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story.lead_photo.caption In this Oct. 5, 2007, file photo, an American flag flies in front of the Walmart Stores Inc. headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. (AP Photo/April L. Brown, File)

Walmart Inc.'s just-released Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Report covers the first half of fiscal 2021 with expanded data and new company initiatives to advance the careers of women and members of minority groups.

The report previously issued annually will now be released twice a year, Walmart said Thursday. The midyear report covers February through July.

Ben Hasan, the Bentonville-based retailer's chief culture, diversity and inclusion officer, said in a news release that the change is part of an effort "to become a more inclusive and transparent organization."

Walmart Chief People Officer Donna Morris said in an introduction to the report that it's "a result of one of the many commitments we've made this year to be more transparent about our progress to foster increased diversity across our business."

Hasan, detailing some of Walmart's diversity initiatives, said Walmart now offers racial equity training for all employees. All U.S.-based officers must attend a two-day Racial Equity Institute workshop this year, he said. "We've also introduced a self-paced race and inclusion curriculum that all U.S. associates can access to grow their understanding on cultural competence, inclusive leadership" and racial equity, he said.

Walmart pledges to increase career advancement opportunities for women and people of color by posting all open positions at or below the vice president level within the company before making them publicly available. It's also creating diverse hiring teams and candidate slates.

And in June, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation made a $100 million, five-year commitment to create the Center on Racial Equity. The center will support philanthropic initiatives focused on advancing economic opportunity and healthier living; strengthening workforce development and related educational systems; and supporting criminal justice change.

New in Walmart's report is the disclosure of representation by race and ethnicity at all levels among U.S. employees and the representation of women in both the U.S. and internationally. In all, Hasan said, the report contains more than 90 data points that the company is disclosing for the first time.

Of Walmart's 2.1 million workers globally, women represent 55.7% of the non-management workforce; 44.8% of management; and 30.8% of officers from vice presidents up to president.

Among its U.S. workforce of nearly 1.5 million, 54% are white and 45.7% are people of color, defined in the report as "an aggregate composite of U.S. associates including African American/Black; Asian; Latinx; Native American/Alaskan Native; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander; and individuals of two or more races."

However, 75% of its officers are white, while 6.9% are Black and 5.5% are Latinx. Among managers, 63.8% are white, 11.6% are Black and 10% are Latinx.

Walmart has promoted 41.7% of women from hourly positions to salaried management jobs and 46.2% of people of color. The company reported that 47.6% of its U.S. new hires were women and 55% were people of color.

Still, the report shows the retailer has room for progress in placing women, especially women of color, in higher positions on the corporate ladder.

Of Walmart's U.S. hourly workers, including temporary employees, nearly 56% are women and 26% are women of color. Both percentages drop among managers and company officers.

Women hold nearly 46% of management jobs, but only 17% of managers are women of color. And among officers, 30.6% are female and just 7.3% are women of color.

Rival retailer Target Corp. also released its Workforce Diversity Report on Thursday. The Minneapolis-based company pledges to increase the number of Black employees by 20% over the next three years, it said in a news release.

Based on 2019 data, the report shows that half of Target's workforce of nearly 350,000 comprises people of color and 58% are women. Among its leadership team, 42% are women and 24% people of color. Also, a third of board of directors are women and nearly half are Black or Hispanic.

Target has had "an ambitious diversity and inclusion strategy for many years," the company's Chief Human Resources Officer Melissa Kremer said. "The next step in this journey is being even more transparent with our progress by sharing a deeper look into the racial and gender diversity of our team, listening to our team's feedback along the way and using this information to drive a number of new commitments for our team."

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