Walmart vs. Costco: How Do They Really Compare?

Every villain needs a hero, and in the press, Walmart and Costco have been portrayed as the dark lord and white knight of low-budget retail. In recent months, Walmart has been criticized for allegedly underpaying and mistreating its employees, while Costco has been lauded as a kind of corporate Dumbledore, nurturing its workers, and fighting to make the world a kinder and more affordable place.

So how do the country's two biggest retailers really fare head-to-head? Check out the breakdown below.
Average Cashier Salary
Walmart: $8.53 [Glassdoor]
Costco: $15.60 [Glassdoor]

Average Pay For Low-Level Managerial Position
Walmart: $44,774 [Glassdoor]
Costco: $53,956 [Glassdoor]

Number Of Employees Receiving Health Insurance Coverage
Walmart: "more than half" of employees [Businessweek]
Costco: 88% of employees [Businessweek]

More: Why Is It So Hard To Get An $8 Job At Walmart?

Turnover Rate
Walmart: 37% [self-reported]
Costco: 24% [InvestorPlace]

Position On The Minimum Wage
Walmart: Supported raising the federal minimum wage in 2006, but has remained mum in the recent debate. [NBC News]
Costco: Supports raising the federal minimum wage to over $10-an-hour. CEO Craig Jelinek wrote a letter urging Congress to do so. [The Huffington Post]

Percent Of Workforce That Is Unionized
Walmart: 0 [Reuters]
Costco: 15 [Businessweek]

Opportunity For Advancement
Walmart: "Nearly three-quarters of our store management teams started out in hourly positions." [The Huffington Post]
Costco: 70 percent of warehouse managers allegedly started as cart-pushers and cashiers. On principle, the retailer doesn't hire business school graduates, and instead sponsors its lower-level employees through graduate school. [Businessweek]

CEO Compensation (2012)
Walmart: $19.3 million ($1.3 million salary, $4.4 million bonus, $13.6 million in stock grants) [Businessweek]
Costco: $4.9 million ($650,000 salary, $200,000 bonus, around $4 million in stock options) [Businessweek]

Most Recent Quarterly Year Over Year Earnings
Walmart: Up 1.1% [Wall Street Journal]
Costco: Up 19% [NBC News]

Read the slideshow, "The Most Underpaid Jobs In the United States."

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