In uncertain economic times — take the coronavirus pandemic, for instance — dollar stores expectedly tend to do well. However, those benefits might not extend to their workforce; in fact, a new study shows that their employees are some of the lowest paid in the retail industry.
According to investment banking firm UBS, which analyzed the employee-reported salaries of 25 major nationwide retailers in the United States, Dollar General pays its workers the least at $9.68 an hour on average. The report found that other discount chains pay around the same, with Dollar Tree and Dollar King following closely at a respective $10 and $10.11 per hour on average.
For comparison, big-box players Walmart and Target compensate their employees at a higher rate of $13.08 and $13.21 every hour, respectively. Membership-only warehouse club Costco, on the other hand, pays workers an hourly rate of $17.60. (All figures are based on the calculated averages of reported salaries.)
The report comes five months after Dollar General revealed plans to devote an additional $25 million to retail, distribution and fleet employee bonuses. (It brings the company’s total investment in “employee appreciation bonuses” to roughly $60 million.) As the COVID-19 health crisis took hold in the U.S., the chain — with more than 16,300 stores across 45 states — made plans to hire 50,000 workers by the end of April to keep up with “heightened demand for household essentials.”
What’s more, Dollar General made a $250,000 donation to its Dollar General Employee Assistance Foundation, which offers financial aid to workers experiencing hardships amid the outbreak. Today, the United States federal minimum wage stands at $7.25 per hour — the same rate it’s been when it got its last boost in 2009. Over the past few years, retailers like Walmart and Target as well as e-commerce behemoth Amazon joined the list of companies that have raised their starting hourly wages for employees in order to attract and retain talent — and perhaps even motivate their existing workforce.