Costco salary: Everything you need to know

Last updated: May 29, 2024
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Costco salary: Everything you need to know
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Costco Wholesale is known for amazing in-store prices that customers can access for a small yearly fee.

Many have praised the wholesale club for its above-average wages and other employee perks.

Is the pay at Costco as good as people and the news say it is? Can you make a decent living working for this wholesale club?

Below, we’ll explain how much you could make working for Costco in various positions and some other benefits of being a Costco employee.

What is Costco?

Costco is an American multinational corporation of membership-only big-box retail store chains. The membership gives customers access to lower-priced products than they’d find in other retail store chains. One of its biggest counterparts is Sam’s Club, which is affiliated with Walmart.

Costco has over 288,000 employees worldwide, with 192,000 of those employees being in the United States. Most large cities have Costcos, which means they’re a great employment opportunity for many job seekers across the country.

Costco wholesale salaries: How much does Costco pay?

Costco already gets a lot of attention for its high company minimum hourly wage and other employee benefits. It pays more than many of its competitors, such as Target, Walmart, and Amazon. This is both in terms of minimum wage and average pay.

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This wage used to be $15 per hour, but Costco CEO Craig Jelinek announced a pay increase to $16 per hour ($33,280 yearly) in March 2021. This is even higher than the senate budget committee’s often-proposed $15 per hour federal minimum wage.

Costco updated the minimum wage again in October 2021 when they realized that the cost of life kept increasing more than they’d anticipated. The minimum wage went from $16 to $17 an hour.

Because of this change, entry-level Costco employees, such as cashiers or food service employees, can expect to get paid $17 per hour as a starting wage. That being said, your pay can increase if you stay with the company for a long time.

So what does an average wage look like at Costco? According to Payscale, the average for all Costco employees is $18.04 per hour. Employees also average $4k in bonuses.

People with senior positions can expect to earn even more.

Specialty positions

The more unique jobs at Costco require additional skills.

For example, a Costco auto worker will likely earn a higher hourly rate than a cashier since they have the necessary automotive skills.

Some other averages according to Payscale include:

  • Warehouse supervisor: average of $25 an hour

  • Forklift driver: average of $20 an hour

  • Heavy or Tractor-trailer truck driver: average of $21 an hour

  • Payroll clerk: $23 an hour

Some specialty jobs might pay a full-time salary as well.

The pharmacy, in particular, pays its employees well. Pharmacy cashiers make at least Costco’s minimum hourly wage and are often paid more. You can earn even more as a pharmacy technician or intern due to the industry skills involved.


Costco retail employees who move up in the company can become managers, and their pay goes up accordingly.

Many sources on salary information pin the average Costco manager’s annual salary at around $50,000. Still, managers of larger stores in areas with a higher cost of living sometimes earn six figures.

Patrick Callans, Costco’s VP of administration, said the actual average salary of a general manager is about $138,000 per year. Managers can also get access to stock compensation and other forms of payment that increase their total compensation.

Keep in mind that managers have a lot of responsibilities when running an entire Costco location. It’s not always an easy job, so Costco makes sure it pays appropriately.

Does Costco offer employees benefits?

A Costco salary is already pretty good on its own, but the company goes above and beyond by offering all employees — full-time or part-time — access to benefits.

Benefits are a huge part of total pay. Employees with access to things like employer-sponsored health insurance and a retirement plan no longer have to find and pay for these things separately.

This can save employees tons of money while helping them save for the future.

Here are some benefits Costco employees can get:

Health insurance

Healthcare is expensive, and so is the insurance that covers it.

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Hourly workers especially may not have access to affordable plans through their employers. If their hourly pay is too low, good coverage from outside the company can strain the budget.

Costco makes all full-time employees eligible for health insurance along with all part-time employees working at least 23 hours per week. Almost everyone, from cashiers to managers, can get good coverage at an affordable rate.

401k plan

401k plans help workers save for retirement and reduce their income taxes. However, many companies only offer these to salaried employees. They’re rare for hourly or part-time positions.

Costco enrolls everyone in its 401k, regardless of job title. They also provide you a $0.50 per dollar match on up to $1,000 of your contributions after working there for one year.

That means once you qualify, you can get up to $500 in free money for your retirement plan every year. The company will increase its contributions based on how long you’re working there.

Working at Costco for a few decades could potentially add up to tens of thousands in extra retirement funds.

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Paid vacation is rare among part-time positions — in many cases, part-time workers have to get shifts covered.

Not at Costco.

Costco provides paid vacation time to employees after one year and 2,000 hours at the company.

The longer you work for Costco, the better your paid vacation benefits become. You can earn up to five weeks of paid vacation per year. That’s on top of the usual accrued sick days and eight to ten paid holidays.

Smaller perks

Costco goes beyond the above benefits and provides employees with some smaller perks.

The main one is a free executive membership, which retails at a $120 value. That’s double the regular membership price and offers much more.

Also, Costco employees get a free turkey every Thanksgiving.

How to land a job at Costco

Here are three tips and tricks to improve your chances of getting hired at Costco.

1. Optimize your resume for Costco’s values

You’ll have a better chance of getting noticed by a Costco hiring manager if you share the same values as the company. Some of those values include:

  • Entrepreneurial spirit

  • Commitment to quality

  • Positive, high-energy employees

Do some research on Costco’s website to read more about its mission and values.

Next, customize your resume to highlight which of your skills and characteristics Costco values most. For example, if you’re a positive person who always feels energetic, you could mention this in your resume summary or your [cover letter.


2. Practice your interview skills

If you landed an interview, you’re one step closer to landing a job at Costco — but first, you need to nail that interview. If you struggle to make a good impression during job interviews, there are several ways you can prepare ahead of time.

First, what should you expect? Some employees talked to a single hiring manager during their interview. Others talked to a panel of managers.

It’s difficult to predict what your interview will look like. But you should practice with people you feel comfortable with ahead of time, like your roommates, friends, family members, or spouse. Try practicing in front of a single person and in front of several people to experience both scenarios.

You can also practice in front of a mirror to get more comfortable speaking out loud.

Remember to address everyone in the room if you have more than one interviewer — alternate eye contact between all parties involved.

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3. Speak to the front-end manager after applying online

The minimum you have to do to work at Costco is to apply online. So make sure to apply online first before doing anything else.

But if you want to improve your chances of getting the job, it’s important to stand out against other candidates. One of the ways you can do this is to apply directly with the front-end manager.

To do this, find a time when the Costco you applied to isn’t too busy. It will be more difficult to get some face time with the manager if they’re busy handling a crowd.

Then, get dressed in business casual attire and make your way to your Costco. Ask to speak to the manager. Make sure to bring a printed copy of your resume with you.

When you meet with the manager, tell them you applied online and that you wanted to introduce yourself. Offer them a copy of your resume. Keep this brief, but if the manager sparks a conversation, don’t hesitate to keep the conversation going.

Do you want to work at Costco?

Overall, Costco pays some of the more competitive employee salaries, especially for entry-level workers, as it offers higher wages than the current federal minimum wage.

However, that’s just the start. Moving up in the company and gaining skills for specialty roles can lead to greater pay. Plus, everyone in the company is eligible for benefits, a retirement plan, and paid vacation time.

Are you looking for a job? Visit Jobcase’s Getting Hired Resource Center to learn more about job opportunities and get interview and resume tips.



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