Thursday, November 21, 2013
DC Walmart More Selective than Harvard
The District of Columbia's first Walmart store has received over 23,000 job applications for only 600 jobs, Business Insider reported on Tuesday. That means that one out of every 38 applicants will be offered a position with the store, or about 2.6 percent. Harvard University, one of the most selective colleges in the United States, has an acceptance rate of 6.1 percent.
DC's first Walmart almost didn't happen. The D.C. Council had proposed a "living wage" bill that would require a minimum wage of $12.50 per hour for all "large" retailers with annual corporate sales that exceed $1 billion. This would have effectively shut out Walmart from the city. The bill was vetoed by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and minimum wage in the city remains at $8.50.
While Walmart is maligned by critics, many fail to realize that for many associates, Walmart is the only place they would be able to actually be employed. Having a job—any job—is better than having no job, which 23,000 DC residents were quick to realize. While your average D.C. Council member may sneer at the thought of working at a Walmart, it may in fact be the best option for someone with a very limited skill set. The vast majority of Walmart associates aren't exactly turning down jobs left and right to work at Walmart.
While it's a sad reminder of how disastrous employment statistics are today to see over 23,000 people apply for 600 jobs, it's fortunate overall that these jobs were even able to come to DC in the first place.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).