Home Depot announced Tuesday that it was investing $1 billion in its hourly workers, bringing their average starting wage to $15 an hour.

Workers will see the increase, which took effect on February 6 of this month, in their paychecks. The increase will boost the wages of all hourly workers in the US and Canada.

The news marks the home improvement retail giant joining the ranks of other large employers raising their minimum wages amid an ongoing shortage of frontline workers across the country. Walmart last month announced a median hourly wage of more than $17.50. Amazon said in september that the starting wage for warehouse and delivery workers will be more than $19 per hour. And Target invested $300 million in hourly wage increases last year.

These companies face a labor market with more than 11 million job offers as of December, more than 1 million of which are in retail roles.

In an email to employees shared with CNBC, Home Depot CEO Ted Decker said the investment «more favorably positions us in all of the markets in which we operate.» He said higher wages will improve the customer experience as the company attracts more high-quality workers and retains experienced staff.

“This investment will help us attract and retain the best talent in our portfolio,” he said.

Home Depot has also added more training opportunities, Decker said, including promoting more than 65,000 employees in 2022 alone.

The wage increases could also help Home Depot avoid a fledgling drive to unionize its stores, which it opposes. Home Depot workers in Philadelphia ran for a union election last September, saying workers were not benefiting from Home Depot’s strong sales and the stores were understaffed. Store workers voted to reject the union in November.

Home Depot employs 437,000 people in the US and 34,000 in Canada. The vast majority are hourly employees, the company said. The company operates 2,000 stores in the US and 182 stores in Canada.

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