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View Full Version : Does Walmart really refuse to consider Ivy-league graduates for employment?


No Wikipedia Cites
04-09-2009, 09:36 AM
From the I'net Void: "A buddy of mine from grad school was from Arkansas and had friends who were employed at the walmart HQ in the HR department. Those friends told him that Walmart would toss out resumes from the ivy league schools."

True? I know Walmart subtlely doesn't hire highly-edumacated peeps for its hourly positions because they are afraid of unionization, or at least that's the word on the street. But at HQ? Is this a legacy of old timer Sam W., who distrusted them northeasterners, or just another myth?

Cheesesteak
04-09-2009, 09:50 AM
I know Walmart subtlely doesn't hire highly-edumacated peeps for its hourly positions because they are afraid of unionization, or at least that's the word on the street.Nobody hires highly educated folks for low paid hourly positions. Nothing to do with unionization, and everything to do with the fact that highly educated folks don't really want low paid hourly jobs. They will work and take the paycheck while continuing to look for a better job. Once they find a job that pays $0.50/hr more (and they will) they quit, forcing you to hire and train a new person.

Captain Amazing
04-09-2009, 10:27 AM
Just for the record, Leslie Dach, Walmart's Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Government Relations has a bachelors degree from Yale and a masters from Harvard, and Linda Hefner, Executive Vice President has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

No Wikipedia Cites
04-09-2009, 10:28 AM
Well, that is quite true, but my question is based on hirings at walmart corporate headquarters, where an education is necessary. And many people with bachelor degrees still apply for part time work at walmart, and are reportedly not hired because of fears of unionization.

No Wikipedia Cites
04-09-2009, 10:29 AM
Just for the record, Leslie Dach, Walmart's Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Government Relations has a bachelors degree from Yale and a masters from Harvard, and Linda Hefner, Executive Vice President has an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Well, so the anonymous internet I quoted in the first post, fails us yet again!

Balthisar
04-09-2009, 10:45 AM
Why fears of unionization? As a general rule, the more educated you are, the less need and desire to form a union. It's people that can't get ahead on their own (generally speaking) that want/need unions.

Dangerosa
04-09-2009, 10:56 AM
WalMart does tend to have a 'promote from within' culture (Target, on the other hand LUVS those Ivy League MBAs) - a lot of their corporate headquarter's employees started in the stores. That background probably creates a lot of state college grads at headquarters and not an Ivy League culture (people don't tend to put themselves through Yale working at WalMart).

Since they do a lot of internal hiring, getting hired at WalMart corporate from the outside can be tough.

HorseloverFat
04-09-2009, 11:14 AM
know Walmart subtlely doesn't hire highly-edumacated peeps for its hourly positions because they are afraid of unionization, or at least that's the word on the street.

I doubt thats true. Everywhere Ive worked we've always dismissed overqualified people from entry-level positions. They hate the job, they complain, and in a few months they've quit out of frustration (I didnt get an masters to do office admin!!!) or because they found a better job. Of course they were notified about what the job entails but they have some crazy idea that once we see what kind of precious snowflake they are we will immediately move them to a VP position. Hiring managers want people who will stay at the job for a while. Walmart has other ways of crushing unions. Not to mention competitive educated people are probably the least likely to get into unionization, as collective bargaining hurts their personal bottom line.

I also find this unlikely to be true when it comes to corporate management. Everything Ive read about Walmart is about how the best and brightest MBAs run the company and how their hard-nosed, ultra-competitive approach is very much the best of American business.

Mr. Slant
04-09-2009, 11:26 AM
For the OP:
Is your friend's context folks applying for corporate in Bentonville?
Folks applying for store or district manager?
Folks applying as hourly store associates in entry-level positions?

Exapno Mapcase
04-09-2009, 11:34 AM
Why fears of unionization? As a general rule, the more educated you are, the less need and desire to form a union. It's people that can't get ahead on their own (generally speaking) that want/need unions.

Does anyone actually believe that? If so, how do they explain the strength of teacher's unions, government employee unions, and unions such as the Writers Guild and the Newspaper Guild?

Little Nemo
04-09-2009, 11:38 AM
As a general rule, the more educated you are, the less need and desire to form a union. It's people that can't get ahead on their own (generally speaking) that want/need unions.Actually many better educated people are smart enough to question it when management tells them that unions are bad and consider the possibility that management may not be offering unbiased information.

No Wikipedia Cites
04-09-2009, 12:01 PM
Yes ^ There was a strong push a couple years ago from one union (and this of course has happened many times before and since) to unionize, supposedly there were sending their people (with degrees apparently) to start work at walmarts. The walmart leadership decided that low-education people could be more easily intimidated and confused as to the benefits of a union. This is just what I read in a paper, in about 2005.

