Starbucks is boosting pay for its associates to some of the highest levels in the retail industry, with a new range of $15 to $23 per hour for baristas starting in summer 2022. This will put the company’s average hourly pay at nearly $17 per hour, which could help stores find staff despite the tight labor market.
Starbucks has been pouring resources into its workforce over the past two years, with $1 billion in incremental investments over that period, including setting its minimum wage at $15 per hour in December 2020. These latest efforts have built on employee-facing investments made in previous years, including a 5% to 15% wage increase for all employees instituted in October 2016.
“This is how we continue to build a great and enduring company,” said Kevin Johnson, President and CEO of Starbucks in a statement. “One that is committed to the ideal that doing good for one another —and for society — is good for business over the long-term.”
Starbucks’ efforts to find new employees include a $200 referral bonus. The onboarding process itself is being refined with an updated “Barista Basics” guide, additional training time for all roles and the introduction of practice shifts. Starbucks also will expand its practice store concept, which currently consists of 40 stores dedicated to training new employees, by opening additional locations around the country.
Tech will play a role in attracting and retaining talent as well. Starbucks is testing a “shifts app” that will make it easier for associates to find available shifts, and the company is working with data analysts to help shape its efforts. The company also is looking for ways to improve the bar floor design and equipment, including through the introduction of a new cold beverage station, which could make it easier for baristas to handle their day-to-day tasks.
Starbucks’ redesign efforts are being tested at its 20,000-square-foot Tryer Lab, which has a rotation of 20 workers who test out new behind-the-bar layouts, equipment and operational roles for stores. The retailer believes putting associates at the center of store development will help it better understand what works or doesn’t in a real-life environment.
Starbucks will enhance its latest investments with existing benefits such as health care for part-time employees and free college tuition through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan with Arizona State University. Additionally, Starbucks offers all associates mental health support through a partnership with Lyra.