Working at Wal-Mart is one of the best retail jobs to have right now

Walmart black fridayREUTERS/Jonathan AlcornUSA-ECONOMYRTR4FEQ824 Nov. 2014Los Angeles, UNITED STATESAn employee adjusts a large ribbon on a television display at Walmart as the store prepares for Black Friday in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2014.

Wal-Mart has a reputation as being a low-wage employer.

But relative to the rest of the retail industry, this claim is unfair.

Wal-Mart just announced that it would raise hourly pay for 500,000 of its associates.

By April, all hourly Wal-Mart employees will make at least $US9 an hour.

By next February, all hourly Wal-Mart employees will make at least $US10 an hour.

Wal-Mart is often targeted by labour activists for its low wages, but data suggests that Starbucks pays its workers even less.

Wal-Mart’s current sales associates earn an average of $US8.86 an hour, which is six cents more than Starbucks baristas’ hourly pay, according to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The pay gap is greater when it comes to the retailers’ management positions. Wal-Mart’s assistant managers make an average of $US43,916 annually, for example, while Starbucks’ assistant managers make roughly $US33,634 a year.

The authors of the 47-page report point out, however, that Starbucks’ stores are much smaller than Wal-Mart’s. The data also excludes benefits, such as Starbucks’ College Achievement Plan, which helps workers pay for a college degree. The Motley Fool first reported on the data.

Here’s the wage data from the report:

Wal-Mart is also in the top 20 highest-paying retailers, according to Glassdoor data.

Myles Udland contributed to this report.

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