Whole Foods CEO Says Store Managers Can Make Upwards of 6 Figures


Whole Foods CEO John Mackey believes store managers should make well over $100,000 without a college degree.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey believes store managers should make well over $100,000 without a college degree, according to CNBC.

Wage transparency is the practice of informing employees about what everyone else is making. The average pay of professional titles of employees is published on the Whole Foods website. Mackey believes that wage transparency is encouraging for employees. “It gives people something to strive for,” Mackey told Freakonomics Radio host Stephen Dubner.

”‘Wow, I had no idea that a coordinator could get paid that much. I want to be a coordinator.’ Or, ‘I really want to be a store team leader, because I had no idea that including their RSUs — the restricted stock units they get from Amazon — I mean, they may be making well over $100,000.’ And if you don’t have a college degree, that’s something to aspire to,” he said.

According to the Census Bureau, the mean yearly income for male workers with only a high school degree was $45,971 in 2019.

These are the going rates for Whole Foods employees:

  • Team members (in charge of stocking shelves, cutting meat, preparing food, or checking out customers) make $30,000 on average
  • Team leaders (in charge of a store section and training employees) make $57,000 on average.
  • Associate team leaders (assist the team leader) make $43,000 on average
  • Store team leaders (store managers) make $99,000 on average
  • Associate store team leaders (assist store team leaders) make $73,000 on average

“When you reveal a pay structure very transparently ... sometimes things aren’t just. And people will complain about it. And that gives you an opportunity to correct it,” Mackey said. “At other times, though, [the pay] is correct, and you can defend it. And then you’re pointing out to people what the organization most values and rewards.”

Many companies “believe that [wage transparency] is going to stoke envy. So it’s better to try to keep it hidden. I believe envy can be a problem, but I think about it differently,” Mackey said.

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