CVS vs. Walgreens: Who’s got the better cure?

Susanna Kahr

It’s 2am and you have a strong cold, or maybe you need a new nail polish for the party. Perhaps it’s neither, and you want to stock up on Halloween candy and some cleaning supplies. We all know where to go: our nearest drugstore. Do you go to CVS or to Walgreens? Needless to say, it matters not which store you choose to get your cough medicine from, since they’ll probably be good from either, but which of them is the better employer? Are the benefits as sweet as their candy? Is team-work as strong as their painkillers? Let’s put them to a challenge and see what people are saying on kununu:

CVS: Consumer Value or Employee Value?

Founded 56 years ago in Masechussets and known as Consumer Value Stores, CVS has since become a household name with 9,967 store locations around the United States. That many locations raises the question of employee satisfaction and whether the company does a good job in creating a solid place to work for their many employees. With an overall rating of 3.32 and a recommendation rate of 57% on kununu, it’s clear to see that the results are very mixed. One employee says that there is a generally good culture at work, but only if you are willing to be fast and work hard. Other employees talk about management saying: “There is a huge lack of communication and employees are treated as disposable assets.” It becomes clear that although employees aren’t unhappy with their co-workers and their tasks, there is, however, a distinct dissatisfaction with the workload and management. On the topic of workload, one employee says, “Great company. However, people are overworked. Wish they had better benefits.” The pay at CVS was also mentioned to be below what most employees believe they deserved. With all of the critical reviews kept firm in my mind, we did stumble across one very happy employee who said, “It is a fun, character-building job that pays well and offers you a great experience at dealing with this line of work.While work-life balance and benefits seem to be a critical factor in CVS’ success as an employer, they do get a high score inclusivity and diversity and workplace safety, the two aspects rated the highest compared to others. How does Walgreens compare? Let’s first take a look at all of the scores for CVS before we find out:


Walgreens: Is second the best?

Our competitor Walgreens, is the second largest pharmacy retailer in the United States. Second behind CVS but much older, having been founded a rich 118 years ago in Chicago, Illinois. It might come second in size, but does it come second in employer satisfaction? From what many employees are saying on kununu, that doesn’t seem to be the case. With a 3.43 overall score and a 64% recommendation rate, Walgreens employees know what they think and what they want. Some employees at Walgreens believe there could be better policies in place, but are ultimately happy with the pay and benefits which evens out the critical points in their review. One employee praised Walgreens for being a good place if you want to work independently saying: “Freedom to work independently. They do not hover over you while working.” This is something that many people who work in retail find very important. Other employees are very enthusiastic about the company’s history and are happy with their co-workers stating: “Walgreens has led the way in retail pharmacy for decades. Each store is filled with fine, caring folks.” Although other reviewers on kununu have disagreed on the employee management focus, saying that they believe that the company is only “profit driven and their attitude towards their employees comes second.” This reflects, of course, not only on a profit driven focus, but also on a social focus, since many employees believe there should be better training and employee focused goals. Looking at the kununu rating board, Walgreens scored quite high in inclusivity and diversity and workplace safety, similar to its competitor CVS. But Walgreens stands out having a very high score in handicapped accessibility and gender equality, which definitely show the correct mindset thee company has, albeit the criticism. Before we find out our winner, take a look at the kununu board for the overall statistics.


Which retailer wins?

Both retailers are great at what they offer and what they do. But who reigns supreme in our battle as the better employer? When comparing the overall scores, it is clear to see that second is, in fact, the best, with Walgreens winning the duel. While both retailers have a lot to work on to ensure the future satisfaction of their hard working employees, Walgreens has overall more satisfied employees and a clearer edge in more progressive topics like inclusivity and accessibility. Walgreens employees are happy they get to work independently and are mostly satisfied with their pay.


Unfortunately, CVS employees are not completely satisfied with their pay and benefits, feeling the heavy workload simultaneously. There is definitely a ways to go for both companies, but we are happy to congratulate Walgreens on their tight win. CVS, we hope to see you here too, someday, but for now, we know where we are going to first when we need a painkiller and some lipgloss.



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