What you can make working at Trader Joe's

Trader Joe’s has maybe essentially the most upbeat and quirky company persona of any American grocery retailer, and it boasts a cult-like following of devoted clients because of its approachable ambiance and delectable product vary. Shoppers favor the Aldi-owned model’s small however whimsical neighborhood shops for his or her low costs, numerous vary of distinctive private-label merchandise, and pleasant Hawaiian-shirt-clad employees.

Interestingly, Trader Joe’s provides a fraction of the full variety of merchandise held in a conventional grocery retailer; most TJ’s places inventory about 2,000–3,000 complete SKUs at any given time, whereas a typical grocer like Safeway or Kroger may inventory between 25,000 and 30,000. 

Related: UPS driver wage: How a lot you’d make driving the massive brown truck

Nevertheless, the merchandise the chain does supply — particularly its eclectic, store-brand choices like Vegan Tikka Masala and Kung Pao Tempura Cauliflower — are well-loved by the model’s devotees because of their selection and uniqueness. Sample stations providing small cups of espresso alongside bite-sized parts of dishes that includes new merchandise and seasonal objects add to the attract of the Trader Joe’s buying expertise.

Trader Joe’s is beloved by its clients for its workers’ friendliness, so potential candidates ought to have a buyer service-centric mindset. 

Moon/Bloomberg by way of Getty Images

It’s no surprise that the informal island vibe, small shops, and modest inventory listing appeal to a plethora of job-seekers to Trader Joe’s, which has over 50,000 workers and 560 retail places throughout the U.S. as of 2023. But how a lot is the beginning pay? What does the advantages bundle appear to be? And does the Hawaiian shirt include the job?

Working on the ship: The Trader Joe’s retailer hierarchy defined

Trader Joe’s is a singular employer within the grocery panorama in that employees’ roles aren’t very strictly outlined — workers aren’t normally assigned to particular departments, and everybody who works there does a bit of little bit of every little thing. Oh, and the entire job titles are crusing metaphors. Here’s a breakdown of the shop hierarchy, from crew to captain.


Most who begin working at Trader Joe’s start as Crew Members and normally put on Trader Joe’s t-shirts with the model’s signature floral motif, though some might put on button-up Hawaiian shirts. Crew Members are jacks of all trades, so to talk — they work together with clients, work as cashiers, inventory and face objects, unload deliveries, break down pallets, and do no matter else wants doing. All fingers on deck!


A Merchant is basically a Crew Member with a customer support focus. They are workers who know the shop and its merchandise inside-out and are available to reply any buyer queries. Merchants virtually all the time put on a collared, short-sleeve, button-up Hawaiian shirt and should have a better pay cap or be eligible for extra advantages than a typical Crew Member.

Typically, Merchants work throughout open hours slightly than opening or closing shifts, and so they have the identical duties and tasks as different crew members however prioritize customer support and buyer interplay over different duties.

Interestingly, most TJ’s shops have discontinued the Merchant place, however Merchants can nonetheless be present in sure places. In some circumstances, a Captain or Mate (extra on these quickly) might step down from their submit and into the Merchant function.


Trader Joe’s describes Mates as “assistant store leaders.” They prepare crew members, assign duties, and choose up slack wherever they’re wanted. Most Mates (78%) are internally promoted Crew Members, normally with two or extra years of expertise, however some are employed externally with out having first been a Crew Member.

Most shops have between 8 and 12 complete mates, with 3 to 4 working at any given time. In many circumstances, troublesome duties like write-ups and dismissals are tasked to Mates, whereas in different circumstances, retailer Captains deal with these types of points.


Each retailer has a single Captain, who’s all the time a former Mate promoted from inside. Captains are basically retailer managers and are tasked with overseeing their retailer’s technique and operations and growing and directing their crew with the assistance of their Mates.

Captains are sometimes anticipated to be of their retailer round 50 hours per week and be on-call for retailer “emergencies” always, though in accordance with Trader Joe’s Crew Members, some Captains are way more hands-on than others, and lots of don’t come into the shop practically as typically as is perhaps anticipated. Some Captains deal with hiring and firing, whereas others delegate these duties to their Mates.

How a lot does Trader Joe’s pay?

Starting pay for a Crew Member at Trader Joe’s varies by expertise and site, and beginning wages are typically a bit larger in areas with larger prices of residing. Mates and Captains earn greater than Crew Members, and administrative workplace positions, that are few, sometimes include even larger pay.

