When it comes to how workers rank their employers for compensation and benefits, it's not always the top-paying companies that win out.
While many Silicon Valley tech giants rank among the top 25 companies for compensation and benefits, there are also a few old-school employers on the list, which was compiled by employment-site Glassdoor.
Take retailer Costco (COST), which ranks as the second-best company for pay and benefits, trailing slightly behind search giant Google (GOOG). Sure, Costco employees on average make far less than their Google counterparts, but workers give the retailer high scores for paying well above the minimum-wage levels of competitors and for providing health insurance for both full- and part-time workers.
"Costco does seem surprising, but it brings home the fact that with benefits and perks, it's not all one-size-fits-all," said Allyson Willoughby, senior vice president of people for Glassdoor. "The things that are right for a Costco hire aren't the right things" for tech companies like Facebook (FB) (ranked No. 3 on the list) or Adobe (ADBE) (No. 4).
The average annual salary for a Google product manager is $146,215, according to Glassdoor data. The average hourly pay for a front-end cashier at Costco, by comparison, is $16.07 an hour.
Costco has become something of a darling among proponents for upping the retailing industry's pay, with supporters pointing out that the company juggles profitability and contented workers, rare in an industry known for underpaid and disgruntled workers.
Given the debate about raising the federal minimum wage, it may not be a coincidence that no other retailer made the list, and not a single fast-food company broke into the top 25. Some fast-food workers are protesting for higher hourly wages, arguing that their pay -- often close to the baseline rate of $7.25 -- means living in poverty.
"There were a couple of national debates that prompted us to run this survey," Willoughby noted. "One is about fair pay and pay inequality, and the other is the whole health-care debate."
The survey illustrates that even if you can't offer Silicon Valley-level pay, offering perks and benefits that separate your business from competitors can help workers feel valued. For instance, offering flexible work schedules or a program to allow people to take a day off to volunteer might raise employees' morale, Willoughby noted.
Health insurance is also an important issue for employees, she added.
One company on the list, Union Pacific (UNP) (No. 24), made the cut because of its generous pension plan, she said. One respondent cited the company's potential for raises and pensions for non-union jobs as a reason why the employee felt valued.
Below are a list of the top 25 U.S. companies for compensation and benefits:
12. Kaiser Permanente
21. Southern California Edison
24. Union Pacific