How much the typical worker makes at 19 retailers, from Amazon to Walmart


Retail workers' hourly wages have increased substantially in the last several years as major employers like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe's, and more have plowed billions of dollars into pay increases in a bid to get people to join — and stay.

Ever since Amazon set its minimum wage at $15 in 2018, more retailers have followed suit by offering starting wages that are more than double the national minimum of $7.25. The Federal minimum was last set in 2009.

But hourly wages are just one part of the pay equation. An employee's earnings also depend greatly on how many hours they work. That can vary considerably, especially in seasonal segments.

So, to get a picture of what the typical worker makes in a year at various retail brands, Business Insider used AlphaSense to find the data in the most recent proxy filings that publicly traded companies must file with the US Securities Exchange Commission.

Rules following the financial crisis of 2008 require public companies to calculate their median worker's annual salary to compare it to the CEO's compensation.

"Median" refers to the middle-most value in an ordered list. In terms of compensation, that means about half of a company's workers earn more and half earn less than its "median employee."

Scroll through below to see where 19 of the largest companies rank, from lowest to highest annual pay.

19. Gap: $7,573

composite image of Gap sweatshirts in two Gap stores
Gap employed 84,815 people last year. Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins/Business Insider

The 2023 calculation is up from $7,348 in 2021, and the company says its typical median employee would be a part-time sales associate in Canada who did not work the full year.

18. Ulta: $13,193

Ulta has 58,834 employees. Ann Matica/Insider

Ulta identifies its median employee by ranking all 52,929 associates from high to low by total cash compensation and selecting the middlemost one. Its 2018 median was $27,235, but was calculated at that time including the value of employer-paid healthcare benefits.

17. Starbucks: $14,209

A Starbucks barista handing off a reusable cup drink
Starbucks has more than 390,000 employees around the world. Starbucks

Starbucks says its median figure is calculated from its global workforce of baristas, which causes it to be lower than it might be for only its US employees. Still, the company considers its median employee a part-time barista in the United States.

16. TJX: $14,857

tj maxx in manhattan
TJX employs roughly 349,000 people worldwide. Gabbi Shaw/Business Insider

TJX Companies — which include TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and others — increased its median pay in 2023 by 32% from 2018's level of $11,243.

15. McDonald's: $15,802

The McDonald's corporation employs about 150,000 people across its offices and company-owned restaurants. Reuters

The burger giant's median is more than double the 2018 level of $7,017, and it says the 2023 median worker is a restaurant crew employee located in Poland. About 95% of McDonald's restaurants are operated by franchisees whose workers aren't included in this report.

13. Chipotle: $16,595

Chipotle worker at assembly line
Chipotle has 115,000 people working around the world. Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Chipotle's median worker is an hourly part-time employee who works roughly 24 hours per week at one of its restaurants in Florida.

13. Foot Locker: $20,168

Foot Locker
Foot Locker calls its 45,000 employees "Stripers." Bethany Biron/Business Insider

The shoe retailer's pay is up from 2018's median of $8,554, and the company says its median worker in 2023 averaged 27 hours per week in a store in Madrid, Spain.

12. Advance Auto Parts: $23,923

Advance Auto Parts workers
Advance Auto Parts employs approximately 69,000 workers. Mark Stehle/AP

Advance Auto Parts includes all team members in their analysis of the median employee, including part-time, full-time, and seasonal team members. The 2023 level is up from $18,460 in 2018.

11. Target: $26,696

A Target store employee
Target employs 415,000 workers across the US. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Target annualizes the pay of all full- and part-time employees, but takes only the actual earnings of seasonal and temporary workers to find the median for the whole workforce. The company says its median team member is employed part-time.

10. Walmart: $27,642

Candais Pipkin, produce department manager, wheels a cart of pineapples across a Walmart store.
Walmart has 2.1 million employees worldwide, with 1.6 million in the US. Houston Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Walmart is the largest private employer in the world with 2.1 million workers around the world, of which 1.6 million are based in the US. The company uses statistical sampling to identify a group of associates paid within a range of .5% of the company's median earnings amount, and then chooses the median compensated associate from that group. Its 2023 median was up more than 40% from $19,177 in 2018.

9. Kroger: $28,644*

Kroger's grocery brands employ nearly 414,000 workers. Rogelio V. Solis/AP Images

Kroger owns 19 grocery brands; its median employee is a part-time associate in the US Southeast.

*2022 figure as 2023 Proxy Statement not yet filed.

8. Albertsons: $31,781*

Albertsons' grocery brands employ nearly 285,000 workers. Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

Albertsons owns 15 grocery store companies and says its median worker is a full-time hourly employee.

*2022 figure as 2023 Proxy Statement not yet filed.

7. Lowe's: $32,626

Lowe's employs 285,000 workers. Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Lowe's includes full-time and part-time employees to determine the median employee and considers actual base salary, bonus or commission paid, and any overtime. Its 2023 rate is up roughly 36% from the 2018 level of $23,905.

