14 Pros and Cons of Working for Costco

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Costco Wholesale is a multinational company that was founded in the 1980s in Seattle and now operates as a chain of big box-retail warehouse clubs.

Shopping at Costco is an exclusive privilege reserved for those who hold a Costco membership.

Customers must buy memberships to even access the warehouse and make purchases.

 From an overall financial perspective, membership fees account for a small percentage of revenue.

Currently, its headquarters are in Issaquah, Washington, which lies just east of Seattle.

Its original location is noted in Costco’s Signature or Private Label Brand – Kirkland, which accounts for about one-third of the company’s sales.

At the beginning of 2023, Costco Wholesale operates more than 840 stores/warehouses internationally, with most in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

In 2022, Costco had nearly 120 million members. Costco’s year-end report for 2022 notes that net sales exceeded $222 billion, which translated to a net income for the fiscal period of $5.8 billion.

Pros of Working at Costco

Costco has a general reputation for offering its employees a positive workplace, with more than 300,000 employees worldwide – and growing each year.

Costco’s preferred managerial approach to this essential human resources aspect of its business operation appears quite successful.

1. Great starting salaries for entry-level positions in a variety of capacities.

Starting salaries at Costco for most employees are pretty competitive across the board.

The average cashier working at Costco Wholesale earns approximately $32,000 a year.

This annual salary is considerably higher than the average yearly salary for similar positions at large retailers like Walmart.  

Those working at Costco as a stocker earn an average of $15 per hour, while certified pharmacy technicians at Costco earn an average of $19/per hour.

Those in managerial positions can earn compensation packages that exceed six figures.

2. Costco promotes from within, so there are opportunities for career growth for those with an interest in a managerial or long-term career with Costco Wholesale.

Costco Wholesale recognizes and rewards its talented staff and employees by instituting and complying with its policy to promote from within, wherever possible.

And with so potential jobs and positions available within the store and its ancillary businesses, there is often a great opportunity to create a career that meets one’s objectives.

Employees at Costco who demonstrate initiative and consistent reliability will find the work is plentiful – especially during sales and the holiday season.

3. There are terrific medical, health, dental, and other benefits available to Costco employees.

The medical benefits offered by Costco are affordable and considered among the best benefits offered in the retail industry.

Costco’s employee benefits include general medical, dental, 401K matching, vision, mental healthcare, hospital coverage, life insurance, and even hearing aids.

Costco’s benefits even include a prescription drug plan, with generic copays as low as $3 per prescription.

Costco even offers its employees short-term disability insurance in the event of an accident.

4. Costco is a dynamic place to work for those who like a busy work environment.

Each of the stores in the Costco chain of retail warehouses sells a variety of merchandise to its paying members – at prices that are more wholesale than retail.

The sheer diversity of the store’s inventory offers employees a wide variety of job options and responsibilities.

In addition to a large food preparation service, Costco sells fresh and frozen groceries, books, clothing, appliances, tires, bedding, jewelry, electronics, beauty items, fitness supplies, and home improvement, to name a few.

5. Costco is a financially stable company that provides its employees with exceptional great job stability.

Costco ranks 11th on the Fortune 500 in terms of revenue and is among the top five largest retailers in the world.

It is the largest retailer across the globe in a number of categories, including rotisserie chicken and wine, among others.

Additionally, Costco to grow from zero revenue to $3 billion in less than six years.

These financial metrics offer great job stability to each Costco employee/member.

6. Employees receive the perks – like discount auto insurance and gas – of a Costco Membership at no charge.

Each employee receives two Executive-level memberships – one for themselves and the other for their partner when they work for Costco Wholesale.

Costco employees also receive two regular-level memberships to share with their family and friends as well.

In addition to these valuable, no-cost memberships, Costco gives each employee a turkey at Thanksgiving each year.

7. When working on Sundays, Costco employees earn premium pay – which is equivalent to time and one-half.

Although it may cut into your Sunday afternoon plans, you might want to consider working on Sundays because the company considers it premium pay.

