Working at REI

Jan 10, 2012

People have been the heart of the co-op since we were founded by 23 mountain-loving people in 1938. They made a choice to shape their life around the outdoors, and the co-op was born.

We all believe the same thing: that a life outdoors is a life well lived. This simple idea unites us and spurs us to do business differently. That’s one reason why we give back more than 70% of our profits to our employees, members and our communities. And that’s why it’s so important to us to be an awesome place to work.

We lead our industry in providing pay and benefits that support and foster our community of employees. Our philosophy is to pay hourly retail employees above the majority of other retailers in our markets, and our benefits are best in class.

Want more proof? Hear what our employees have to say.

We lead the industry when it comes to our employees, and we have for years.

  • Our employee engagement has exceeded 85% for the last five years.
  • 96% of our employees say that they are proud to be associated with REI.
  • REI employee retention is double the industry standard.
  • Applicants for our retail jobs were up 92% in the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the prior year.

We’re committed to doing what’s right for our employees, our members and the outdoors. We make investments in these areas because we believe that when we do this well, we succeed as a business.

  • Our employees are at the center of #OptOutside—we are closing our doors and paying all 12,287 of them to reconnect outdoors with their family and friends on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • Our base pay has always been competitive, and recently we implemented a new pay philosophy to make it even more so, by targeting pay for our store employees above the majority of retailers in all of our markets. To support this change we’re increasing every store employee’s pay by mid-2017. So far, we’ve increased pay for three quarters of our employees.
  • Our hourly retail employees have more predictability in their schedule than the majority of our competitors. Schedules are posted 17 days in advance, and managers prioritize scheduling around preferred days off. And, we guarantee employees a weekly number of hours over a three-month period.

We’ve been acknowledged outside the co-op, too.

  • Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For has listed REI for 19 consecutive years, most recently at #26.
  • In 2016, Glassdoor listed REI as one of their 50 best places to work, and ranked REI #2 among the top companies for employee benefits and perks.
  • In 2016, we ranked among Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces for Millennials and 100 Best Workplaces for Women.

We offer some of the best benefits available to retail employees, focusing on health, wellness and work/life balance.

  • Employees are eligible for high quality, affordable health care benefits if they work an average of 20 hours, instead of the 30 hour average required by federal law.
  • We have a generous retirement plan. REI contributes 5% of earnings for every eligible employee, regardless of whether he or she is signed up to save a portion of their income. REI makes an additional contribution of up to 10% more, based on company profitability. You won’t find anything like it in retail.
  • Every employee is eligible for incentive pay when the co-op does well via our Summit Incentive Plan.
  • Time away from work promotes a balanced life. That’s why our benefits include paid holidays, vacations and sabbaticals. Leaves of absence are also offered to address a wide array of personal situations, even when it’s not required by state or federal law.

Nobody loves the outdoors more than REI employees. We support employees’ sense of adventure through:

  • Yay Days to all of our employees—one day off every six months to go outside.
  • Paid sabbaticals after 15 years of service and every five years after that.
  • Employee Challenge Grants, offering $300 in products for a personally-challenging outdoor activity.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 23 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. If you can’t visit one of our many stores, you can shop at, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. Everyone is welcome to shop REI, but members who join the co-op enjoy a range of benefits. More than a retailer, REI is a purpose-driven and values-led company dedicated to enabling life outside for all.