USAA has raised the minimum pay for its employees from $16 to $21 per hour — and is looking to hire roughly 1,500 positions in San Antonio before the end of the year.

The financial services giant announced the pay raise along with other benefit increases on Monday, days after Bank of America said it would pay its workforce a minimum of $21 an hour, and $25 an hour by 2025.

Other new benefits for USAA workers include: a childcare reimbursement program for employees making less than $100,000, a new college scholarship program for employee dependents with financial need, a new paid leave program for “family events” such as caring for a sick family member, and a family support benefit up to $20,000 to cover adoption, surrogacy, and infertility treatment expenses.

The changes come in response to a tight labor market that has affected companies across industries, prompting many businesses big and small to raise wages and offer hiring and referral bonuses.

Looming over hiring managers is what’s been dubbed the “Great Resignation,” or the “Big Quit,” in which millions of workers nationwide are leaving jobs to look for new ones, or withdraw from the workforce entirely.

“Everybody’s facing the pressures of talent attrition,” said Wendy Salmon, USAA’s senior vice president in charge of employee compensation. She said what the increase to pay and benefits does is “open opportunities.”

“These are opportunities to take care of our current talent, and have them not look elsewhere, and then its opportunities to attract that talent that might be looking to leave their current employer,” she said.

USAA’s pay bump means a more than 30% raise for the company’s lowest-paid employees, translating to a $43,680 salary given a standard 40-hour work week. The increase went into effect Oct. 10.

Out of the roughly 19,000 USAA employees in San Antonio, the pay increase affects 3,000 workers, the company confirmed.

It will not affect contract workers, also known as “red badges,” who are paid by third parties. The number of contractors USAA uses was not immediately available.

A recent Bexar Facts poll found that voters in Bexar County think a lack of well-paying jobs and affordable childcare are among the biggest challenges for local job seekers.

The pay increase and new benefits comes as USAA is also on a hiring spree. By the end of the year, the company is looking to fill 2,600 positions for service representatives, claims adjusters, data engineers and scientists, IT analysts, software engineers, and underwriters. Approximately 1,500 of those positions are in San Antonio, the company said. Others are at the company’s offices in Phoenix, Tampa, Colorado Springs, and Dallas.

Many of the positions have an option to work remotely or in a hybrid model.

Current employees can also earn a $2,000 bonus if they refer someone to work at USAA.

USAA President and CEO Wayne Peacock said in a prepared statement: “USAA’s employees are the heart of our association and providing a competitive pay and benefits package is one way we reward them for providing exceptional service to military members and their families.”

He went on to say that the increase to pay and benefits “helps ensure we’re being responsive to our employees’ needs and dynamically changing market conditions.” 

USAA is a financial supporter of the San Antonio Report. For a full list of business members, click here.

Waylon Cunningham

Waylon Cunningham writes about business and technology. Contact him at waylon@sareport.org.