Lululemon on Thursday said that effective from Sept. 27, its minimum hourly wage for store and customer service center employees will rise to $15 or $17, depending on the role and the market.
The athleisure retailer in a press release also pointed to time off, parental leave, stipends for fitness and meditation classes, and mentorship and leadership programs, among other benefits.
Lululemon also said it will hire more than 8,000 full and part-time employees in stores and the customer service center, to accommodate its growth and prepare for the holiday season.
Lululemon is framing this as an appreciation for its workforce and a reflection of its values, but the macro-environment probably has something to do with it, too.
“These base pay increases remain consistent with our top quartile rewards philosophy and align with our values to support and elevate our people,” Susan Gelinas, senior vice president of people and culture, said in a statement. “We’re proud to recognize their hard work, and we’re so grateful for all they have navigated over the last year and a half during these unprecedented times.”
The company’s pay boost is coming at a time when business is struggling to attract workers. Retail is the industry with the second-largest number of open positions, as job openings have increased to a high of 10.1 million, according to the latest labor turnover report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That means that retailers have to sweeten their offers to prospective employees. Members of Congress continue to tussle over a minimum wage hike that many see as long overdue, including a proposal to double the longstanding federal minimum to $15 per hour. But many retailers have already reached or even beat that.
Adding or improving perks is another way a business can make itself more attractive to prospective employees. But job search platform DirectlyApply, in a survey of retail job seekers, found higher demand for benefits like medical insurance and retirement savings than for some of the incentives featured on Lululemon’s list.
“It’s not surprising to see retail job seekers most attracted to positions that offer benefits like healthcare compared to ‘softer’ benefits like gym memberships,” DirectlyApply co-founder Dylan Buckley said in a statement.