This article was written by Claire Gordon and originally appeared on AOL Jobs.
Every villain needs a hero, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
(NYSE:WMT) and Costco Wholesale Corporation
(NASDAQ:COST) have become the dark lord and white knight of low-budget retail. In recent months, Wal-Mart 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
Wal-Mart: $8.53 [Glassdoor
Costco: $15.60 [Glassdoor
Average Pay for Low-Level Managerial Position
Wal-Mart: $44,774 [Glassdoor, assistant store manager]
Costco: $53,956 [Glassdoor, supervisor]
Number Of Employees Receiving Health Insurance Coverage
Wal-Mart: "More than half" of employees. [Businessweek
Costco: 88% of employees. [Businessweek
Wal-Mart: 37% [self-reported
Costco: 24% [InvestorPlace
Position on the Minimum Wage
Wal-Mart: 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:
Wal-Mart: "Nearly three-quarters of our store management teams started out in hourly positions." [The Huffington Post
Costco: 70% 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)
Wal-Mart: $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
Wal-Mart: Up 1.1% [Wall Street Journal
Costco: Up 19% [NBC News
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What an Ex-Google Intern Thinks of 'The Internship'
Required to 'Friend' the Boss? More States Say No
No positions in stocks mentioned.