Macy’s raises minimum wage to $15 an hour as labor shortage continues

Macy's storefront in mall
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Macy’s department stores announced a new minimum wage and other employee perks on Nov. 8 in an effort to attract workers during the ongoing labor shortage.

The company’s new starting wage will be $15 an hour. New benefits include a “debt-free education program” and one additional flexible paid holiday, Macy’s announced in a press release.

Macy’s already started the $15 wage in a few markets, and plans to roll it out to the rest of its locations by May 2022, they said. Workers in the company’s distribution centers also got a raise to the $15 minimum earlier this year.

Macy’s

The new education program is generous: The company will cover 100% of tuition, books and fees for courses ranging from high school completion to professional certificates and bachelor’s degrees. This benefit will be offered starting in February 2022.

“As a company, we’re driven by our mission to enable our colleagues’ success and be the preferred employer everywhere we do business, with competitive pay and benefits rooted in principles of equity,” said Danielle Kirgan, chief transformation and human resources officer at Macy’s, Inc., in the release.

According to their own math, Macy’s workers’ average base pay will top $17 an hour once the company has fully implemented the plan.

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Macy’s isn’t alone in upgrading their employee compensation offers. Companies including Walmart, Costco and Amazon have announced better starting wages in a bid to attract job-seekers.

Despite these measures, the labor shortage that started with the pandemic persists. Experts attribute part of the problem to a “mismatch” between employers and employees.

The Washington Post called it a “growing divide between what employers want versus what job seekers want”: Many prospective employees want better compensation and more scheduling flexibility, while employers often prefer people with experience willing to work in-person and after hours. Employers have been slow to change their policies in the face of staffing shortages.

Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Macy’s

With the holiday hiring season underway, Macy’s announcement is well timed. According to the New York Times, the National Retail Federation expects U.S. stores to hire up to 665,000 seasonal workers this year. And sometimes, those temporary gigs turn into permanent jobs.

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Kathleen St. John

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