The Swedish clothing retailer H&M; has launched its first national recruiting campaign in the U.S. as it looks to hire thousands of new employees to staff the 62 stores it plans to open this year. And as part of that campaign, it is boasting about the benefits it offers workers that look different than most available to retail employees.
In a press release about the campaign, the company states, “H&M; strives to offer employees the best work environments and highly-competitive compensation packages, on average hourly wages for entry-level positions are well-above minimum wage and an internal promotion policy that resulted in over 4,500 promotions in the United States in the last five years.”
Indeed, H&M; employees make at least $9.48 an hour and the average hourly pay is $12.03 for full-time employees and $10.76 for part timers. By contrast, median pay for retail workers is $10.29 and 14 percent of the country’s minimum wage workers earning $7.25 an hour are employed in the industry.
But the company’s compensation stands out in other ways. The recruiting ads talk up the company’s time off policies, which give full-time employees three weeks of paid vacation, seven paid sick days, and six paid holidays off the bat and the ability to eventually earn up to five weeks of vacation. Part-time employees may not get as much time off, but it does offer vacation and paid holidays to them. (It didn’t respond to an inquiry about how much time off they get.)
By contrast, sales employees in America are among those less likely to get paid sick days, vacation days, and holidays from their employers, as are low-wage workers generally. Full-time H&M; employees also get parental leave pay, something that just 12 percent of America’s workforce has access to.
The company also offers all employees 401(k) plans with “a generous company match” and it gives full-time workers medical and dental insurance.
The benefits may be unusual for the industry, but some other companies have realized that offering better compensation can help attract talent. Last year, The Gap said it would raise employees’ pay to $10 an hour to attract and retain workers, and Walmart and the owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls made similar changes this year. Research backs them all up, showing that paying workers more leads to better job candidates and lower turnover.
H&M;’s pay practices stand out in other countries as well. It is the largest purchaser of garments from Bangladesh, home of the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed more than 1,000 people in 2013. After the tragedy, the company signed on to a legally binding, union-backed agreement to upgrade safety and has backed higher wages for the country’s garment industry, even saying it would raise its own prices to pay workers more.