workers in February in areas such as IT services, custom software development, computer, and electronic products manufacturing. Also, job postings for new IT hiring totaled nearly 388,000, up 50,000-plus from the previous month.
“Walmart has always had a big IT capability,” says Brian Kilcourse, managing partner at retail industry research firm RSR Research. “They’ve always had a massive presence in that area because they understand the strategic value of information. They got that a long time before anyone else did.”
The company took that a step further in 2019 when it appointed an ex-Google and ex-Amazon tech exec Suresh Kumar as CTO, reporting directly to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.
Walmart is not alone in publicly announcing plans for big technology hiring. One of Walmart’s top rivals, Amazon, announced in December 2021, plans to create 550 new jobs at a Phoenix tech hub and another 2,000 new jobs at an Austin tech hub.
Walmart and Amazon are among companies that generate strategic options -- revenue-generating capabilities -- from their technology organizations, according to Mark McDonald, research vice president at Gartner.
“Walmart has had a long-term commitment to technology and technology investment,” he says. “They’ve also had a long-term commitment to having much of that work done by Walmart people.”
For instance, a couple of the recent projects announced by the company are Zeekit Virtual Fitting Room technology and Conversational Shopping. The Zeekit technology actually came via an acquisition, and it allows customers to select from 50 virtual models between 5 foot 2 inches and 6 feet tall in height and sizes from XS to XXXL. Customers can then see how different clothing options would look on their chosen models. The Conversational shopping projects include capabilities that enable customers to add items to their shopping carts by talking to a smart speaker connected to the Walmart app.
“Businesses that lead with technology report a higher degree of confidence in getting value out of that technology,” McDonald says. Walmart is certainly one of those companies. But more companies overall are leaning into that model, too.
McDonald says that Gartner interviewed 2,300 CIOs at the beginning of 2022 and found that more of these executives are “really looking to ramp up their digital revenue -- the amount of revenue they generate from digital channels.” Gartner expects the average company will have a little over half of their revenue come from some digital channels or some form of digital technologies by 2023. The trend points to perhaps some added competition in hiring for tech giants in the years ahead.
But Walmart has also been preparing a technology talent bench, too. Karnati says that some of Walmart’s technology hires may be store associates who take advantage of the company’s tuition assistance program to complete their degrees while working in the stores. But the company will also be hiring experienced talent, too. That’s essential when it comes to the challenges the company faces.
“A lot of other companies have similar challenges,” says Karnati. “But when you look at it to Walmart’s scale, being able to solve those challenges at this scale is a totally different ballgame.”