Highest Paying Hourly Retail Jobs

By: Jill Caren / Updated:

Across the United States the fight to earn a living wage is heating up.

With the federal minimum wage stagnant at $7.25 an hour since 2009, more states have taken matters into their own hands. They are introducing laws that require businesses to raise minimum wages – sometimes dramatically.

This upward pressure on wages, combined with a tight labor market, has led some major retail chains to increase their pay and benefits packages to attract and retain talent.

In 2022, hourly wages jumped across 26 states due to scheduled minimum wage increases, cost-of-living adjustments, and other factors.

State Minimum Wages

As you can see below, the range of minimum wage requirements by state varies greatly.

This data is accurate as of August 2023.

Some states have different requirements based on business size, we have noted the higher minimum wage here. These larger hourly wages are usually for businesses over a certain size.

StateMinimum Wage
New Hampshire$7.25
New Jersey$14.13
New Mexico$12.00
New York$15.00
North Carolina$7.25
North Dakota$7.25
Rhode Island$13.00
South Carolina$7.25
South Dakota$10.80
West Virginia$8.75

Thankfully, some retailers have gotten ahead of the minimum-wage curve by offering higher pay than what is required. Some retailers boast starting wages from $15 to $17 per hour for workers with little or no experience.

These wages are often combined with benefits, bonuses, and advancement opportunities to stand out in a crowded hiring market. For job seekers looking to maximize their income, these retailers offer some of the highest-paying opportunities in the industry.

With living costs rising nationwide, the push for fair compensation will likely intensify.

Savvy retailers who invest in their workforces can reap rewards like lower turnover, better recruitment, and higher productivity. This demonstrates that raising wages and providing quality jobs isn’t just good for workers – it’s good for business.

retail store shelves

Retail Pay Variables

While most retailers offer a minimum wage of some sort, they may vary based on a number of factors.

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Hours (day shift / night shift)

So if you start at $16 per hour, and the next worker starts at $17 per hour, they may be working a different shift – or have more experience.

Location is one of the biggest factors. States like California and New York often pay much more than Oklahoma or West Virginia.

Types of Retail Jobs

There are many jobs that fall under retail which can include:

  • Cashier
  • Stocker
  • Warehouse
  • Customer service
  • Inventory associate
  • Maintenance
  • Security guard
  • Merchandiser

These jobs may all start at different pay scales. For example, a cashier will often make less than a warehouse worker.

Related: Are retail jobs blue collar?

This is important to understand when looking at the information below. While a starting rate may show as $16 per hour, there may be opportunity to earn more with different positions.

Highest Paying National Retailers

The retailers below offer some of the highest hourly wages in the industry and exceed the minimum wage.

These wages are for common retail jobs like cashier, sales, or customer service. The hourly rates for each job may have various ranges. For example it is common to see warehouse workers get paid more than a cashier or customer service associate.

Keep in mind some local retailers might pay more, but we opted to keep this list to national retailers to best help our readers.

All information is current as of August 2023 and has been verified with various online resources. They are listed in order from highest to lowest wages.

The retailers below offer some of the highest hourly wages in the industry and exceed the minimum wage.

These wages are for common retail jobs like cashier, sales, or customer service. The hourly rates for each job may have various ranges. For example it is common to see warehouse workers get paid more than a cashier or customer service associate.

Keep in mind some local retailers might pay more, but we opted to keep this list to national retailers to best help our readers.

All information is current as of August 2023 and has been verified with various online resources.

Hobby Lobby

Minimum hourly rate full-time: $18.50
Minimum hourly rate part-time: $13.00 – $14.00

Hobby Lobby comes in as the leader with a starting wage of $18.50 for all full-time workers. Benefits are also provided and include health, vacation, 401(k), and more.

Part-time workers typically receive a rate of $13-$14 per hour. They do not receive any kind of benefits.

What employees say.

