Working at Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks: Which is a better place to work?

Wal-Mart and Starbucks are some of the biggest companies in America with different cultures and operations. I have been intrigued with the two companies in the past and I embarked on a journey to find out what differences and similarities both companies share. So many workers out there are always torn between the two, but at the end of this post we shall find out the pros and cons of working in the two environments and what to expect if one was to choose either, so keep reading.

What are the differences between working at Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks


Wal-Mart(Based on 98,969 reviews)

Starbucks(Based on 52,827 reviews)

Work-life balance


53% of Wal-Mart employees feel burned out and do not have a good work-life balance


More than half of employees at Starbucks enjoy a good work-life balance

Career Opportunities


Wal-Mart offers many employees great careers from junior to senior positions


Starbucks offers amazing careers for first jobs and advancement for experienced workers

Compensations and employee benefits


Wal-Mart has great perks in discounts, 6% 401K match, and advance pay


Starbucks has some of the best benefits in the world that include a hefty health insurance, commuter allowance, discounts, and free tuition fees

Positive business outlook


Most employees have a negative business outlook at Wal-Mart, with only 46% having a positive business outlook


Starbucks employees rated their positive business outlook at 54%, which is 8% higher than Wal-Mart

Culture and values


The culture is nice and friendly, with the most emphasis on customer satisfaction.


The culture is warm, friendly, and inclusive, with employees being valued

Job security and advancement


This company has a development program for growing skills and a clear career ladder

great job security


Starbucks has great job security

The 4-year free online degree offers opportunities for career advancement within and without.

CEO approval


Doug McMillon


Howard Schultz

Job Postings

Over 19,914 current openings as of September 2022 on Glassdoor

Over 26,718 current openings as of September 2022 on Glassdoor


Cashier – $13 hourly

Dept. manager -$17 hourly

Manager $97,040 yearly

Barista $15hourly

Shift supervisor $19hourly

Manager $82,369Yearly

Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks-How does working there compare?

Work-life balance

Work-life balance is rated at 25% of similar-size companies as reviewed by 53% of the employees. The majority of the workers at Wal-Mart work for 8 hours and below, with only about 3% working for 12 hours. The majority of the employees feel like they are burnt out.

At Starbucks, over 80% of employees work for 8 hours a day. Most of the employees at the coffee chain stated that they can study part-time while still working. The employees at Walmart are not as satisfied with their work-life balance as compared to their counterparts at Starbucks.

Starbucks stands out and jumps at the top in this debate.

Career opportunities

Walmart is an equal opportunity employer giving employment opportunities to many people from all walks of life. Career advancement opportunities, according to current and ex-employees are said to be dependent on individual work progress and merit. According to Glassdoor, the career opportunity is rated at 3.3.

Starbucks has a great opportunity for first-time baristas. The coffee chain is known to intensively train its staff and equip them with lifetime skills. With so many franchises and own stores spread all over the world, job opportunities and career advancement opportunities are always popping up for current and aspiring employees. The Starbucks employee reviews rate the career opportunities at 3.5.

Starbucks takes this one, as both the current and ex-employees think career advancement opportunities are easier to come by.

Compensations and employee benefits

Walmart offers great employee benefits that make their work worthwhile. The store offers employees a 10% discount on generally priced general merchandise, a 6% 401(k) match to all employees, including part-time workers after one year, and advanced payments before payday.

Starbucks offers employees a wide range of health insurance options for partners and their dependents. Both retail and non-retail partners are eligible for paid vacation days, where the company pays 1.5 times their base salaries for any hours worked during vacation. Eligible partners are also allowed to earn a four-year online bachelor’s degree with 100% tuition cover at the Arizona State University. Commuter benefits are also given to partners for convenience.

With Glassdoor rating Starbucks at 3.8, it’s safe to say that Starbucks wins this round.

Positive business outlook

Walmart’s business outlook is rated 46% by a sample of its former and current employees. The majority of the workers look forward to working each day. The only stain on their resume is the outlook from outside, where most employees say the store isn’t seen in a good light.

Starbucks refers to its employees as partners and not employees. This ensures that they feel part of the coffee chain and are eligible to own stocks. Partners in Starbucks always look forward to a day of work since they feel valued by the company.

Starbucks has a commitment to uplifting humanity through community involvement, which sets them apart and gives a positive outlook. The partners at the coffee chain rank their business outlook at an impressive 54%.

According to the statistics above, Starbucks wins this round.

Culture and values

Walmart has what it calls a “10-foot rule”. This means that every customer who comes within 10 feet of an employee should be greeted with a smile and offered some help around the store. There is also an open door policy that allows all employees to be heard, in case they have suggestions, observations, or concerns about operations or service delivery.

Starbucks is committed to a culture of diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility. Starbucks’ mission is to inspire and nurture the human spirit one cup, one person, and one neighborhood at a time. Their policy of hiring 5000 veterans and military spouses each year is quite impressive and makes the coffee chain an industry leader. The company has a strict inclusion policy for the minority, vulnerable people, and the LGBTQ community.

Starbucks takes this round by a landslide.

Job security and Advancement

Working at Starbucks

Wal-Mart is ranked at 3.2 according to 228,000 reviews on Indeed. Half of the employees enjoy job security, including the sales department. The company offers a career ladder through a development program that adds skills to workers.

