Almost every day, nearly 112 million Americans wake up and go to work. The vast majority of them do so to put a roof over their head, food on the table, and otherwise support their chosen lifestyle. While full-time U.S. workers by definition clock in for at least 35 hours a week, the amount of money those workers earn for that time depends largely on the company that writes their paychecks.
The federal government has set the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour. Someone working full-time in a minimum wage job would earn just over $15,000 in an year. Many major companies pay their entry-level associates the legally required minimum, as a result, average salaries at these companies are often less than $40,000.
There are also dozens of companies at the other end of the spectrum, where entry-level workers and all other positions — from junior associates to senior management — are paid more. At these companies, the average salary across all positions extends well into the six-figure range.
To identify the 31 highest paying companies, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the average pay in over 1,200 organizations with operations in the United States from compensation data company Payscale. The companies with the highest average salaries span a range of industries, including oil and gas, financial services, and computer software.
The companies on this list offer generous compensation packages for good reason. Generally speaking, common positions at these businesses require highly skilled personnel who are in high demand. By paying high salaries, these companies can attract top talent.
Additionally, acquiring the skills needed for many jobs at high-paying companies can be expensive. A software developer at Apple, research scientist at pharmaceutical company Novartis, or drilling engineer at ExxonMobil — all companies on this list — typically have some form of an advanced degree, in addition to a bachelor’s degree. The high salaries at these companies make the initial investment in education worthwhile for potential candidates.
While the companies on this list tend to pay well, there are still jobs within them that pay relatively low salaries. These jobs tend to be lower skilled and do not represent broader salary trends across the company. For example, sales associates at Apple, a company with an average salary of $121,000, earn an average of about $29,000 year. Similarly, gas station managers for Chevron or Shell, companies where the average salaries are just under $110,000, earn less than $35,000 annually on average.