Does Costco Really Pay $21 an Hour?

Costco offers a generous compensation package and benefits like health insurance, free membership, and 401(k) retirement plans. If you’re thinking about applying for a job at Costco, you may be curious about how much employees make. This post will offer insights on how much Costco associates earn, their benefits, and more.

Costco pay per hour

How Much Do Costco Associates Make?

According to Payscale – a third-party aggregator of self-reported employee wages, Costco pays its employees an average of $18.05 an hour. Salaries range from a low of $12.77 to a high of $28.44 per hour. A Costco licensed optician is among the highest-paid persons with an estimated hourly rate of $24.62. Costco’s cashiers are among the least paid at $14.00 per hour, according to Glassdoor. 

Does Costco Really Pay $21 an Hour?

Costco pays above-average wages compared to other retailers and warehouse clubs, but it’s not as high as $21 per hour as of May 2022. In February 2021, Costco announced a raise in its minimum wage to $16 per hour. 

While announcing this, Costco’s CEO, Craig Jelinek, said that more than half of employees earn an average hourly rate of $24. According to CNN Business, Costco raised its minimum wage to $17 per hour in October 2021. 

What is the Starting Hourly Wage at Costco?

Costco pays different salaries for different positions within the company. Factors that affect an individual’s pay rate include location, experience level, and education level. In October 2021, Costco announced an increase in its starting hourly pay to $17.

Do Costco Employees Get Paid Well?

Costco’s employee pay and benefits are among the best in the retail world. Costco employees get paid about $17 an hour on average. That’s higher than the average hourly pay at other retailers like Walmart and Target

Costco is among the five best grocery companies to work for in the US, enjoying a five-star rating among current and former employees. Below are some of the employees’ reviews about the salaries paid by Costco.

What Positions Pay the Most at Costco?

Costco employees get paid on a salary schedule, with different pay levels for various positions. Some of the best jobs at Costco include CEO, Wine Buyer, and Senior Vice President of merchandising. Here are some of the best-paid jobs at Costco.

Position Annual salary Hourly rate
VP retail sales $201,000 $96.63
Staff pharmacist $130,931 $62.95
Software developer $111,030 $53.38
Manager $78,564 $37.77
Optician $46,017 $22.12
Front end assistant $44,690 $21.49
Supervisor $41,533 $19.97
Wholesale cashier $37,097 $17.84
Customer service representatives $36,562 $17.47
Stocker $34,622 $16.65
Forklift operator $34,605 $16.64
Deli clerk $33,914 $16.30
Forklift driver $32,038 $15.40
Bakery assistant $30,772 $14.79

After getting hired at Costco, you’ll get your first pay rise after 90 days of working there consistently. Costco gives pay rises every year, and the amount received depends on your position within the company.

7 Reasons Why Costco Pays So Well

Costco is one of the best retailers and eCommerce stores in the US, offering excellent employee wages and great benefits. Here are some reasons Costco pays so well.

1) High revenues

Costco has a huge membership base of over 111 million members worldwide (as of 2021). This means that Costco has an extensive customer base purchasing there, generating huge revenues. 

The company made over $141 billion from its operations across the US in 2021. With such earnings, Costco can afford to pay its employees well.

2) Low employee turnover rate

The employee turnover rate at Costco is less than 6%, which means that most employees stay at the company for long. The average tenure of a Costco employee is nine years. It also means they have more time to learn about their jobs and become more efficient. This increases productivity and decreases costs for the company and thus better pay.

3) Flexible scheduling

Costco may be the right place for you if you’re looking for a job that allows you more flexibility. Full-time employees get paid time off during holidays and vacations (after one year). 

Employees can also take advantage of flexible scheduling options like shift swapping or working nights if they have other obligations outside of work hours. Flexible scheduling allows workers to plan their time without losing pay due to missed days.

4) Costco cares about employees’ well-being

In addition to offering competitive wages and benefits, Costco provides many perks that make life easier for its employees. For example, the company offers free health insurance to eligible employees and their families. It also provides low-cost prescription drugs, dental care, 401(k) retirement plans with matching contributions from the company, paid vacation days, and paid sick days.

5) Low operating costs

Costco has kept costs low by avoiding expensive advertising campaigns and relying heavily on word-of-mouth marketing. In addition, it uses fewer employees to operate its stores compared to other retailers with many employees who maintain inventory levels. 

6) Employee satisfaction

Employees at Costco are proud of working there. They enjoy being part of an organization that gives back to society through its charitable initiatives or providing good pay and benefits packages for its workers. These factors create a positive work environment that keeps employees happy and motivated to do their best daily.

7) Costco has no sales quotas 

Unlike most employers, Costco doesn’t set quotas or targets for its employees. Instead, employees are encouraged to focus on customer service rather than hitting sales targets. Doing this leads to happier customers and more satisfied workers who feel valued by the company they work for.

