If you ask a Black person working as a manager at your local Walmart store whether you should get a job there, chances are they might invoke the great Reggie COUZ to answer you: “Oh hell noooooooo-ohh-aaahhhhhhhhhh!”
At least that’s what the findings of a survey commissioned by the company say.
According to Bloomberg News, the report was presented to members of the company’s senior leadership late last year. Fifty-six Black supervisors, senior managers and directors were surveyed and a majority of them gave “mediocre ratings” for career satisfaction.
Among the key concerns highlighted by the Black managers that participated in the survey, Bloomberg reports, are a lack of diversity in leadership, a heavy emphasis on recruitment instead of developing existing talent, unequal access for career and growth opportunities, a small margin of error for Black employees and favoritism and internal politics harming Black employee morale.
Walmart said in a statement to Bloomberg that the study was “early research” with an “unscientific and limited sample size.” It was commissioned by one of its employee-led “shared value networks,” which were created last summer and focus on driving systemic change in areas like education and criminal justice. Those groups make recommendations to a steering committee led by Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon. The respondents included 24 supervisors, 24 directors or senior directors, and eight senior managers.
“Hiring, developing, and retaining diverse talent is a top priority for Walmart,” a company representative said. “While we are proud of the progress we have made, we are always looking at our own systems and processes with a critical eye for ways we can do even more.”
Walmart’s culture, diversity, equity and inclusion report from last year states that Black employees make up nearly 21 percent of its workforce. When it comes to management-level positions, Black employees make up 12 percent of them, and only eight percent of officer-level jobs.
More from Bloomberg:
Several levels of Black Walmart managers were asked to give a numerical ranking for how likely they would be to encourage friends and family to work there. The final scores were tallied into a “net-promoter score” on a scale ranging from -100 to 100. The Black directors and senior directors, roles that rank just below vice presidents in Walmart’s hierarchy, gave a net promoter score of -86. Senior managers, who typically report to directors, delivered the lowest possible score of -100. The hourly supervisors, who make up less than half of those surveyed, gave a score of 72, indicating they would recommend working at the retailer.
“Positive sentiment decreases at higher levels,” the survey dryly concluded.
The report also included blunt comments from Black staffers. “I have been here 10 years and I have never recommended Walmart to a person of color. I have recommended others to leave,” one Black director said. “Pay, benefits, not bad — but recommend? NEVER. EVER.”
The Bloomberg story also points out that the survey findings were released during a time when Walmart and other major American corporations pledged to rectify racial inequalities in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last year.
So yeah, it’s apparent that the company still has some work to do. And by “some,” I mean “a lot.”