(WJBK) - Target announced it is increasing its minimum wage, and says they promise to pay a minimum wage of $15 by the end of 2020.
Minimum wage will be increased to $11 per hour for all hourly team members in the U.S. this October. Target says its pay raise will affect more than 300,000 workers.
Target says its minimum hourly wage of $11 is higher than the minimum wage in 48 states, and matches the minimum wage in Massachusetts and Washington state.
Target quietly raised entry-level hourly wages to $10 last year from $9 from the previous year, following initiatives by Walmart and others to hike wages in a fiercely competitive marketplace.
But Target's hike to $15 per hour far exceeds not only the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour but the hourly base pay at Walmart, the nation's largest private employer, and plenty of its other retail peers whose minimum hourly pay now hovers around $10.
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As part of its $2.7 billion investment in workers, Walmart Stores Inc. had raised its entry-level hourly pay for workers to $9 in 2015 and then to $10 in 2016. With Target's outsized influence in the retailing world, its hike could force rivals to match the pay in order to compete.
The changes come at a time when there's growing concern for the plight of the hourly worker. Thousands of workers have staged protests to call attention to their financial struggles and to fight for $15 hourly pay.
At the same time, competition for lower-skilled workers has heated up, and retailers, likely hobbled by the threat of e-commerce, are falling behind. As shoppers get more mobile-savvy, retailers are seeking sales staff who are more skilled at customer service and in technology such as using iPads to check out inventory. But with the unemployment rate near a 16-year low, the most desirable retail workers feel more confident in hopping from job to job.
The Associated Press contributed to this report