Many employees have noted they do not often hire full-time retail staff. This could be a way to only have to pay that part-time rate. There are not many employees who are working full-time there. Those who do work full-time, have stated that the insurance does not offer the best coverage. Source: Reddit

It is also important to note they are a very religious organization, so you need to look at that as well before you decide to join.


Minimum hourly rate: $17.00

The most recent minimum wage for Costco is $17 per hour making it one of the highest. They do offer higher starting wages for certain positions as well.

They also offer time-and-a-half pay on Sundays which is a very rare thing in retail.

Costco has an amazing reputation for taking care of its workers. It is one of the few retailers that are not showing issues with finding workers. This warehouse retail chain offers a variety of jobs that can ultimately turn into a long term career.

What employees say.

Costco employees are typically pretty happy overall. Many do note that you might start out with less hours than you might want. But, these hours can grow pretty quickly if you work hard.

“I’ve been with the company since 2015 and with this most recent handbook I’m making nearly $28/hour with great benefits without a degree. Time and a half every Sunday. I have 3 weeks paid vacation a year, with a week I could roll over. Where else can you potentially have a month of vacation in a retail job without a degree? Not to mention in the fall I’ll begin getting my bonus – $2,500 twice a year (I think, it might be $2,000, could be wrong).” Source: Reddit


Minimum hourly rate: $14.00 – $19.00

While $14 does not seem like a good hourly rate, Walmart recently noted that the average hourly wage would be closer to $17.50 or more. In 2023, the president and CEO stated they wanted to invest more in their people.

The lower end of that starting range is for employees who do tasks like stocking shelves or helping customers. There are also some great resources and financial planners who can help you maximize your Walmart benefits.

What employees say.

Contrary to what many think, employees of Walmart do not usually hate their jobs. Many note the usual – dealing with customers is tough – but the overall sentiment is fair. Even with the increase in pay, many still find the wages to be too low.

“I think it’s a breezy gig. But I’m in my 40s and I don’t care about the “office politics” etc. I get in, I do my job and then I go home. Sure, occasionally there are some days where co-workers or TL’s push my buttons, but that’s on them. I’m not gonna let them ruin my day. Period.” Source: Reddit

You may also like: Fastest Growing No Degree Jobs (That A.I. Can’t Replace Yet!)


Minimum hourly rate: $15.00

Retail workers in the store start at $15 per hour, but working in the warehouse can get you $19 or more. They also offer health care benefits to employees that work more than 25 hours per week.

What employees say.

Many employees have noted a large workload due to a decrease in staff. But most of the sentiment around the web is mostly positive about working for them.

“Every store is different. Some have leaders that truly care about their team members and others that don’t. Hours are regulated by corporate so I don’t blame the leaders for the lack of hours. The lack of hours is what results in workloads being bigger on individual team members. I have many gripes about Target but that can be said about any other work place.” Source: Reddit

Best Buy

Minimum hourly rate: $15.00

Best Buy is a great place for you tech-lovers who enjoy talking with customers about all things electronics. There are many types of jobs you can work, and they may all have different hourly rates.

You can work at the Geek Squad, in the warehouse, or just be strictly retail and help customers. Pay ranges are listed on the website at $15-$19 per hour for an entry level retail sales associate.

What employees say.

The general view of Best Buy is not good – or bad. Some employees say it is not so horrible, some say stay away. But Glassdoor does show a 3.7 rating from over 36,000 employee reviews – so it is not horrible.

“In my experience the retail culture at BBY is usually pretty supportive and fun. There are some bad eggs, but overall it’s definitely better than Walmart. It’s corporate and corporate policies that trickle down is what makes things frustrating and stressful. The only thing I’d be concerned about right now is hours. Unless you’re able to land a full time job, part-timers have been getting pretty screwed over as of late.” Source: Reddit


Minimum hourly rate: $16.00

Ikea is best known for their affordable and modular furniture. General sales and customer associates can start at $16.00 per hour. Some employees noted they started a bit higher. There are a lot of unique opportunities at Ikea like working as a flow planner or interior designer as well.

