Normally when we mention retail competition, we are referring to the pursuit of customers. But retailers also have to compete on another field: in the pursuit of great employees. When unemployment rates go down (as they are currently), that competition becomes even fiercer. It is especially challenging in the months heading in to the holiday season, when retailers must add thousands of temporary workers to their employment rolls, in both stores and distribution centers, to meet customer demand. Thus Target recently announced that it would be increasing the minimum wages that it pays the people who work in its stores immediately, to $11 per hour. Then in coming years, it will increase the rate even further, ultimately planning to reach $15 per hour within three years. These rates reflect broader changes at the state level, where some states have passed legislation requiring similar minimum wages (though the federal minimum remains $7.25). It also signals a response to Walmart, which announced its own $10 minimum about a year ago. Currently, the average hourly wage earned by all retail workers in the United States is $15.35—approximately 10 percent higher than five years ago. But if good workers continue to have various opportunities to get hired, those rates might just continue to climb as retailers seek new ways to differentiate themselves as the best, or at least the most lucrative, places to work.
Source: Khadeeja Safdar, The Wall Street Journal, September 25, 2017