Below are beginning pay ranges for jobs the corporate had out there in quite a lot of places as of November 2023.


Starting pay for Crew Members varies geographically however sometimes falls someplace between $15 and $22 per hour. According to the corporate’s web site, efficiency evaluations are performed twice a yr, and workers may earn pay raises of round 7% yearly.

Here are some precise beginning pay ranges for positions listed on TJ’s careers website in November 2023:

  • Boston, MA: $17.00-20.00 per hour
  • Burlington, VT: $16.00-21.00 per hour
  • Davis, CA: $17.00-22.00 per hour
  • Denver, CO: $18.00-20.00 per hour
  • Scottsdale, AZ: $17.00-19.00 per hour
  • Little Rock, AK: $14.00-18.00 per hour
  • Washington, DC: $17.00-19.00 per hour

Trader Joe’s provides a enjoyable, pleasant, and fast-paced work atmosphere, however in accordance with some, the work may be bodily demanding.

Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg by way of Getty Images


Starting wages for mates additionally differ however sometimes land someplace within the $24 to $32 per hour vary.

  • Ardmore, PA: $24.00-28.00 per hour
  • Huntsville, AL: $24.00-28.00 per hour
  • Indianapolis, IN: $24.00-26.00 per hour
  • Ithaca, NY: $24.00-30.00 per hour
  • Lafayette, CA: $27.00-31.00 per hour
  • Minneapolis, MN: $24.00-29.00 per hour
  • Pinole, CA: $27.00-32.00 per hour


Trader Joe’s doesn’t listing open Captain positions on its careers web site, so we have now to show to different sources for wage estimates.

Career web site Glassdoor, which estimates common salaries primarily based on person information, pins the common retailer Captain wage at round $79,000, however that is possible inaccurate, as each Trader Joe’s workers and Business Insider point out a lot larger pay. 

View the unique article to see embedded media.

Multiple Reddit customers on the subreddit r/TJCrew — a message board utilized by present, former, and potential Trader Joe’s workers — claimed in late 2023 that every one retailer Captains nationwide get a base wage of $130,000 per yr no matter location and are eligible for performance-based bonuses on prime of that.

On the opposite hand, a summer season 2023 article in Business Insider states that retailer Captains can earn a base wage of $104,756 plus bonuses that common round $16,351, touchdown complete annual compensation at about $121,000.

Office and administrative roles

While the overwhelming majority of TJ’s workers work in one of many chain’s many native grocery shops, the corporate does rent workplace and administrative employees, lots of whom work from the corporate’s places of work at its Monrovia, California headquarters or in its Massachusetts places of work.

Most Trader Joe’s workplace roles are exempt salaried positions, however sure positions are non-exempt and obtain an hourly wage. Here are a number of examples of workplace jobs that have been open as of November 2023 and their beginning wage ranges:

  • Sr. Accounts Payable Clerk (CA): $20.00-30.00 per hour
  • Business License And Accounting Coordinator (CA): $25.00-40.00 per hour
  • Replenishment Produce Buyer (MA): $75,000-85,000 per yr
  • Workers’ Compensation Supervisor (CA): $65,000-95,000
  • Human Resources Generalist (CA): $80,000-95,000
  • Inventory & Operations Planning Manager (CA): $100,000-150,000
  • Senior Accounting Manager (CA): $135,000-175,000 per yr

What advantages does Trader Joe’s supply workers?

Trader Joe’s is well-known for retaining workers—typically for many years. In 2022, TJ’s was ranked the third-best giant employer in retail and wholesale by Forbes. In 2019, firm president Jon Basalone acknowledged “we’ve been around for over 50 years, and we’ve never had layoffs … with the pay, benefits and supportive, fun environment … people tend to want to stick around.”

Here’s a better take a look at among the essential advantages and perks TJ’s workers get. 

Health advantages

Trader Joe’s workers who work a mean of no less than 28 hours per week are eligible for employer-sponsored well being, dental, and imaginative and prescient insurance coverage, reportedly with very inexpensive premiums (the corporate foots the majority of the invoice). 

View the unique article to see embedded media.

Health advantages

Trader Joe’s workers who work a mean of no less than 28 hours per week are eligible for employer-sponsored well being, dental, and imaginative and prescient insurance coverage, reportedly with very inexpensive premiums (the corporate foots the majority of the invoice).

On profession web sites like Glassdoor and message boards like r/TJCrew, many present and former workers report that the medical insurance choices provided by the grocery chain are one of the best they’ve come throughout in an hourly service place when it comes to price and protection. According to the corporate’s web site, worker premiums may be as little as $25 per thirty days.

