Does Costco Pay Well? Your Questions Answered

8 mins read

Did you know that most of the information available online regarding Costco’s average wages is actually inaccurate? This is because websites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Glassdoor aggregate their information from all of the data they can find online regardless of region or time frame. This results in data that reflects the average of what Costco workers have made over time, not what they earn on average right now.

If you Google “average hourly pay of a Costco employee,” you’ll probably be told that the average Costco worker makes about $12 per hour. Fortunately, this information is extremely outdated.

Costco Pay Well

In 2021, for example, The Mercury News reported that Costco had officially raised their minimum wage to $16 per hour across the board. Later that same year, Costco raised its minimum wage once again, this time to $17 per hour, as reported by CNN Business. These raises apply to all entry level positions across all Costco Warehouse locations in the US.

So, as of 2023, Costco’s entry level hourly wage is $17 per hour, which is highly competitive when compared to similar employers. Costco’s highest reported hourly wage across all positions is about $30 per hour.

(Note: although we weren’t able to confirm this through news reports or Costco press releases, many Costco employees have reported that Costco actually raised their starting wage yet again in 2022 to $17.50 per hour for all new entry-level hires.)

In most cases, Costco employees working in entry level positions such as service assistant or service clerk (cashier) cannot earn more than $28.45 per hour as of 2023. This is known as Costco’s “top-of-scale” wage for hourly earners. This also applies to Costco meat cutters and depot drivers.

Average Wage for Employee Positions

To help give you an idea of how Costco’s wages compare to their competitors, we’ve put together a table comparing the average pay of nine of the most popular jobs at Costco to the average pay for the same positions elsewhere in the US.

Keep in mind that these are average wages across all employees regardless of location or tenure. Starting wages will not be this high, and not all Costco Warehouse locations will be able to offer the same wages.

Position  National average pay Average pay at Costco
Cashier $13/hr $18/hr
Food service worker $13/hr $18/hr
Stocker $14/hr $18/hr
Membership assistant $13/hr – $17/hr $17/hr 
Bakery staff $15/hr $21/hr
Forklift operator $17/hr $18/hr – $31/hr
Meat cutter $17/hr – $19/hr $21/hr – $23/hr
Pharmacy technician $17/hr – $19/hr $18/hr – $30/hr
Store manager $50k/yr – $75k/yr $110k/yr
Warehouse supervisor $46k/yr – $70k/yr $40k/yr – $50k/yr

It’s worth noting that while warehouse supervisors make one of the highest entry-level salaries of any position at Costco (outside of positions at Costco’s corporate offices), Costco actually lags behind the national average when it comes to paying their warehouse supervisors. Of all the positions we looked at, this is the only case in which Costco actually pays less than the national average.

Starting Pay for New Employees

In most cases, all entry-level positions at Costco offer new hires $17 per hour, with the opportunity for intermittent raises which cap at about $28 per hour.

However, some positions offer more right out of the gate…

Some of the highest paying hourly positions at Costco are pharmacy technician, meat cutter, and forklift operator.

If you really want to make a lot of money working at Costco, you might want to look into some of their corporate positions, which include jobs like software development, marketing, engineering, etc. These salaried jobs tend to pay a lot more than the hourly positions available at Costco Warehouse.

Pay Rate By State

As a rule, Costco tends to pay fairly equal wages across the United States, regardless of where you work. They keep their minimum wage threshold high enough to satisfy (and even exceed) state and federal standards, so they don’t have to tailor their wages state by state.

However, there are some slight differences worth noting…

As of 2023, Costco’s highest paid hourly employees work at the Costco Warehouse next to the Costco corporate offices in Issaquah, Washington. However, these workers may only earn slightly more than Costco workers in other locations. Washington State in general is known for offering competitive wages to hourly service workers due to the high cost of living.

How Often Does Costco Give Raises?

Costco typically offers individual raises on a yearly basis.

They also offer twice-yearly bonuses to “long-tenured employees,” and they tend to raise their base pay between once and twice per year to keep up with competition and inflation.


What is the pay per hour of Costco’s CEO?

According to several financial sources online, Costco’s CEO W. Craig Jelinek makes about $1.2 million per year in salary compensation alone. However, Jelinek owns a substantial amount of Costco stock, so his total earnings through the company in 2022 exceeded $9 million. This is the industry average for CEOs in the US. CEOs do not get compensated by the hour.

What is the best hourly job at Costco?

The highest paid hourly positions at Costco include meat cutter, forklift operator, and pharmacy technician. However, warehouse supervisors and merchandising managers can both earn the equivalent of $30 per hour at Costco, although these are technically salaried positions.

Is it hard to get hired at Costco?

No. Getting hired for entry-level positions such as front-end assistant, cashier assistant, or food service assistant is fairly easy at Costco, as long as you present yourself well and maintain basic professionalism. However, the higher up the position is (and the higher the pay), the more competitive the process will be. Costco also tends to hire from within through promotions, so it’s always easy to start off at the ground floor and work your way up.

Does Costco pay weekly or biweekly?

Like most major employers, Costco pays its hourly workers on a bi-weekly basis (twice a month).

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