News Feature | October 2, 2017

Target Takes Aim At Competition With Commitment To Higher Base Wages

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Target Clinics Opening

Minimum wages were raised to $11 this year with pledge to reach $15 by 2020.

Target has announced that it is giving its workers a raise, and has bumped the minimum hourly wage for all employees to $11 this year. Further, the retailer has pledged that the minimum wage will reach $15 by the end of 2020, according to a company statement.  The move is designed to help attract and retain strong team members and provide an elevated guest experience in-store. It is also a necessary strategy in response to a nationwide unemployment rate that fell to 4.3 percent in May and July (lowest level in 16 years) with just a slight uptick in August. This shallow pool of job seekers means that retailers must do more to attract workers for the holiday shopping season.

The wage increase will be applied to thousands of team members prior to the holiday season, and will also apply to the more than 100,000 seasonal employees it hires. The current federal minimum wage is set at $7.25. Wages have been a contentious issue for retailers as they compete for quality workers.  In February 2015, Walmart said it would raise base wages for 500,000 workers to at least $9 an hour, with an increase to $10 an hour in 2016. That year, Walmart also gave raises to more than 1.2 million hourly workers, which pushed the average hourly full-time store employee up to $13.38 an hour. Target followed suit with its own wage increases in 2015 and 2016, promising a $10-an-hour base last year.

“Target has a long history of investing in our team members. We care about and value the more than 323,000 individuals who come together every day with an absolute commitment to serving our guest,” said Brian Cornell, CEO and chairman of Target. “Target has always offered market competitive wages to our team members. With this latest commitment, we’ll be providing even more meaningful pay, as well as the tools, training and support our team needs to build their skills, develop professionally and offer the service and expertise that set Target apart.”

Target sees this as an investment in its team, and the company currently pays market competitive rates above the federal minimum wage in its stores nationwide. In 2016, Target committed to a $10 minimum hourly wage.  Aside from hourly wages, Target also commits to its team members with flexible scheduling and other benefits, including a 10 percent merchandise discount at Target and and an additional 20 percent health and wellness discount on fresh produce, Simply Balanced products, and C9 merchandise.  Comprehensive health and wellness programs as well as financial resources are also available for all eligible team members.