How Much Does Costco Pay? From Cashier to Forklifter to CEO

November 29, 2023
4 mins read
How Much Does Costco Pay? From Cashier to Forklifter to CEO

What is Costco?

Costco Wholesale  (COST) – Get Free Report is a wholesale retailer that sells food, furnishings, tools, and other items for the household. As of November 2023, it operated 870 warehouses (stores), including 599 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. 

It also operates retail warehouses in Canada, Mexico, and 11 other countries, and the company operates e-commerce sites in some of them. Costco, based in Issaquah, Washington, had 206,000 full and part-time employees in the U.S., which represented roughly two-thirds of its total workforce worldwide as of September 2023.

As a publicly traded company, Costco’s market value was $261 billion as of Nov. 24, 2023. From the end of 2013 to Nov. 24, 2023, its stock rose 500%, compared to a 150% gain for the S&P 500 Index. In its fiscal 2023 year ended Sept. 3, Costo reported $6.3 billion in net income on $238 billion in revenue. Costco keeps its selling prices on goods low with markups just slightly above wholesale prices, and it mainly makes money from memberships, which have a starting annual fee of $60. As of the end of September 2023, it had 127.9 million cardholders representing 71 million households.

As one of the biggest warehouse club operators in the U.S., Costco continues to expand its presence on the ground and online. As it opens new stores in areas where it can attract new members, the company will need to hire people to fill key positions.

Related: How much does Kroger pay? From cashier to CEO

How much does Costco pay?

Costco doesn’t provide pay information for the hundreds of jobs it has listed on its career page for operations in warehouse and business centers, distribution, member service centers, manufacturing, travel, and corporate and technology divisions. As with most companies, pay varies by type of job, level of experience, location, and full or part-time status.

The company’s lowest-paying jobs fall in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, well below the 2023 national median annual salary of $57,200, which is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

The highest-paid employee is its chief executive officer. Walter Craig Jelinek, 71, is Costco’s CEO, but he is stepping down at the end of 2023 after almost four decades of service with the wholesale-retailer. His salary for 2023 was set at $1.15 million. Jelinek’s successor, Ron Vachris, will take office in 2024. His base salary for 2024 was also set at $1.15 million, but he was also given restricted stock units valued at $10.4 million. Vachris, 58, started his career at Costco as forklift driver when he was a teenager.

What is the starting pay at Costco?

As with most employers, starting pay at Costco is based on experience, and pay can increase over the length of employment with additional experience. Entry-level positions include taking inventory and driving forklifts in the warehouse and working at the front of the store as a cashier, clerk, or greeting customers.

Pay for a cashier at Costco in Louisville, Kentucky is listed at $18.50 to $31.00 an hour on jobs-placement site Indeed as of late November 2023. A retail warehouse associate in Portland, Oregon, starts at $18.50 an hour, and a licensed optician in either Atlanta or Bradenton, Florida starts at around $34 an hour.

Good performances in lower-level positions can often lead to opportunities for advancement and work in other areas of the company.

What is the hourly pay at Costco?

As of late November 2023, the average hourly pay for a Costco employee in the U.S. is $22.20, according to job advertiser website ZipRecruiter. Hourly wages ranged from as low as $9.38 to as high as $50.48.

Costco’s hourly pay rate does, of course, vary geographically based on cost of living and the state or city’s applicable minimum wage. The company reportedly said in 2017, however, that it instituted a $17 per hour minimum wage, affecting 90% of its workers, to remain competitive in the retail industry.

What is the pay for a stocker at Costco?

Stockers ensure that products are properly displayed and replenished on shelves, and they return items that are left on aisles. At Costco, stockers are typically paid around or above the company’s minimum wage, but wages do vary by store location. In San Jose, California, the pay for a merchandise stocker is $19.50 to $27.45 an hour, according to November 2023 data from Indeed.

What is the pay for a cashier at Costco?

Cashiers are crucial in helping customers check out items for purchase at the counters. Pay for a cashier at a Costco store in Louisville, Kentucky ranges from $18.50 to $31.00 an hour, according to Indeed. Positions available are either for full or part time. Cashier responsibilities include greeting customers, ringing them up, answering their questions, and addressing their concerns.

What is the pay for a forklift operator at Costco?

A forklift driver hired to move pallets of product at a Costco warehouse can make above minimum wage in many states. Still, pay depends on location and level of experience. In East Lyme, Connecticut, the wage for a forklift operator is listed at $18.50 to $29.30 an hour, and the position requires at least a year of experience in a warehouse, according to Indeed. In Nanuet, New York, the pay range is $17.50 to $23.84 an hour. In Bloomingdale, Illinois, it’s $18.50 an hour.

How to apply for a job at Costco

Applications can be submitted through Costco’s career page. You must complete a profile to register, and then fill out part of the application by providing your name, home address, phone number, email address, work experience, education, and other information. Costco says it posts available positions on an internal site for current employees and on external sites such as Indeed and Monster. Applications can be made to any job within a store or a particular job within that store.

What kinds of employee benefits does Costco provide?

Costco provides its full-time employees many benefits, including health insurance, long-term disability, 401(k) plans, paid sick and vacation time, paid holidays, and employee discounts. Some part-time workers are also eligible for some of the same benefits as full-time employees.

Does Costco provide career development?

As its outgoing and incoming CEOs can attest with their decades of employment moving from the warehouse to headquarters, work at Costco can be long term and provide a career track to management from entry-level positions. Costco offers numerous training and development programs and typically hires and promotes from within, helping to maintain its company culture as it continues to open new stores each year. It says that the majority of its corporate and regional office workers started in their warehouses, depots, and business centers. 

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