Paychecks in America vary tremendously. On average, U.S. workers earn just under $50,000 a year, which takes into account workers who live off poverty wages as well as those who earn six-figure sums. Companies in just a few sectors pay the highest wages. In the top 25 paying companies in the United States, the average salary is nearly triple the salary of the average U.S. worker.
Based on figures provided by employee review website Glassdoor, 24/7 Wall St. examined the highest paying companies in America. Consulting firm A.T. Kearney leads U.S. companies with workers reporting median total annual compensation of $167,534. Technology company Broadcom rounds out the top 25 with a median compensation of $140,000 a year — tied with Adobe.
The companies that pay their employees the most operate primarily in two industries: consulting and tech. These companies offer high salaries to attract some of the nation’s most highly-skilled workers, who demand the pay to match their expected performance. This is overwhelmingly the case with technology companies, which dominate the list, comprising 20 of the 25 highest paying jobs.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Scott Dobroski, community expert at Glassdoor, explained, “The things that move technology companies forward are big ideas, innovation, and collaboration.” Because these key qualities and expertise are very difficult to replace with automated techniques, the jobs remain in demand and the salaries remain high. By contrast, employment in health care, retail, and manufacturing positions have been increasingly vulnerable to offshoring and automation.
A high level of college education was not always needed in order to land a high-paying job, and this list would certainly have been very different 50 years ago. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, services-producing industries have grown steadily in recent decades, while goods-producing industries have slowly declined. Professions in goods-producing industries have been far more vulnerable to offshoring and automated techniques than service-producing employment.
Pay is closely tied to industry performance, and the highest paying jobs tend to be in economically healthy industries. The computer design and related services industry, which has been growing at a fast rate for several decades, is representative of the technology sector’s growth overall. Employment in the industry grew at an incredible 8% each year from 1994 to 2004. Over the next 10 years through 2014, the industry’s employment grew at a 3.4% annual pace, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By contrast, employment for all jobs is projected to grow at an annual rate of under 1% from 2014 through 2024.
With skyrocketing demand for qualified technology workers, companies are engaged in a talent war over the short supply of prospective employees. Even Walmart — a company that frequently faces accusations of underpaying its employees, and perhaps the most unlikely company on this list — runs its technology arm, Walmart eCommerce, out of Silicon Valley and pays those workers competitive wages. “The hunt for talent is serious and active no matter what the name is on your door,” Dobroski said.
Immunity of a job to being replaced by automation also applies to consulting positions, which comprise the remainder of the list with the exception of Visa, a financial services company. Dobroski explained that while consulting firms do not get the same level of attention as technology companies, consulting relies heavily on skills that are not likely to be automated any time soon. There are also very high barriers to entry for both new consulting firms and job applicants. Clients often demand a high level of experience, and the highest paid employees at consulting firms frequently come with extremely valuable personal relationships and connections, which, again, are impossible to automate.
To identify the 25 highest paying jobs in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed Glassdoor’s 25 Highest Paying Companies in America for 2016. The report is based on reported salaries and compensation figures by employees of U.S.-based companies with at least 50 salary reports on Glassdoor over the past 12 months. Only companies for which all forms of compensation were reported were considered. Total compensation includes annual salary as well as cash bonuses, commission, and tips.
These are America’s highest paying companies.