In 2017, Target was one of the first companies to announce that it would be paying its retail employees a minimum of $15 per hour. The plan was to raise the starting wage by 2020.

In the years that followed, other retailers also increased their starting wage. For example, Best Buy and Amazon also pay a minimum of $15 per hour, and Costco currently has a starting wage of $17 per hour.

Target is once again deciding to increase the starting wage for their employees. This time, they are blowing away the competition by announcing that they will be paying up to $24 per hour.

That doesn’t mean that every retail employee will get an automatic bump in pay. The new starting wage will depend on the market and the specific job. Target did not state which markets and jobs would be seeing the pay increase.

Target CEO Brian Cornell told The Associated Press, “The market has changed. We want to continue to have an industry-leading position.”

A bump in starting wage from $15 to $24 is quite significant, but that’s not the only change the employer is making. Target is also increasing access to health care coverage.

Previously, store employees had to work a minimum of 30 hours per week to quality for health care benefits, but Target is changing that minimum to 25 hours per week. In addition, Target is also reducing the amount of time employees have to wait for their health care coverage to kick in.

In a press release, Target’s chief human resources officer, Melissa Kremer, explained, “Our team is at the heart of our strategy and success, and their energy and resilience keep us at the forefront of meeting the changing needs of our guests year after year. We continuously listen to our team members to understand what’s most important to them, then use the feedback to make investments that meet their needs across different career and life stages.” 

Kremer added, “We want all team members to be better off for working at Target, and years of investments in our culture of care, meaningful pay, expanded health care benefits and opportunities for growth have been essential to helping our team members build rewarding careers.”

Target, which has approximately 350,000 employees and 1,900 stores, is investing approximately $300 million in their team in 2022 with these pay increases and increased benefits.

Do you think other retailers will copy Target by increasing their starting wage? Do you think a $24 starting wage will encourage more job seekers to apply at Target?