As a result, an employee’s hourly wage is 1.5 times its normal rate – despite the number of hours they may have worked during the pay period.

A Costco employee who is typically paid $17.50 per hour will make $26.25 per hour when working on Sundays. [$17.50 & 1.5 = $26.25]

Cons of Working at Costco

1. The shifts can be long and even stressful, especially around the holidays.

Working retail in any location is always considered less than optimal, although, on the bright side, there will always be work and likely overtime for those individuals who want to earn extra money.

The good news is that giant sales and holidays are temporary, and eventually, the store returns to a more normal, less frenetic pace.

2. The initial training programs could use improvement and updating.

Like many behemoth companies, there is often a disconnect between management and those workers who are in the trenches on the front line.

Those who have worked for Costco note that management tends to overlook important situations brought forth by other team members.

3. The work can become repetitive and ultimately boring to some workers.

Entry-level jobs are often learning experiences, which include repeating actions until the employee becomes has mastered the task and can consider themselves experienced.

Those employees who wish to excel should look for additional work when work is slow to reveal personal initiative and learn new professional responsibilities.

4. You can choose to work part-time, but it will likely be spread across five days.

Part-time employees typically prefer to work longer shifts on fewer days.

Unfortunately, at Costco, most workers – part or full-time, will have a 5-day schedule.

This Costco scheduling protocol translates to many shorter shifts and often communication confusion between managers and employees.

In the long run, these scheduling mishaps are disruptive to those employees with other and prior commitments.

5. Depending on the employee’s seniority and the Costco location, early morning work shifts may be mandatory.

Costco opens its doors early to allow seniors to shop a) at a time they are usually up and b) before the shopping crowd swarms the store, which can be an overwhelming experience for certain seniors.

As a result, most locations need early morning workers to open up the store because most workers prefer to avoid early morning work.

New hires with less seniority are typically required to work these early a.m. shifts until they are with the company for some time.

6. Many jobs at Costco require employees to be on their feet for many continuous hours.

Standing on your feet all day working the floor at a Costco can be exhausting.

For some, this extensive standing can become painful as many employees can develop foot issues.

If you, as a Costco employee, want to take advantage of the perks, do yourself a favor and find well-cushioned and supportive shoes that you wear when spending hours on your feet.

Consider some of the more popular brands like Eccos, Clarks, Aerosoles, and Nike, to name a few.

7. Part-time employees are offered important benefits, which may differ from full-time Costco workers.

Most companies, including Costco, determine benefit eligibility based on the employee’s employment status.

As such, part-time Costco employees may not receive the same benefits as if they were working for Costco full-time.

14 Pros and Cons of Working for Costco – Summary Table

Pros of Working at CostcoCons of Working at Costco
1. Great starting salaries for entry-level positions in a variety of capacities.1. The shifts can be long and even stressful, especially around the holidays.
2. Costco promotes from within, so there are opportunities for career growth for those with an interest in a managerial or long-term career with Costco Wholesale.2. The initial training programs could use improvement and updating.
3. There are terrific medical, health, dental, and other benefits available to Costco employees.3. The work can become repetitive and ultimately boring to some workers.
4. Costco is a dynamic place to work for those who like a busy work environment.4. You can choose to work part-time, but it will likely be spread across five days.
5. Costco is a financially stable company that provides its employees with exceptional great job stability.5. Depending on the employee's seniority and the Costco location, early morning work shifts may be mandatory.
6. Employees receive the perks – like discount auto insurance and gas - of a Costco Membership at no charge.6. Many jobs at Costco require employees to be on their feet for many continuous hours.
7. When working on Sundays, Costco employees earn premium pay – which is equivalent to time and one-half.7. Part-time employees are offered important benefits, which may differ from full-time Costco workers.

Should You Work for Costco?

If you are considering working for Costco and know the location you want to work, you can search online to see what jobs are available. Check out Costco’s online employment application, which stays active for 90 days while you search for a position at Costco.

If you don’t see a job you want, check back often, as the website is often updated with new positions.

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Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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