By Weston Blasi
Are you interested in a signing bonus the size of some people’s annual salary? If you are a pharmacist, this could be your opportunity.
Walgreens /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA +2.96% is offering newly hired pharmacists at some of its locations a $75,000 signing bonus just for agreeing to take the job in an effort to offset staffing shortages.
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Pharmacist jobs paid a median salary of $128,570 in 2021, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , and that number is quite similar to the average salary for a Walgreens pharmacist, which, according to Glassdoor data, sits just north of $133,000 .
Walgreens is hoping the signing bonus will entice prospective employees to apply for these jobs, which it has had a hard time filling.
“This is one of many steps to address pharmacy staffing in some areas,” a Walgreens spokesman is quoted as saying to Wall Street Journal .
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Walgreens typically offers signing bonuses near $30,000 or as high as $50,000, according to the Journal, and those bonuses are usually paid out once a new employee has remained on the job for a certain period, generally a year or longer.
Companies oftentimes offer signing bonuses for positions that they are struggling to fill and in seller’s markets in the employment sphere. During a labor shortage at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies, including Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +4.50% , Chipotle /zigman2/quotes/200781108/composite CMG +2.09% and McDonald’s /zigman2/quotes/203508018/composite MCD +1.34% , offered lucrative signing bonuses to new employees.
Walgreens did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment for this story.
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The news comes as the latest jobs report indicated that the labor market is still quite strong in the U.S. despite inflation and rising interest rates and fear of a looming recession — the U.S. added 528,000 jobs in July and unemployment fell to prepandemic levels.
The signing-bonus news for Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203410933/composite WBA +2.96% comes as the company recently upped its dividend payout and abandoned a plan to divest U.K.-based health and beauty retailer Boots and No7 Beauty Co.
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Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. are down 23% to date in 2022, comparing unfavorably with the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +3.06% , which has slipped by about half that much this year.