Working the way we once did will never be the same thanks to COVID, and the result can be seen everywhere from fast-food restaurants to the shops at the mall. Companies are having trouble hiring people, and the labor shortage is big news everywhere –– which presents a major problem as the busy holiday season draws closer.
Some affected companies are taking an innovative approach to lure people back, offering everything from tuition assistance to free Teslas. While some of these tactics just might work, some other businesses are opting for what some blue-collar workers have needed for years: a higher hourly wage. Here are a few of the retailers offering the highest starting wages in the U.S.
While the general take on Amazon business practices has remained mixed over the years, the retailer is making some moves to improve work for its employees. Its most recent is the announcement of a starting wage of $18 an hour. Starting in 2022, it will also pay tuition and textbook costs in full for all hourly employees who have been with the company for 90 days.
After announcing its third wage increase in early September, Walmart’s starting wage will go up to $16.40 starting on Sept. 25. The company also pays tuition and textbook costs for its employees as a part of its Live Better U program. Walmart has also said it plans to invest $1 billion over the next five years in career-driven training and development. Perhaps most impressive of all, this benefit is available for both part and full-time employees.
Costco announced in February 2021 that it would raise its starting hourly wage to $16. And that’s just the beginning: CEO Craig Jelinek, who started his Costco career as a warehouse manager, also said during a Senate Budget Committee hearing that more than half of Costco’s U.S.-based employees earn more than $25 an hour. Add in Costco’s generous health insurance, 401K match, and free memberships for both the employee and friends and family, and it sounds like a pretty appealing place to work.
Target raised its starting hourly wage to $15 back in 2020, and in August 2021 it announced full tuition coverage at more than 40 schools for both part and full-time employees, a benefit made available on day one on the job. For those who want to attend a college not on that list, Target will contribute up to $5,250 towards undergraduate degrees and up to $10,000 towards master’s degrees. This is all part of the Target Forward sustainability strategy, which the company aims to invest $200 million in within the next four years.
In early August, CVS announced that it would raise its starting wage to $15 in July 2022, with incremental raises starting immediately. It also confirmed in the same announcement that 65% of its hourly workers already make more than $15. In addition, CVS has eliminated the requirement of a high school diploma or GED for entry-level roles and a GPA requirement for university recruitment, making it easier for more people to apply for jobs. CVS’ robust workforce initiatives make a point of hiring disabled individuals as well in an effort to close the disability employment gap.