What Benefits Do Costco Employees Get?

Costco employees get benefits and plenty of perks. Some of them include;

  • A retirement savings plan – 401(K) Many Costco employees have access to the company’s 401(K) retirement savings plan. The program allows full-time employees to save for retirement and receive matching contributions from the company. Costco matches each employee’s contribution at 50% to a maximum of $500 each year
  • Employee stock purchase plan – The employee stock purchase plan (ESPP) allows employees to buy stock in Costco. Employees can purchase shares and receive a discount. They can also contribute up to 10% of their salary annually to the ESPP
  • Regular salary raises – Costco gives all its employees steady salary increases every year. The increase depends on performance, experience, and nature of the job
  • Paid vacations – After working at Costco for at least one year and accruing at least 2000+ paid hours, you’re eligible for a paid time off. The amount of time you get for vacation depends on your years of employment, such as
    • 1 year – 1-week vacation
    • 2-4 years – 2 weeks’ vacation
    • 5-9 years – 3 weeks’ vacation
    • 10-14 years – 4 weeks’ vacation
    • 15+ years – 5 weeks’ vacation
  • Free memberships – Costco employees are eligible for free membership every year. This includes one card for a spouse or domestic partner and three additional cards for family members and friends. The card entitles you to discounts on many products and services at any Costco location
  • Health insurance – All full-time and part-time hourly workers receive healthcare benefits such as dental and vision insurance coverage through Costco’s health insurance plans at no cost. 

Does Costco Offer Benefits To Part-time Employees?

Costco offers lots of great benefits to all part-time and full-time workers, regardless of how many hours they work per week. The company believes that workers deserve these perks no matter their level of commitment at any given time. Some of the benefits that Costco part-time workers get include competitive pay, paid time off (PTO), free membership, health benefits, and so on.

How To Get Hired at Costco

Costco hires for full-time, part-time, and seasonal positions. You can make your job application online at the company’s website or in-store at the customer service desk.

The online application process consists of the steps below:

  • Create an account with by clicking “Apply Now” on their homepage. If you already have an account with Costco, you can use this existing login information for your new application
  • Enter your personal information into the appropriate fields on the application page, such as name, address, and phone number (including cell phone numbers). You’ll also need to enter information about any previous employment experience, as well as any relevant education or training programs completed
  • Answer all questions honestly and entirely because this will improve your chances of getting hired by Costco based on your qualifications and experience level
  • Upload your resume and certifications and submit your application to complete the process

If you choose to apply for Costco jobs at your local Costco location, you’ll need to bring copies of your resume and identification documents when you go in person.

Is it hard to get hired at Costco?

Getting hired at Costco isn’t that difficult, although it’s not straightforward either. The company has a precise hiring process, including an application, phone interview, in-person interview, and final interview. Costco also performs background checks on all employees.

Once your application is successful, you may start with some job assessment tests. The structure of the tests depends on the position applied for. Some tests may include a numerical test, verbal test, diagrammatic test, personality test, or situational judgment test.

If you pass the test, the hiring manager may schedule an interview with you. After a phone interview, you may need to schedule an in-person interview with one of the hiring managers at your local store location. 

A typical Costco interview process takes about two to three weeks. The final hiring process is a drug test. If your Costco interview is successful, you’ll get a job offer.


Does Costco pay weekly or bi-weekly?

Costco pays employees bi-weekly. Costco’s payroll department issues payroll cards on Fridays. The payment includes any overtime you have earned during the two weeks.

How many hours a week do Costco employees work?

The average working time for Costco employees depends on location, work demands (whether the Costco outlet is busy), and type of employee (whether part-time or full-time). Most part-time employees work for 5-8 hours/day or a minimum of 25 hours per week. Full-time employees work 8 hours shifts each day or 40 hours per week.

Does Costco give bonuses?

Yes, Costco has an excellent bonus program that rewards employees for their hard work. Long-tenured employees receive bonus checks twice a year.

Will Costco give a special dividend in 2022?

Yes, Costco will give a special dividend in 2022. The company’s board of directors announced that it would pay all its shareholders as of April 30, 2022, a final dividend of $90 cents per share on May 13, 2022. The amount is a 13.9% increase from the previous year’s payments.

Who pays more, Costco or Walmart?

Costco pays more than Walmart. The average wage at Costco is $18.05 an hour, which is well above the national average of $15.60 an hour. Walmart pays an average of 16.40 an hour.


Costco doesn’t pay $21 an hour, but many of the company’s average hourly wage is close to that mark. The average pay for Costco employees is $18.05 per hour. Some workers like front-end associates, are some of the lowest-earning at $14.23 per hour.

Costco employees receive other benefits such as medical insurance and prescriptions, dental vision coverage, life insurance, 401k retirement savings plans, and so on. Costco offers a terrific workplace environment that pays higher than the national average and more than its competitors, such as Walmart.

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