What employees say.

A few people noted that the hiring process can be pretty long, but over 12,000 employees have given an average rating of 3.7 for working there. So, generally speaking it can be a solid choice for a job.

“The pay and benefits are better than most retailers, and in my experience the CS managers and coworkers are great. I don’t dislike my job but, with the pay specifically, a lot of people in my department don’t feel like there’s any reward for working hard.” Source: Reddit


Minimum hourly rate: $22.00

A leader in the computing world, Apple, decided to take a different approach in the tight labor market. They decided to raise their starting wage for retail workers to $22 per hour. Stores in some areas will even see higher rates.

What employees say.

Overall, employees seem to be happy with the working environment. Glassdoor shows over 39,000 votes with a 4.2 rating. But there are complaints about lack of ability to get promoted and that the upper-management is out of touch in recent years.

“Apple is far from the company it once was. The culture has been destroyed from within and it’s now all about boosting profits enriching the stockholders, with no regard for the customer. Source: I work there.” Source: Reddit

Trader Joe’s

Minimum hourly rate: $16.00

Trader Joe’s offers some great opportunities for their employees. A 20% store discount, 401(k), a possible 7% annual raise, and job growth are just some of the perks.

What employees say.

A few employees stated that they feel like the customers look down on them which is a point of frustration. But overall employees seem to enjoy working for the company as proven with a 4-star rating from over 8,000 votes on Glassdoor.

“You can definitely tell that a lot of customers look down on us because of our jobs, and it really stinks. I know that once I go into my field they’ll treat me better. But when it comes to dating- you need to find someone who sees who you are and what your aspirations are! And what you’re doing to achieve them. You can work at TJ’s and also have hobbies, passions, studies, and other things that separate you from “just a grocery store worker”. Good luck!” Source: Reddit


Minimum hourly rate: $15.00

While not traditional retail. Amazon is still one of the biggest players in the retail industry. Their minimum hourly wage is $15.00 but many workers in the warehouse like stow associates or picker packers and transportation workers can earn $19 or more per hour.

What employees say.

With a Glassdoor rating of 3.7 from over 177,900 reviews, Amazon seems like an OK place to work. A lot employees do note that they work you hard and are not entirely employee motivated, but most are content. Peak gift seasons can be stressful and the lack of mental stimulation is a bit frustrating for some.

“If you’re a person who needs to be stimulated, or at the very least wants to use their brain at work, you will go insane. Can you do a repetitive motion for ten hours straight with nothing but your thoughts and the occasional useless alarm?” Source: Reddit

Ok, so now you have it. A list of some of the best paying retail jobs out there. With this information you can know go out there and get that job hunt started.

Maximizing Retail Earnings

While we are seeing some great growth in earning in the retail sector, it is still important for workers to take caution with their benefits and wages.

David Berns, a financial planner with Truadvice Wealth Management, offers the following advice for retail employees.

“Being a former retail employee myself, I can relate to the challenges that are presented when you are making minimum wages. One of the best places to start helping you budget your finances is to utilize the tools that your employer may provide. One of the first places to check is what employee benefits you are eligible for, such as health insurance and company discounts. These perks can save you money on cell phone bills, cable, insurance, and travel. If your current employer does not offer budgeting tools, there are many other online tools that can help you manage your expenses. By setting up a monthly spreadsheet, you can know how much of your money is being allocated towards bills vs other expenses. This is a great way to stay on track to save money and pay off debts.”

Taking this advice can help you save more money and prepare for your future!

Blue Collar Brain work hard to create content that is accurate and up-to-date. All information in this article was updated in August 2023, but is subject to change.

Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Jill Caren
Jill Caren
View all posts by Jill Caren

Jill Caren is a self-taught web developer and SEO strategist with a passion for helping kids figure out a career plan. As a "lost" teen who found her way later in life, she hopes to help other teens know the many options that are out there for them! Jill can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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