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War for Talent: Formidable Competitors

CHICAGO -- In terms of perception, convenience stores sit in the shadows of the Wegmans and Trader Joe’s of the world. Nearly twice as many consumers think grocery stores and warehouse clubs are positive workplaces compared to convenience stores.

This year, Costco Wholesale Corp. overtook Google on Forbes’ top employers list. In 2016, the warehouse club raised its starting wage to $13 an hour, up from $11.50. But staff members don’t stay at that pay grade for long. About 60% of the chain’s employees earn $23 an hour, Costco CFO Richard Galanti said during an earnings call in spring 2016.

Costco’s plush benefits also provide an edge in wooing and retaining employees. The big-box retailer’s career site boasts that it has one of the most competitive benefits packages in the industry, and that it takes on more premium costs than other retailers. Both part- and full-time hourly staff can take advantage of healthcare, dental care, life insurance, professional counseling services, 401(K) plans and employee stock purchase plans.

And grocery and club stores aren’t the only ones moving in on c-stores’ top candidates. Dollar General’s aggressive expansion plan is beginning to drain at least one retailer’s labor pool. “They pop up everywhere; they’re on every corner,” says Chris Moore, district leader for Victory Marketing’s Sprint Mart, Ridgeland, Miss. “That’s a real struggle.”

More: Aspire to Become an Employer of Choice

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