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Macy’s raises hourly wage to $15 and rolls out college tuition to try to win workers

Shoppers looking at Macy’s Black Friday specials in Maumee, Ohio, November 27, 2020.

Stephen Zenner | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Macy’s is the latest retailer to sweeten its benefits and wages in a bid to attract talent in a tight labor market.

The department store chain said Monday it will raise its minimum wage, for new and current workers, to $15 per hour by next May. Once the higher pay is in effect, Macy’s average base pay will be above $17 per hour, and average total pay will be $20 an hour, the company said.

Macy’s is also adding an education benefit that will cover 100% of tuition, books and fees. Macy’s is partnering with Guild Education on the program, which will include bachelor’s degrees, boot camps, English language learning and professional certificates, among other options. Macy’s said it expects this program to cost it $35 million over the next four years.

In doing so, Macy’s joins a growing list of businesses offering college tuition and textbooks to try to attract workers. Target, Walmart, Chipotle and Starbucks already offer similar perks.

“This program removes a major barrier to accessing education and will help our colleagues to further develop their skills and grow their careers and earning potential,” said Danielle Kirgan, chief transformation and human resources officer at Macy’s.

Having enough staff on hand, in stores and around warehouses, will be especially crucial for retailers this holiday season. More shoppers are itching to get out of the house and are planning to pile into malls in search of presents. Macy’s previously announced that it aimed to bring on 76,000 full- and part-time workers over the holidays, in line with its pre-pandemic holiday staffing.

Macy’s shares are up more than 177% year to date, bringing the company’s market cap to $9.7 billion.

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