Walmart Announces New Tech Hubs in Toronto and Atlanta

Walmart Inc.’s

technology organization, Walmart Global Tech, aims to hire 5,000 technology associates globally during this fiscal year and open new hubs in Toronto and Atlanta as part of its expansion plans, the retailer said.

Chief Technology Officer and Chief Development Officer

Suresh Kumar

said he is looking to fill tech roles in cybersecurity, architecture, development, software engineering, data science, data engineering, technical program management, and product management.

He said the new hires would work on technology across Walmart’s business, including customer experience, associate experience and back end systems like supply chain.

“We are pretty much all in on tech innovation,” Mr. Kumar said, noting the Walmart Global Tech team grew 26% last year and now has more than 20,000 employees.

Opportunities to hone skills on cutting-edge technology makes Walmart attractive to job seekers, he added.

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For example, Walmart recently used augmented reality to allow associates to track and map boxes around backrooms and locate products more easily, Mr. Kumar said.

The company also developed an artificial intelligence-powered shopping tool to help customers determine the best substitutes for grocery items that are out of stock, he said.

Additionally, Walmart has been building more automated fulfillment centers attached to existing stores and experimenting with autonomous trucks as part of an effort to efficiently move online inventory as the pandemic-related e-commerce surge shows signs of cooling, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Before the addition of the two new hubs, Walmart Global Tech already had 14 hubs in places that included Silicon Valley, Northwest Arkansas, Dallas and Bangalore, India.

By expanding into new locations, such as Toronto and Atlanta, Walmart will be able to meet talent, and specifically diverse talent, where it is, Mr. Kumar said. He said Toronto and Atlanta were specifically chosen because of their growing tech scenes.

Mr. Kumar said he plans to make the new Toronto location one of Walmart Global Tech’s major hubs. Toronto hosts a deep pool of skilled tech labor and is a leader in artificial intelligence research.

A tight labor market and the pandemic have spurred tech hiring to move away from coastal metro areas like San Francisco and Seattle, said

Mark Muro,

senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit research organization.

A recent report from the Brookings Institution written in part by Mr. Muro, shows tech hiring has slowed in large coastal cities and increased in midsize markets like Atlanta, Dallas, Denver and Miami.

Over the next few years, “Tech’s going to have to go to the talent rather than expecting the talent to come to it,” he said. “They can’t just expect talented diverse workers to show up in Seattle or Boston.”

Write to Isabelle Bousquette at [email protected]

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