SALARIES / NOV. 17, 2014
version 3, draft 3

Top 10 Companies Paying American Workers the Lowest Wages

Some of the largest retail, food, and grocery store corporations pay their workers poorly. While wages have improved in cities across the United States, there are still a few companies that have yet to increase their pay rates.

Labour groups have sparked several protests to raise the minimum wage. A poll by Gallup also determined that 76 percent of Americans support the same reform. 

While most companies do not directly operate their stores, most salary wages can vary depending on job title or position.

For the most part, CEOs are compensated way more than the average worker who really puts in the time and labour. 

Many of these companies have accumulated prolific profit numbers, and yet can’t seem to pay their employees deserving salaries.

View below some of the companies that are guilty of paying their workers very low wages.

1. Wal-Mart Stores Incorporation

  • Revenue: $476.3 billion
  • Net income: $16.0 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 1.4 million  
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.81

Wal-Mart employs the largest number of workers compared to any other company in the world. As one of the richest family-owned dynasties, Wal-Mart made $476.3 billion in revenue last year 2013. While the CEO makes roughly $5.6 million a year, American Walmart workers only earn an hourly wage of $8.81. Sadly enough, this retail giant prides itself in paying low wages as way to ensure its financial success.

2. McDonald’s Corporation 

  • Revenue: $28.1 billion
  • Net income: $5.6 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 725,406
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.09

As one of the most popular food chains in the world, McDonald’s has over 14,000 locations around the country alone. This company’s business model is founded on franchising—so corporate is not responsible for the pay rate most workers receive. On average, a crew member is usually compensated $8.09 an hour. Strikes have been conducted in hopes to persuade the company to raise hourly wages to $15 an hour, but it doesn’t seem like McDonald’s will budge any time soon.   

3. The Kroger Company

  •  Revenue: $23.2 billion
  •  Net income: $422 million
  •  U.S. workforce: 375,000
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.41

This Grocery store corporation employs 375,000 workers. On average, a cashier may earn an $8.41 salary. A store clerk, however, makes much less. They are typically paid an hourly wage of $7.75. Although the company claims that their employers are the “most enduring strength” behind the company’s success, Kroger’s pay rate doesn’t emulate that commonly accepted idea at all.

4. Target Corporation

  • Revenue: $72.6 billion
  • Net income: $2.0 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 333,722
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.85

Surprisingly, Target isn’t a great place to work for if you’re looking for a livable salary. American workers are compensated nearly $9.00 per hour if they work as a floor team member. However, floor team leaders can very well earn up to $15 an hour.  Additionally, this company’s workforce count fluctuates consistently as it hires more workers during the holidays and layoff workers during the slower seasons. 

5. Yum! Brands Incorporation

  • Revenue: $13.1 billion
  • Net income: $1.1 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 632,658
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.33

This incorporation includes franchise companies like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Yum! Brands employees are usually paid anywhere between $7.00 and $9.00 an hour. For Taco Bell workers, $8.33 an hour is the average pay rate. A Pizza Hut delivery driver can expect a little more than $7.60 an hour. While this company.

6. Sears Holdings Corporation

  • Revenue: $36.2 billion
  • Net income: -$1.4 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 226,000
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.45 

Sears Holdings Corporation has gone through some financial changes within the past year. After losing over $1 billion in net income, the retail company closed down nearly 100 Kmart and Sears shopping locations and expects to shut the doors of approximately 130 stores by the end of the year. Workers are obviously experiencing the aftermath this profit plunge. Sales associates currently earn $8.45 an hour while cashiers are paid around $8.22 per hour. Almost 6,000 workers are expected to lose their jobs within the next few months. 

7. Darden Restaurant Incorporation

  • Revenue: $6.3 billion
  • Net income: $286 million
  • U.S. workforce: 202,920
  • Average Hourly Wage: $9.45

Parent Company Darden Restaurant Incorporation, who owns popular dine-in restaurants like Olive Garden and Long Horn Steak House, probably pays slightly better than the rest of the companies on this list. The company bought out seafood restaurant Red Lobster over the summer and now employs over 200,000 customer service workers. Darden restaurant’s net income may not be in the billions, but it does make a pretty good profit yearly. Although the wages varies by job positions, a host at Olive Garden can expect to make $9.45 an hour. 

8. Starbucks Corporation

  • Revenue: $16.4 billion
  • Net income: $2.1 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 137,000 
  • Average Hourly Wage: $9.00 

America’s favourite coffee shop has over 7,000 locations in the U.S., and employs 137,000 workers. Starbucks Corporation profited $2.1 billion last year and $16.4 billion in revenue earnings. A Starbucks Barista makes an average salary of $9 per hour. However, workers can earn anywhere between $7 and $13 hourly. In October, the chief operating officer announced that the company plans to increase the salary in 2015.  

9. The TJX Companies Incorporation

  • Revenue: $27.4 billion
  • Net income: $2.1 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 147,459
  • Average Hourly Wage: $8.07

Marshalls, HomeGoods, and T.J. Maxx are three of the retail store brands that TJX owns. Most of these stores are scattered all across the word—mainly in other regions including Canada and Europe. Yet, the U.S. houses 2,475 locations and employs 147.459 TJX workers. The average hourly compensation for a sales associate is typically a little over $8.00.

10. Macy’s Incorporation

  • Revenue: $27.9 billion
  • Net income: $1.5 billion
  • U.S. workforce: 172,500
  • Average Hourly Wage: $9.19

Macy’s 172,500 U.S. employees usually earn $9.19 an hour. However, this retail company also gives sales associates the opportunity to earn at least more than $2,000 per year in commissions based on performance. Macy’s is notorious for hiring seasonal and part-time workers during the holidays. Most workers can be found either working in stores, online, or in Macy’s warehouse distribution centers. The retail giant expects to add 86,000 seasonal employees this year.

All the companies listed account for 70 percent of jobs paying employees low salaries.

Unfortunately, low wages have become commonly accepted as a normal practice.

According to campaign strategist Arun Ivatury at the National Employment Law Project, "These industries have embraced a low-wage business model. Their way of doing business is trying to squeeze as much out of their employees as they can, while paying them as little in wages and benefits as possible."

Titles such as "Floor Team Leader" or "Starbucks Barista" appear to sound like prestigious job positions. However, these labels will never change the fact that most employees in the retail and food industry are poorly rewarded for their work.


Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'





Get our FREE eBook!
'6 Steps to Landing Your Next Job'

G up arrow
</script> </script>