With many families suffering from stagnating or declining wages, lots of workers wonder where they might get a foothold in the American dream of higher wages and a comfortable life.
It's no surprise that some companies tend to pay more than others. Trying to get ahead as a rank-and-file fast-food worker, for instance, probably isn't going to pay off. But at a number of companies, high salaries and good benefits are the norm, according to a new survey from employment site Glassdoor.
The catch, however, is that earning a role at one of those companies will take training, education and skills. Their hiring is competitive, which means job candidates need to be at the top of their game to earn an offer. The two industries that dominate the list of the country's highest-paying companies are technology and consulting.
"Salaries are sky-high at consulting companies due to 'barriers of entry' in this field, which refers to employers wanting top consultants to have personal contacts, reputations and specialized skills and knowledge," said Glassdoor chief economist Andrew Chamberlain in a statement. "In technology, we continue to see unprecedented salaries as the war for talent is still very active, largely due to the ongoing shortage of highly skilled workers needed."
Salaries are top factors for people who are considering accepting a new job, but Glassdoor said its research has found that pay isn't a leading concern when it comes to job satisfaction. Once in the job, issues such as culture, values and carer opportunities rank higher.
Glassdoor's corporate pay survey is based on wage information reported by U.S.-based workers during the past year.
Read on to learn about the companies that pay the most in America.
11. Visa: $150,000
The credit card company offers median total compensation of $150,000, while the median base salary is $130,000, according to Glassdoor. While Visa is a financial company, it hires many technology experts such as programmers and software engineers, given that the payment industry has shifted into the digital world.
10. Cadence Design Systems: $150,010
While not a household name, Cadence Design Systems helps make electronics and digital devices work. The company creates software for designing the semiconductors that can be found in everything from cars to smartphones.
The San Jose, California-based company pays median total compensation of $150,010, while the median base salary is $140,000.
9. Guidewire: $150,020
The tech company specializes in creating software for the insurance industry. The Foster City, California-based Guidewire pays median total compensation of $150,020, while its median base salary is $135,000.
8. Boston Consulting Group: $150,020
Alumni of this prestigious consulting firm include Mitt Romney, who worked for the firm in the 1970s. Hires tend to come from Ivy League or competitive colleges, such as Harvard and MIT, and the job interview typically requires candidates to solve a problem on the spot.
The median total compensation is $150,020, while the median base salary for Boston Consulting Group employees is $147,000.
7. Amazon Lab126: $150,100
Amazon Lab126 was created in 2004 when parent Amazon started working on the Kindle. Since then, the hardware engineering group has created the Kindle Fire, Kindle TV and other products.
The median total compensation is $150,100, while the median base salary is $138,700.
6. VMware: $152,133
This Palo Alto, California-based company creates cloud and virtualization software, which helps computers run multiple programs or operating systems at the same time. The company pays median total compensation of $152,133, while the median base salary is $130,000.
5. Google: $153,750
The tech giant started out in search but has branched out into services including cloud storage and its Android mobile operating system. A few years ago, Google was notorious for its tough on-the-spot brain teasers during job interviews ("how many golf balls fit inside a 747?"), although the company has since backed away from that technique.
The median total compensation at Google is $153,750, while the median base salary is $123,331.
4. McKinsey & Co.: $155,000
Like Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey is another big name in the corporate consulting world. Many of its former employees have gone onto top roles within corporations, such as Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
The median total compensation at McKinsey is $155,000, while the median base salary is $135,000.
3. Juniper Networks: $157,000
Sunnyvale, California-based Juniper Networks is known for its networking products, such as switches and routers. The median total compensation is $157,000, while the median base salary is $135,000.
2. Strategy&: $160,000
The name Strategy& may not be familiar because it's the relatively new name for Booz & Co., another consulting company similar to McKinsey and Boston Consulting Group. One of its best known cases was helping rescue Chrysler from bankruptcy.
Strategy& was created in 2014 when Booz merged with PwC to create a new firm. The median total compensation is $160,000, while the median base salary is $147,000.
1. A.T. Kearney: $167,534
Management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, a competitor of Strategy& and McKinsey, takes the No. 1 spot as the nation's best paying company. Students from top schools such as Harvard Business School are often recruited to the company as well as professionals with specific expertise.
The company pays median total compensation of $167,534, while its base salary is $143,620.
A number of other companies also made the list of top-paying corporations. Those ranked from the 12th through 25th spots are listed below, along with their median total compensation.
12. Facebook: $150,000
13. Twitter: $150,000
14. Box: $150,000
15. Walmart eCommerce: $149,000
16. SAP: $148,431
17. Synopsys: $148,000
18. Altera: $147,000
19. LinkedIn: $145,000
20. Cloudera: $145,000
21. Salesforce: $143,750
22. Microsoft: $141,000
23. F5 Networks: $140,200
24. Adobe: $140,000
25. Broadcom: $140,000