Walmart ups its college recruiting game, but it carries homestate baggage | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Walmart ups its college recruiting game, but it carries homestate baggage

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:08 AM

WALMART'S RECRUITING RV: But the company can't leave home no matter what in the eyes of some students. - BLOOMBERG
  • Bloomberg
  • WALMART'S RECRUITING RV: But the company can't leave home no matter what in the eyes of some students.
Walmart, the retailing behemoth is moving aggressively to catch up and surpass Amazon and others in digital commerce. One potential problem: Arkansas.

Thanks to Arkansas Business for noting this article in the Seattle Times from Bloomberg.

Walmart has sent a purple RV on a college recruiting tour. It's stocked with pizza and other giveaways. When it talks to students, it can point to major investments in high-tech, away from the old discount store model.

But such moves won’t matter much in the long run if the company’s culture doesn’t change. To that end, Wal-Mart overhauled its campus-recruiting program this year to lure more applicants from top-flight colleges: students who typically juggle offers from Google and Goldman Sachs. Historically, Wal-Mart found most of its entry-level executives at state schools within a day’s drive from its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Many of these new hires will end up working far from Arkansas, at Wal-Mart’s sprawling online business, which includes millennial-friendly brands such as Bonobos, ModCloth and Moosejaw and maintains offices in New York and San Francisco.

They’ll be people like Penn senior Aaron Lai, a computational-biology major from Amazon’s hometown of Seattle. Lai said that “Wal-Mart is not the sexiest brand to work for,’’ but he was intrigued by the data-analytics side of retail work. So he listened to Wal-Mart’s recruiters.
But some people WILL have to work in Arkansas. Walmart, after all, is investing a reported billion dollars in a new corporate headquarters in Bentonville SOMEBODY is going to work there. The article indicates many students are open to Walmart's pitch of a new direction. But the article kicker was a real OOF.

At the Penn career fair, that courtship process enticed Sarah Fox, a senior environmental-science major from Westport, Connecticut. She wandered into Wal-Mart’s RV because a retail supply-chain role sounded like something she might try.

But not if she had to move to Arkansas. “That,’’ she said, “would be a deal breaker.’’
Earth to Arkansas legislature. Yes, the Waltons have built a museum or two, bike trails and underwritten millennial-friendly restaurants in B'ville. But believe it or not, majority sentiment at elite colleges doesn't run in step with the majority view of the Arkansas legislature: Legalized discrimination against LGBT people; evisceration of women's medical rights; a culture that holds guns more important than public safety; officials that oppose environmental regulation; opposition to universal health care; punishing workers comp and unemployment protection laws; official resistance to comprehensive sex education; rejection of science (no evolution, this is Arkansas). This is what they call business climate.

But, hey, thanks to voters (not the legislature) you can soon get some marijuana to ease your pain.

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