DSYoungEsq
04-09-2009, 12:05 PM
Yes ^ There was a strong push a couple years ago from one union (and this of course has happened many times before and since) to unionize, supposedly there were sending their people (with degrees apparently) to start work at walmarts. The walmart leadership decided that low-education people could be more easily intimidated and confused as to the benefits of a union. This is just what I read in a paper, in about 2005.

May I suggest to you that such a story in a paper has about as much value as the internet meme already destroyed quite easily from your OP?

Mr. Slant
04-09-2009, 12:06 PM
Ivy League staff are generally in professions that are treated well enough that they don't unionize.
The problem with unionizing Wal-Mart is that low-skill workers are hard to unionize, and unions representing low-skill, easily-replaceable workers have little bargaining power.
It's just not that hard to scab 99% of the staff at my local Wal-Mart if you have to.

astorian
04-09-2009, 12:23 PM
I don't know that Walmart is unique in casting a wary eye on Ivy Leaguers who apply for low-level jobs. The manager at Red Lobster or Office Depot might ALSO wonder why a guy with a degree from a prestigious school wants to work as a waiter or stock clerk.

That doesn't mean they WON'T hire such people, but they're bound to ask WHY the pplicant wants to work there. If the answer is, "Well, the economy is slow, and I need some kind of paying job until I find something better, well, NO employer wants to hear that. Whay would I hire you if I know you'll be out the door first chance you get?

On the other hand, if the answer is, "I'm going to be in graduate sachool for the next two years and I need a steady job that lets me take classes," well, that's different. Graduate students often take jobs that are, technically, "beneath " them. It wouldn't be shocking to see an Ivy League law student working at a menial part-time job.

The Tao's Revenge
04-09-2009, 01:00 PM
Dunno if it counts for anything but I had a Wal-Mart in K-Zoo change their mind about an interview when she found out I was in college.

Balthisar
04-10-2009, 01:05 PM
Does anyone actually believe that? If so, how do they explain the strength of teacher's unions, government employee unions, and unions such as the Writers Guild and the Newspaper Guild?
Quite simply, look at the number of union versus non-union jobs in the country. Educated people are educated enough to know how to consult laws and apply them if they want a union. So why don't they form unions?

(Government unions are already entrenched, and many states [such as mine] have union support built into law. The writers and newspapers guilds are so small that they're not representative of the country in general.)

This isn't supposed to be a pro-/anti-union post, so don't steer it that way. It's not a debate, and it's quite clear: educated people that have jobs requiring education have less need/want for forming unions. That's a fact.

Hari Seldon
04-10-2009, 02:33 PM
I read in the paper just this morning that a Quebec Walmart had agreed to a union contract. The first time employees at a Qubec branch of Walmart unionized, Walmart closed the store. This caused an enormous amount of negative publicity, but they got away with it (that is, they were able to convince the authorities that the closure was justified by the lack of business). I think that another closure would have doomed any Quebec operations. Incidentally, the labour laws are very favourable to workers who want to unionize.

As far as who wants to unionize, I never did since I didn't want my activities directed by unions (obligation to strike, and so on), but I taught at McGill, the only non-unionized university in the entire province. A friend at another school is very upset that his union is trying to get a strike vote to ask for, I think, a 13% increase in these straightened times.

Quercus
04-10-2009, 02:50 PM
Does anyone actually believe that [hard-working successful people don't want unions]? If so, how do they explain the strength of teacher's unions, government employee unions, and unions such as the Writers Guild and the Newspaper Guild?Don't forget the NFL Players Association, etc.

Exapno Mapcase
04-10-2009, 03:41 PM
Quite simply, look at the number of union versus non-union jobs in the country. Educated people are educated enough to know how to consult laws and apply them if they want a union. So why don't they form unions?

(Government unions are already entrenched, and many states [such as mine] have union support built into law. The writers and newspapers guilds are so small that they're not representative of the country in general.)

This isn't supposed to be a pro-/anti-union post, so don't steer it that way. It's not a debate, and it's quite clear: educated people that have jobs requiring education have less need/want for forming unions. That's a fact.

It's not a debate because that's not a fact.

Unions are based on the usefulness of collective bargaining and that usefulness is a function solely of the economic underpinnings of the industry. Any industry which consists of employers of large numbers of approximately equal jobs has potential for unionization. Industries with large numbers of small or individual proprietors have lower potential.

Education is a partial factor underlying the industry type. Many professions rely on small or individual proprietorships. However, these always - not sometimes, always - use some type of surrogate, like the AMA, ABA, or state licensing boards for collective bargaining, lobbying, and enforcement. Other professions, like teachers and reporters, work for large employers and so have historically unionized.

