The movement toward a higher minimum wage is on the rise — and some of the country’s biggest retailers are coming out on top with the highest paid retail jobs.
At the start of the year, annual cost-of-living adjustments and other scheduled gains led wages to jump by pennies to a dollar for workers across 20 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington.
Later in the year, another four states — Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon and Virginia — plus Washington, D.C., will see an increase in their baseline pay.
Some retailers have hiked pay and benefits in an attempt to attract and retain workers — perhaps as well as incentivize them to return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Others, however, raised wages as part of previously announced plans.
As of Jan. 1, 2022, the crafts chain store will up its pay to $18.50 an hour for full-time workers.
The online giant’s minimum wage for all U.S.-based employees currently stands at $18 per hour — more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.
The membership-only warehouse chain’s minimum wage has increased to $16 this fall. During a Senate panel hearing, CEO Craig Jelinek shared that more than half of U.S. employees are “paid at the top of our scales, in excess of $25 an hour.”
The pharmacy giant has announced its plan to achieve $15 hourly minimum wages for all employees by July 2022, with hourly increases beginning late last month.
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 of the group but still above the national minimum at $9.68 an hour on average.
Dollar General isn’t the only discount chain that pays better than minimum wage: UBS reported that Dollar Tree’s starting pay is $10 per hour on average.
Macy’s said on Nov. 9 that it would raise its minimum pay to $15 per hour and launch a tuition benefit program for all U.S.-based salaried and hourly employees. Macy’s is also offering corporate and hourly employees an additional paid holiday. Once Macy’s completes its goal of achieving a $15 minimum wage nationally by May 2022, average base pay will be more than $17 an hour, the company said.
The German athletic giant announced on Nov. 22 that it will raise its minimum pay for Puma North America and Puma Canada retail employees to $15 per hour, effective Nov. 29.
“Our dedicated retail employees are a vital link between our customers and the Puma brand. Raising our wages is the right thing to do, and I’m hopeful this positive change will ensure all of our employees feel supported and valued, while pushing our entire industry forward toward this important benchmark,” Puma North America president and CEO Bob Philion said in a statement. “I’m grateful for our retail team’s unwavering commitment, especially as we have navigated ongoing uncertainties throughout the pandemic. It’s not been without its challenges, but I’m so proud of all we’ve accomplished and the growth we continue to see, rooted in the friendly faces of our in-store teams.”
Saks Off Fifth
The discount arm of Saks Fifth Avenue announced on Oct. 14 that it would raise minimum wages for all hourly store associates in North America to $15 per hour. Saks Off Fifth also said it would give associates a $500 appreciation bonus.
Starting last month, the Arkansas-based retailer raised its starting hourly salary from $11 to $15.
In July, the Minneapolis-based company made good on a target (no pun intended) to raise its starting pay from $13 to $15 by year’s end.
In June 2021, Under Armour raised its minimum wage to $15 as a way of luring people back to work amid a labor shortage.
The Chicago-based pharmacy announced plans to raise its minimum hourly pay to $15 last month. Gradual raises have already begun, with the goal to be put in effect for all of Walgreens’ 9,000 stores by November 2022.
The home goods retailer has raised wages as of this January for all U.S. employees, who will make at least $15 per hour.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based business improved wages for about 165,000 hourly workers — or roughly 11% of its U.S. workforce — in October as part of the rollout of a new operating model in its Supercenter stores. Its minimum wage remains at $11. Depending on location and market, some associates average around $16.40.