Jun 16, 2022 - Economy

Walmart raises pay for pharmacy technicians amid labor shortage

Walmart pharmacy

Walmart pharmacy technicans will see their pay increase starting this week. Photo: Walmart

Walmart is raising the average hourly pay for its store and Sam’s Club pharmacy technicians to more than $20 an hour and plans to give more frequent and automatic raises.

Why it matters: Amid a nationwide labor shortage of pharmacy technicians, the nation's largest retailer said Thursday it was introducing "a new, progressive wage model designed to set us apart from the competition."

  • The raises start this week for more than 36,000 pharmacy technicians.
  • Walmart said the technicians have been "front and center during the pandemic" testing customers for COVID and administering vaccines.

Flashback: This is the second increase in the past year for Walmart technicians, who last received raises in August 2021, the retailer said in a blog post.

By the numbers: A November 2021 survey by the National Community Pharmacists Association found that 68% of independent community pharmacies were having a "difficult time" filling staff positions with 88% stating that pharmacy technicians were in “short supply.”

  • The staffing shortages resulted in increased prescription dispensing times for 68% of pharmacies surveyed.
  • There were 419,300 technicians nationwide in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The median annual wage for pharmacy technicians was $36,740 or $17.66 an hour in May 2021, the bureau noted.

Details: With its new wage model, Walmart said technicians will get more raises.

  • New pharmacy technicians get raises that "can add up to $4 to their starting base pay over the course of four years.”
  • The technicians will get raises every six months in their first two years with the company, Walmart said.

What they’re saying: “We believe we are among the first large retailers to incorporate this kind of model — an approach that’s commonly seen in healthcare systems,” Kevin Host, a Walmart senior vice president, and Sean Jackson, a Sam’s Club executive, wrote in a blog post.

Meanwhile, Walmart said technicians who are certified can make $3 more per hour than non-certified technicians.

  • Walmart said it covers costs for employees to get their certification through its Live Better U education program.

Walmart hiring for pharmacy jobs: Where to apply

What's next: Walmart said it plans to hire approximately 5,000 additional pharmacy technicians this year.

Go deeper:

Go deeper