Getting a job in Wal-Mart is twice more difficult than being admitted at Harvard

wal mart food drive

The eight Ivy League schools had an acceptance rate of 8.29 percent in the current academic year. The least exclusive university is Cornell, in upstate New York, with a 14 percent admission rate (one percentage point lower than last year, though). The most exclusive is Harvard, with 5.9 percent. In between are Brown, Yale, Darmouth, Princeton, Pennsylvania, and Columbia.

However, the first store opened by Wal-Mart in the District of Columbia, on December 4, had more than 23,000 applications for 600 openings. That means just 2.6 percent of the candidates got a job. In other words—it is more than two times more difficult to get a job at Wal-Mart than to be admitted to Harvard.

For the sake of the non-American reader, it must be noted that Wal-Mart is, literally, a chain store by the poor, for the poor. Its employees—graciously called ‘associates’ by the firm—are usually destitute, to the extent that, during the Thanksgiving of 2014, one of its centers, in Ohio, hold a food drive for its own employees. The store did not hide its intentions, and the label “Please donate food items here so Associates in Need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner” made things very clear.

In America’s culture, Wal-Mart is associated with tackiness, and lack of taste and education. The website People of Walmart, made of pictures taken in its centers, is the best example of that (that has not avoided Wal-Mart becoming the largest retailer in the world, and its main shareholders, the Walton family, to amass a combined fortune of 109 billion euro that makes them the richest family in the world excluded royalty.)

So, how is it that getting in Harvard is way easier than in Wal-Mart? Because Wal-Mart only takes unskilled workers with low educational levels, who have been frequently unemployed for a long period of time, and are ready to accept the minimum wage. And, in the current economy, there are plenty of people in that situation. It also reveals that, today, getting an education can be way easier than getting a job.

Wal-Mart case is extreme, but not and outlier. Another supermarket chain, Wegman’s, had a 5 percent acceptance rate when it opened a store in Philadelphia, a slightly lower number than Harvard (it must be noted that, at least, salaries and other benefits at Wegman’s are much higher than at Wal-Mart). Meanwhile, in Google, one of the most admired companies in the world, the admission arte is of a mere 0.5 percent. At least it beats Harvard, although, oddly enough, that university is not a big source of employees for the search giant.


About the Author

Pablo Pardo
Pablo Pardo is Washington DC correspondent of El Mundo. Journalist especialized in International Economics and Politics.

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