Starbucks is rated 3.9 by 54,695 reviews on Indeed. These are current and former employees and over 70% feel that the job security is good and advancement opportunities are available. People do not get dismissed without valid reasons at Starbucks, and there is a procedure to be followed.

In this category, Starbucks carries the day with 0.7 higher rating than Wal-Mart.

CEO approval

62% of employees at Walmart believe that their CEO is the best and is doing a great job. Doug McMillon is the current CEO of Walmart and is the fifth CEO on the retail giant since 2014. Over half of the employees are pleased with him, while the remaining 38% feel that he is not a good fit for this company.

61% of partners at Starbucks think that the man at the helm is doing a great job, with the remaining 39% having a differing opinion. Howard Schultz has been at the helm from 1986-2000, 2008-2017, and is the current interim CEO as of 2022. Most of the employees have rave reviews of their veteran CEO.

Although both CEOs are top-rated according to their employees, Walmart’s Chief executive takes the lead on this one.

Job postings

Walmart has over 19000 open job opportunities, according to Glassdoor. The openings are found on most job boards, and all qualified candidates are open to apply. The jobs can also be accessed through the company’s website and other job websites like LinkedIn. An application can only be done online, where the company saves your progress and retains your application for consideration for other befitting roles in case you don’t meet the criteria for the applied job.

Starbucks has over 26,000 job opportunities up for grabs to qualified candidates. All these are available on the company’s website since each store hires individually. All the available positions are well outlined, with their respective salaries. Once you log in to the website, the application is straightforward, and the applicant is notified whether or not their application has been successful.

Starbucks takes this round due to the ease of application and many job openings.




Sales associate $14/hr.

3912 salaries

Barista $15/hr.

22324 salaries

Department manager $17/hr.

1897 salaries

Shift supervisor $19/hr.

6101 salaries

Assistant manager $88,395

1800 salaries

Assistant manager $86,455

594 salaries

Store manager $95,422

1000 salaries

Staffing manager $76996

465 salaries

Manager $97,040

1000 salaries

General manager $82,369

79 salaries

Walmart has higher pay in mid-level and senior management than Starbucks and takes the lead in this category.

Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks-Employee Reviews

Walmart employee review

Working at Wal-Mart

These reviews are taken from Glassdoor and contain feedback from current and former Wal-Mart employees.


The benefits are great once you have been there long enough to be eligible for profit sharing. However, some of the managers were quite rude.


It is a great place to work if you don’t like going to church on Sundays due to the crazy work schedule. My co-workers were cool and made working there a little bit bearable.

Current employee

Great place to work, especially if you are in school since you can work while you study. When under a great manager, the working experience is great.

Current employee

I love working here. The pay is quite decent, plus I was able to go to school and still get a minimum of 30 hours which worked around my schedule. Some of the managers can be cruel and it is demoralizing.


I got a lot of inventory and unloading experience when I worked there. We were also given time off in case of sickness and didn’t have to pay a dime for healthcare

Starbucks Employee Reviews

Working at Wal-Mart vs. Starbucks

We took reviews of current and former employees at Starbucks from Glassdoor.


They have great benefits such as healthcare insurance. They are also flexible with their working schedule and going to school while working is very easy. It can be a little frustrating, especially during peak hours


The perks and benefits that came with the job were great. The customers were great, and my team was just phenomenal. I was there for 7 years, and wouldn’t mind returning if I got the chance.

Current employee

The benefits are great, and the working hours are very flexible. I am currently enrolled in a degree program, and the company pays all my tuition fees.

Current employee-barista

You make such great friendships with people who come into the store, and also those that are daily customers. It’s a great first job where you get to learn useful skills that open up great career opportunities.

Jordan-Former shift supervisor

The manager is quite accessible and is approachable. The fast-paced environment ensured we were never bored as we would have something to do at any time.

Final Verdict: So, which is a better place to work? -Walmart vs. Starbucks?

Starbucks is a better place to work than Walmart. With the many statistics being in favor of the coffee chain, both former and current employees are full of praises for Starbucks. Most partners, as they are fondly referred to, talk highly of the perks and benefits that come with the job. Most people will welcome the prospect of studying worry-free, with all their tuition paid for, and Starbucks offers that to its partners. Both Walmart and Starbucks have their pros and cons, but the benefits of working for Starbucks far outweigh those of working for Walmart.


Does Walmart provide better employee benefits than Starbucks?

No. Starbucks offers better employee benefits than Walmart such as an expansive health insurance.

Does Walmart value its customers more than Starbucks?

No, both outlets value their customers equally and demonstrates this through their generous perks.

Which company invests more in its employees between Starbucks and Walmart?

Starbucks invests more in its employees as compared to Walmart in terms of pay rates, benefits, and a conducive working environment.

Which company provides a better working environment between Walmart and Starbucks?

Starbucks has a better track record of providing a better working environment for its partners through better hours and compensation.

Which company values its employees more between Walmart and Starbucks?

Starbucks values its employees more than Walmart through inclusivity, benefits, and pay rates.

Which employees are likely to recommend their workplace to a friend, Starbucks, or Walmart employees?

Starbucks employees are more likely to recommend their workplace to a friend at 70% according to our reviews, compared to Walmart’s 58%.

Are Walmart’s employees more satisfied with their salaries than Starbucks’?

No, Starbucks employees are more satisfied with their salaries than Walmart employees, as Starbucks’ rates are higher.

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