Costco is raising starting wages to $17 an hour

By Mary Meisenzahl

Costco just raised starting wages again, this time to $17, Costco confirmed to Insider in an email. The raise went into effect on October 25.

The big-box store last raised its minimum wage to $16 in February 2021, from $15 that it had been since 2019. Costco CEO W. Craig Jelinek called the last raise "good business," saying higher wages reduce turnover.

"We're certainly not perfect, but we try to take care of our employees, because they play such a significant role in our success," Jelinek said earlier this year. Costco has a reputation for being one of the best retail businesses to work for, ranking among companies with the happiest employees.  Workers receive paid vacation, and many are eligible for healthcare. The average tenure of a Costco employee was nine years as of February, and more than half of employees make over $25 an hour. 

As the retail industry is hit with a continuing labor shortage, higher wages have been one way businesses have kept workers on the job. Amazon and Target have both raised minimum wages to $15 in recent years after pressure from workers and the organization Fight for $15. Experts and analysts have called the labor shortage a misnomer, implying that there aren't enough workers instead of that there aren't enough good jobs, and many people are no longer willing to work for low pay in difficult and sometimes dangerous positions. 

Business owners across the industry say they're unable to find staff and in some cases even cite a lack of desire to work, while workers say they can demand better pay and benefits in the tight labor market. Retail and restaurant workers have left the industry en masse to get away from low pay and difficult customers, and a growing number of openings in the labor market is making it easier to transition to new careers.

Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.