Skilled and semi-skilled workers historically worked for large industrial organizations, which made them good targets for unionization. However, as the economy has shifted markedly toward a service economy the logic of unionization has diminished. That isn't a function of education; it's a function of the type of businesses that exist. It's also a function of a prosperous economy over the past quarter century. A prolonged economic downturn may encourage unionization among workers in companies like Wal-Mart. Or the competition for jobs may allow the companies to be more ruthless in their anti-union activities. That's been encouraged by conservative policies at the national level, so that may change as well.

How about backing up your claim with some figures? What percentage of those who are educated, say, with a college degree, are unionized as opposed to the percentage of those who are not. Maybe then we'd see how much of a "fact" your fact is.

Oh, heck, I'll do that for you.
http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1176&context=key_workplace
In 2003, 12.6% of workers with a bachelorís or advanced college degree were union members, compared to 6.6% of workers with less than a high school education and 11.9% of workers with a high school degree or one to three years of college.

Thalion
04-10-2009, 08:50 PM
I agree that if this policy exists, it's because they believe that Ivy League graduates won't stay with the job very long.

About 10 years ago, there was a big lawsuit when a police department (I'm pretty sure it was in Massachusetts) wouldn't hire a man for a patrol job because his IQ was too high. Their justification was that such a person would get bored with the job and quit in a few years. I don't remember how the suit came out.

Snnipe 70E
04-11-2009, 11:45 AM
Different line but a partial explaination.

When I graduated from the Maritime Academy shipping jobs were hard to come by. So I started to look for a job ashore.

I would interview at one job and I would get the answer, "Kid we would love to hire you but you just don't have enough experience." The next job down the street which pais $.05 less an hour would say, "Kid we would love to hire you but with your background and experience you won't stay." The thing that got me was it was nickle an hour that made me over qualified or under qualified.

Over the years if I can talk to the Chief Engineer then I have a chance. If I only talk to personal then little chance, they really did not know what was really wanted.

Spezza
04-11-2009, 09:29 PM
Nobody hires highly educated folks for low paid hourly positions...

I am a highly educated lad who toils in a minimum wage position.

(I didnt get an masters to do office admin!!!)

I did get a Masters and right now I'd kill for an Office Admin job.

PBear42
04-12-2009, 02:34 AM
Mostly right. It was New London, Connecticut and the name of the fellow at issue was Richard Jordan. He lost in the district court and the case went to the Second Circuit, which ruled the policy had a rational basis, which is a term of art in Constitutonal law. It doesn't mean the policy was right per se. Only that it wasn't subject to equal protection challenge. I agree that if this policy exists, it's because they believe that Ivy League graduates won't stay with the job very long.

About 10 years ago, there was a big lawsuit when a police department (I'm pretty sure it was in Massachusetts) wouldn't hire a man for a patrol job because his IQ was too high. Their justification was that such a person would get bored with the job and quit in a few years. I don't remember how the suit came out.

Balthisar
04-13-2009, 07:55 AM
It's not a debate because that's not a fact.
But you've got to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov) to get a fuller view. A large percentage of a small percent of workers (28% of the workforce is college educated). The BLS indicates that union representation for educated workers is primarily not in the private sector, but in the public sector where salaries are low, unions are already entrenched, politics is rampant, and productivity is non-important. It's quite plain that where there are no unions currently, there's no desire for one among educated people. (I quite plainly discounted public/government in my previous post.)

What's especially interesting are the number of forced union members in all of those statistics (i.e., those who pay dues without being a member, or those who pay agency fees). Unfortunately (and speaking from personal experience here), it's damned hard to get rid of a union once there's one in place.

So, private sector, educated people: they don't want unions. They have the education and resources to start unions if it were something that they wanted, and yet the statistics overwhelmingly support that they don't start/join unions.

robardin
04-13-2009, 10:01 AM
I am a highly educated lad who toils in a minimum wage position. ... I did get a Masters and right now I'd kill for an Office Admin job.

Ouch. A friend of mine in a similarly bitter position posted a link to this column in The Chronicle of Higher Education earlier today on FB: Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go (http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2009/01/2009013001c.htm), subtitled It's hard to tell young people that universities view their idealism and energy as an exploitable resource.

Ow ow ow!!! Reading that article was painful not only because I care about my friend but because I could see, spelled out in blunt and truthful terms, how things got this way for him.

Mahaloth
04-13-2009, 10:33 AM
Why fears of unionization? As a general rule, the more educated you are, the less need and desire to form a union. It's people that can't get ahead on their own (generally speaking) that want/need unions.

Huh.

I'm a teacher with a very useful and legitimate Masters degree, and work in a district with 300 other teachers who have or are working toward Masters degrees.

