WASHINGTON -- A year after it first announced a major minimum wage hike in its U.S. stores, Ikea said Wednesday that it plans to implement another nationwide raise to its wage floor next year, bringing the average store's starting pay to nearly $12 per hour.
Rob Olson, chief financial officer for Ikea U.S., told The Huffington Post that the company is already reaping dividends from its decision to hike the wage floor and to factor in the local cost of living in doing so.
"We're very pleased so far," Olson said.
So what types of benefits has Ikea seen?
For one, less turnover. Although it's only been six months since the raises went into effect, Olson said Ikea is on pace to reduce turnover by 5 percent or better this fiscal year. Holding onto employees longer means the company is spending less on recruiting and training new replacements.
Ikea is also attracting more qualified job seekers to work at its stores, according to Olson. Pay for retail sales workers in the U.S. is generally very low, with an average industry wage of just $12.38 per hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Ikea's average store wage is heading north of $15. After its living wage announcement last year, the company opened two new locations -- one in Merriam, Kansas, and another in Miami -- and the higher wages (and attendant publicity) likely helped the company lure more candidates.
"At both of those stores, the applicant pool was fantastic," Olson said.