What Is the Starting Hourly Wage at Costco?

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Costco, the multinational warehouse club, is well-known for its generous pay structure. With its recent wage increase, Costco has once again shown its commitment to its employees. But what is the starting hourly wage at Costco? How does it compare to other retailers? Let’s dive in and find out.


The starting hourly wage at Costco, as of October 2021, is $17 per hour for Service Assistants. Other roles such as Service Clerks and Meat Cutters have a starting wage of $18 and $18.50 per hour respectively. These rates are notably higher than the federal minimum wage and are competitive compared to other major retailers. However, the starting wage can vary based on the specific role and department within the company.

Costco’s Starting Hourly Wage – The Basics

As of October 25, 2021, the starting hourly wage at Costco is $17 per hour for Service Assistants, $18 per hour for Service Clerks, and $18.50 per hour for Meat Cutters. This was a significant increase from the previous minimum wage of $16 per hour and is notably higher than the federal minimum wage.

Comparing Costco’s Wage to Other Retailers

When compared to other major retailers, Costco’s starting wage is quite competitive. For instance, Amazon and Target offer a minimum wage of $15 per hour, while Walmart’s starting wage is even lower, at $12 per hour. This makes Costco’s starting wage one of the highest among retail companies, making it an attractive option for job seekers in the industry.

The Role and Department Factor

The starting hourly wage at Costco can vary based on the role or department. For example, the average hourly pay at Costco Wholesale ranges from approximately $14.00 per hour for Retail Sales Associate to $66.49 per hour for Pharmacist. Licensed Opticians and Cashiers have different average hourly rates, with the former earning $23.55 and the latter earning $15.80.

Additional Financial Benefits at Costco

In addition to the competitive hourly wage, Costco also provides additional financial benefits to its employees. Some of these include twice-yearly extra checks for long-tenured hourly employees, free Executive Membership for employees, time-and-a-half pay on Sundays, and an average of $4,000 in bonuses every year for employees with five years or more of service.

Wage Raises at Costco

Costco offers wage raises over time. Employees receive pay increases after working a certain number of hours. For full-time employees, it takes 1,040 hours to receive a raise, roughly equivalent to a raise every six months. These wage increases help Costco maintain competitive pay rates in the retail industry and contribute to the company’s low employee turnover rate.

National Average Comparison

The hourly wage at Costco is generally higher than the national average for similar roles. According to ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for a Costco employee in the U.S. is $20.52, while Payscale reports an average hourly rate of $18.28 for Costco Wholesale Company employees. In comparison, the national average hourly salary for similar roles is around $18.70.

How Costco Determines Starting Hourly Wage

Costco takes into account several factors when determining the starting hourly wage for a new employee. These factors include the company’s minimum wage, job title, and store location. The primary factor is the company’s minimum wage, which was raised to $17 per hour in October 2021. The specific job title and the location of the store may also influence the starting wage.

In conclusion, Costco’s starting hourly wage is competitive, and the company offers many additional benefits to its employees. This, along with the company’s commitment to regular wage increases, makes Costco an attractive option for those seeking employment in the retail industry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the non-financial benefits that Costco offers to its employees?

Costco offers a range of non-financial benefits to its employees, including health insurance, dental and vision plans, 401(k) retirement plans, paid time off, life insurance, and disability insurance. Additionally, Costco is known for its positive work environment and supportive management.

Is there a difference in the starting hourly wage between part-time and full-time employees at Costco?

No, there isn’t. The starting hourly wage at Costco is the same for both part-time and full-time employees. However, full-time employees may have access to more benefits and have more opportunities for wage increases.

Does Costco offer any form of employee discount?

While Costco does not offer a traditional employee discount, it does provide its employees with a free Executive Membership, which includes a 2% reward on eligible Costco and Costco Travel purchases.

How often are wage raises given at Costco?

At Costco, wage raises are given based on the number of hours worked. For full-time employees, it takes approximately 1,040 hours of work to receive a raise, which is roughly equivalent to a raise every six months.

Does Costco hire seasonal employees and if so, what is their starting hourly wage?

Yes, Costco does hire seasonal employees, particularly during busy shopping seasons like the holidays. The starting hourly wage for seasonal employees is the same as for regular employees, which is $17 per hour as of October 2021.

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