Companies Paying Americans the Least

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10. Macy’s, Inc. (NYSE:M)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $16.5 million
> Revenue: $28.1 billion
> No. of U.S. locations: 823
> Industry: Department Stores

Like many department stores, Macy’s is one of the nation’s lowest-paying companies. More generally, the retail trade sector employs 13.3% of all U.S. workers paid at or below the minimum wage. At Macy’s, the average hourly wage for a sales associate is $9.33, about half the average for sales associates nationwide. Macy’s closed hundreds of stores last year, cutting around 2,500 jobs. The company reported revenue of $28.1 billion in the company’s latest fiscal year. CEO Terry Lundgren made $16.5 million, the eighth highest total CEO compensation among the over 100 companies reviewed.

9. Starbucks Corporation (NasdaqGS:SBUX)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $21.5 million
> Revenue: $16.4 billion
> No. of U.S. locations: 7,303
> Industry: Restaurants

Coffee giant Starbucks employs roughly 141,000 people in the United States at more than 7,300 locations. Because the coffee chain offers some benefits not commonly offered in low-paying jobs, it has long been considered the ideal job for young students supporting themselves or even single parents. However, an increasing number of reports suggest the famous Seattle company makes life difficult for its employees. Of particular note is the company’s increasing use of complicated and inconsistent scheduling, a practice also used by many other major retailers. This practice means that baristas’ hours may be posted with little notice, preventing them from making other plans, and therefore nearly denying them the ability to earn extra income from other sources.

8. Sears Holdings Corporation (NasdaqGS:SHLD)
> Global workforce:
> CEO compensation: $5.7 million
> Revenue: $31.2 billion
> No. of U.S. locations: 1,733
> Industry: Department Stores

Sears Holdings is the company behind Sears and Kmart department stores. Sales associates at Sears are paid an average of $8.72 an hour. Cashiers at the retail giant make even less, at an average of $8.37 an hour. In sharp contrast, CEO Edward Lampert’s compensation last year totalled $5.7 million. According to, only 21% of surveyed company employees approved of Lampert. Low employee pay and a lack of confidence in the company’s leadership may be just the tip of the iceberg for Sears. The company’s revenue dropped by 16% in its most recent fiscal year, after already dropping 10% the year before. Sears Holdings was one of only two low-paying companies that posted a net income loss in the most recent fiscal year.