Financial advantages

Trader Joe’s, like many employers, provides a tax-advantaged sponsored 401(okay) retirement financial savings account. Apparently, workers who work 700 or extra hours in a yr are eligible for a 401(okay) bonus from the corporate no matter worker contributions. The actual quantity is unclear, however some sources report that the corporate contributes the equal of as much as 10% of an worker’s annual pay, which could be very excessive in comparison with most employer contributions, particularly contemplating that matching worker contributions are usually not required.

These contributions, nevertheless, should vest over time earlier than they are often withdrawn, and as with all 401(okay) accounts, early withdrawals, even of absolutely vested employer contributions, are liable to penalty charges.

Time off

According to the corporate’s web site, Trader Joe’s contributes “3.6% to 7.5% (based on tenure) to each Crew Member’s paid time-off account — or around 5 to 10 days a year.” Earned PTO doesn’t expire, so workers who need to can reserve it up for prolonged intervals of depart.

Other perks

According to TJ’s web site, workers get a retailer low cost as much as 20% that’s legitimate in any respect retailer places. Crew Members additionally get a complimentary membership cross to quite a lot of gyms by way of their medical insurance. According to many present and previous workers, free meals and employees tastings are widespread, and scheduling is comparatively versatile usually.

What are the necessities to work at Trader Joe’s?

While jobs at Trader Joe’s are pretty accessible, comparatively talking, there are some necessities that might preclude some people from consideration. First, candidates have to be no less than 18 years of age and maintain a highschool diploma or equal to be thought of, so youthful aspiring grocers might have to attend a number of years, and adults and not using a highschool diploma might must cross their GED earlier than making use of.

Additionally, Crew Members are anticipated to be pleasant and talkative and should possess wonderful customer support expertise, so those that aren’t keen on face-to-face buyer interplay might not do properly on the job. Crew Members additionally usually should unload and inventory merchandise, break down bins and pallets, and raise heavy packages, so these with sure bodily limitations may discover the job troublesome.

What are the downsides to working at Trader Joe’s?

Most complaints about working at TJ’s fall into certainly one of two classes — bodily pressure or psychological exhaustion.

View the unique article to see embedded media.

Crew members and mates are on their ft, lifting, stocking, bagging, and ringing clients up, and lots of report soreness and bodily exhaustion, particularly throughout their first month or so on the job. Others tire extra simply of the client interplay that’s such a central a part of the model’s id. As anybody who has labored in retail is aware of, placing on a cheerful and excitable demeanor for hours at a time isn’t any simple activity, and sometimes, the stress to take action may cause vital psychological pressure.

For those that like motion, train, and interpersonal interplay, Trader Joe’s may very well be a beautiful place to work, however for people who battle with bodily and interpersonal exertion, the Trader Joe’s Crew is probably not the right match.

Frequently requested questions (FAQ)

Below are solutions to among the most typical questions potential candidates have about working at Trader Joe’s that weren’t addressed within the sections above.

What does it imply when the bell rings at Trader Joe’s?

Those who’ve shopped at TJ’s have in all probability seen that whereas intercom bulletins are noticeably absent, ringing bells are widespread. The use of a bell as a substitute of an intercom truly ties into the model’s nautical theme — sailors and seafaring retailers used to make use of bells to speak over the roar of the seas.

When the bell rings as soon as, it indicators {that a} Crew Member ought to open an extra register. When it rings twice, it means a buyer has a query that wants answering. Three rings of the bell summons a Mate to the register.

Four bells, in accordance with some workers, unofficially signifies a rush and means “all hands on deck!”

Why do Trader Joe’s workers put on Hawaiian shirts?

While many Crew Members at TJ’s don’t put on full-on button-up Hawaiian shirts — many simply put on the model’s flower-branded t-shirts — Merchants, Mates, and Captains virtually all the time do. Unsurprisingly, the worker apparel can be a nod to the model’s nautical theme, which was impressed partially by the guide “White Shadows in the South Seas” in accordance with the corporate’s late founder, Joe Coulombe, for whom Trader Joe’s is known as.

The model’s web site refers to its Crew Members as “adventurous traders on the culinary seas,” and the Hawaiian shirts are only one extra method so as to add to the shops’ whimsical, nautical attract.

Is Trader Joe’s open on holidays?

Trader Joe’s shops are closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas annually, that means all Crew Members get today off.

Source: www.thestreet.com”