6. Best Buy: $32,656

A sales associate processes the purchase of a hard drive at a Best Buy store after doors opened at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Lone Tree, Colo.
Best Buy has more than 85,000 employees. David Zalubowski/AP

Best Buy employs roughly 95,000 workers, mostly in the US and Canada. The median employee was identified by annualizing the earnings of all part- and full-time workers except for the CEO.

5. Macy's: $34,438

Macy's employee over 85,500 employees. Noam Galai/Getty Images

More than half of Macy's workforce consists of part-time or seasonal employees, and the company estimates its median based on all employees other than the CEO. The 2023 median is more than double 2018's median of $13,810.

4. Home Depot: $35,131

home depot
Home Depot has approximately 465,000 employees. Joe Raedle/Getty

Home Depot bases its data on its total workforce and says the median-paid associate was an hourly employee in the US. The 2023 median is up 66% from $21,095 in 2018.

3. Nordstrom: $35,636

Nordstrom department store entrance
Nordstrom employs about 54,000 workers. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nordstrom includes full-time, part-time seasonal, and temporary employees to identify the median employee and says roughly half of its workforce is part-time or seasonal. The 2023 median is up 18% from $30,105 in 2018.

2. Amazon: $36,274

Amazon driver
Amazon has 1.5 million employees worldwide. Sandy Huffaker/Reuters

When calculating its median compensation, Amazon considers all full-time, part-time, and temporary employees worldwide, excluding CEO Andy Jassy. When considering only US full-time employees, the median annual compensation was $45,613.

1. Costco: $50,202

Costco shoppers at membership counter
Costco has 316,000 worldwide employees, with 206,000 in the US. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Costco's calculations include full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees, and use a combination of salary, bonus, equity compensation, and other measurable benefits paid during the year.

The economy is settling into its new shape after a long roller coaster ride — and it's not all good news if you're looking to land a big paycheck.

Jobs are still being added at a healthy clip and unemployment is still near a sustained historic low, according to the latest jobs report. It's exactly what the Federal Reserve might be looking for, and signals continued good news for an economy that's been bolstered by a booming labor market.

"The growth in wages has outpaced inflation, which translates into more money in the pockets of working families. That is not an accident," Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su told Business Insider.

But there's a dissonance in the job market; if you're a college-educated, white-collar worker, you might know that all too well. That's because the industries that led job growth in April are traditionally low-paying.

It's yet another sign that higher-paying jobs are becoming more scarce, and it comes as more Americans find themselves employed, but not necessarily stable. It might also be falling more on the shoulders of women, who are seeing historic employment figures.

For instance, the private education and health services sector led the pack in job growth last month — and while that might sound high-paying on its face, the data under the hood tells a different story. The bulk of job growth in the sector is happening in fields like healthcare and social assistance, which includes the traditionally low-paid workers in nursing and residential care facilities, and home healthcare workers.

"Healthcare is not just doing well," Julia Pollak, the chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told Business Insider. "Healthcare is dominating everything. It's added 56,000 jobs in this report, but it has added over 750,000 jobs over the past year."

Indeed, job growth is concentrated in industries that are historically low-paying — and continue to pay less than the average across private industries. Those industries, and the subsets within them that are seeing big growth, also happen to be female-dominated, as Kate Bahn, the chief economist and SVP of research at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, told BI.

"Where there's been job growth has not been sectors where there has been high wage growth," Bahn said, adding: "That's interesting that there's high labor demand in those industries — clearly — but it has not translated into high wage growth."

The three sectors that saw net job growth of at least 20,000 last month all have average wages below those for all private employees:

That points to a continued dynamic in the labor market: White-collar workers are seeing an employment slump, as Business Insider's Aki Ito chronicled. The hiring rate for those making over $96,000 is at just 0.5% — its lowest level since 2014.

It's all a bit of a mixed bag. As Pollak notes, "wage growth has come down sharply, but it's mostly come down in industries where it was very rapid before."

Wages in the lowest-paying sectors have grown faster than those in higher-paying industries over the last few years, as demand for hourly workers skyrocketed and employers turned toward raising pay and benefits to try to plug shortages in a tight labor market.

"I think low-paid jobs have gotten a little bit better compared to how really awful they used to be," Bahn said.

But as Bahn notes, "there's a lot of evidence that women are really constrained and limited in their labor mobility when they are in these career paths of women-dominated jobs like healthcare and education."

And the rise of these jobs might also be further contributing to another growing group undergirding some of the holes in the economy. A growing share of workers in the US are what's known as "ALICE": Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. That means that they're holding down jobs, and making enough money to be ineligible for many social services — but still aren't getting by.

The workers below that ALICE threshold are doing even worse. They're concentrated in industries like retail trade, healthcare and social assistance, and accommodation and food services — all of the jobs currently booming.

But even if wage growth isn't as high as it was before, Nick Bunker — the economic research director for North America for Indeed Hiring Lab — pointed out to Business Insider that "wages continue to outpace inflation," which could be good for job seekers.

"I think that's a sign that, hey, you're going to get more bang for every wage gain than you have in the past," Bunker said.

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