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North Texas companies are raising their minimum pay to attract workers

DFW-based companies including Southwest Airlines, the Container Store, Frito Lay are raising their minimum pay to attract new workers and keep their current staff.

DALLAS — This story originally appeared in the Dallas Business Journal.

As companies across the nation continue to face a labor shortage, many businesses including North Texas-headquartered organizations are trying to retain their workforce.  

DFW-based companies including Southwest Airlines, the Container Store, Frito Lay are raising their minimum pay to attract new workers and keep their current staff.  

The Container Store and Southwest Airlines both recently increased their minimum pay to $15.  

Southwest Airlines’ wage rise took effect Aug.1 and covers about 7,000 airport workers.  

Greg Muccio, director of talent acquisition at Southwest Airlines, said the company has not been immune to the challenging labor market. The company aims to hire about 5,300 employees by the end of the year and an additional 8,000 by the end of next year, but Muccio said the airline had trouble recruiting people over the summer. 

“We just looked across the board at those airport roles and decided that we wanted to give them all $15 an hour,” Muccio said. “It felt like that was the right thing to do for the Southwest family, and at some point, the minimum wage is probably heading that way. But for us, instead of waiting and reacting to that, we just wanted to get ahead of it and be able to reward our folks.” 

Muccio said the pay increase made it easier to recruit new workers, and the company is now about 70% closer to achieving its hiring goal for the year. 

“Folks get really focused on that per hour wage and don’t necessarily look at anything else,” Muccio said. “What the pay raise has allowed us to do is be able to have more conversations with folks and talk about the long-term ramifications of being able to work at Southwest and the upside to it.”  

John Marazio, executive vice president of human resources at the Container Store (NYSE: TCS) previously told the Dallas Business Journal that the company felt raising its minimum wage was the best way to stay competitive in the job market.  The Coppell-based retailer is also looking to hire additional regular full-time and part-time positions in its distribution centers and stores.  

“The driving force behind that decision is to make sure that we remain competitive in the job market,” Marazio said. “We saw that others were doing it, and it felt like the right thing to do.”   

Laura Maxwell, senior vice president of supply chain at PepsiCo Foods (NASDAQ: PEP) North America, said the company’s food division Frito-Lay has been raising wages throughout the year to support its frontline workers.

“We have been executing our standard annual frontline wage increases throughout 2021 and have made specific, targeted investments in select locations where needed to remain competitive in the local markets,” Maxwell said in a statement to the Business Journal. “Frito-Lay’s goal is to ensure our wage and benefit offerings are locally competitive and support our goal of attracting and retaining the best talent in every market we operate in.“ 

Frito Lay has hired 15,000 associates this year and plans to fill an additional 5,000 positions by the end of the year.  

Muccio doesn’t think the country is out of its tough labor market yet and won’t be for a while.  

“I think what makes it challenging is that you have a large segment of individuals that have not chosen to go back to work or are incredibly choosy about what they want to do,” Muccio said. “I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It just makes it more competitive especially at the hourly wage job.” 

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