We have a union.

DesertDog
04-13-2009, 11:57 AM
Over the years if I can talk to the Chief Engineer then I have a chance. If I only talk to personal then little chance, they really did not know what was really wanted.This phenomenon is true in a lot of industries. I have had better results talking to the guy who needs me rather than the HR drone.

Mr. Slant
04-13-2009, 12:06 PM
Huh.

I'm a teacher with a very useful and legitimate Masters degree, and work in a district with 300 other teachers who have or are working toward Masters degrees.

We have a union.

Teachers are one exception to the general rule that the poster you're responding to noted.
You guys fall under "the larger the employer, the more likely you get a union" rule.
You're also skilled enough to make wholesale scabbing difficult.

Exapno Mapcase
04-13-2009, 01:01 PM
But you've got to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://www.bls.gov) to get a fuller view. A large percentage of a small percent of workers (28% of the workforce is college educated). The BLS indicates that union representation for educated workers is primarily not in the private sector, but in the public sector where salaries are low, unions are already entrenched, politics is rampant, and productivity is non-important. It's quite plain that where there are no unions currently, there's no desire for one among educated people. (I quite plainly discounted public/government in my previous post.)
It's obviously convenient for your point to dismiss out of hand all numbers that don't back up your point, but you can't do that and retain any credibility.

First, let's address your slander. You're talking to someone who actually worked more than a decade in local government. Because of the nature of my job I dealt not just with fellow city employees but also town, country, state, and federal employees. From the way you're blathering I know for sure that you never have. You're talking through your hat, to put it politely. Governmental employees are educated, pick careers in government because that's an excellent route toward helping people, and are exactly as productive in a random sampling as a random sampling of anyone else.

Government work and teaching are careers and professions that educated people choose for the work, with the fact that they are unionized important but secondary. Just as educated people choose professions like journalism for the work with the fact that they are unionized important but secondary.

The public/private sector division you make is not just arbitrary and absurd but applies only to the United States. Unions were not invented here. They exist almost everywhere. In many countries professions that are in the private sector in the U.S. are in the public sector and unionized. The U.S. experience is merely a accident of history. The forces behind unionization are universal.

So, private sector, educated people: they don't want unions. They have the education and resources to start unions if it were something that they wanted, and yet the statistics overwhelmingly support that they don't start/join unions.
You keep saying that you aren't anti-union yet you keep spouting anti-union stereotypes without a shred of evidence to back them up.

The fact is that educated people do choose to be unionized and in higher percentages than the less educated. You can't get around that. In fact, they tend to start unions whenever the economic circumstances of the industry support collective bargaining, and they start alternative collective regulatory and lobbying units whenever the economic circumstances don't.

Education breeds unions. It has for at least the past century. It has in all western countries. It does so today in greater percentages than lack of education, not only in the U.S. but elsewhere. In a world in which services predominate over labor, education will continue to grow unions. And that's our world.

smiling bandit
04-13-2009, 03:56 PM
1. Your entire post, exapno, is assuming a lot of facts not in evidence

2. You are clearly proseltyzing, not arguing a factual.

3. Regardless, it's not at all clear that even your basis is correct. The golden age of unions was relatively short-lived and heavily concentrated in unskilled labor. It's definitely not clear how things will be going.

4. You have not disproven the previous point, which was that for highly educated labor, unionization was unusual and heavily concentrated in government.

Mr. Excellent
04-13-2009, 04:06 PM
Well, that is quite true, but my question is based on hirings at walmart corporate headquarters, where an education is necessary. And many people with bachelor degrees still apply for part time work at walmart, and are reportedly not hired because of fears of unionization.

I know that the plural of "anecdote" is not "data", but I have two friends with master's degrees in criminal justice who worked at Wal-Mart as low-level employees. One is still there, actually.

Mr. Slant
04-13-2009, 05:45 PM
Were they shooting for academic careers investigating crime, or careers in law enforcement/corrections?
I know the occasional metro PD has layoffs, but I hadn't realized the cop industry had gotten that bad...

Foxy40
04-13-2009, 05:56 PM
I am a highly educated lad who toils in a minimum wage position.



I did get a Masters and right now I'd kill for an Office Admin job.

Recently I advertised for a clerk in my office. I was very clear that it is a part time position paying $8-9 dollars per hour and ideally suited for a college student. I had over 150 applications (and they are still coming).

At least a quarter of these were well educated people with extensive work experience. I did not consider them.

This is a job for someone to file, run errands and pick up dry cleaning. The bottom line is an over qualified person would just use the position until something better came along. I couldn't blame them but I certainly don't want to go through the hiring process every couple of months.