A well-paying job may seem increasingly out of reach for many Americans, especially after years of stagnant incomes.
The good news: Many U.S. companies are paying handsome salaries, as well as offering career opportunities and challenges. Yet getting a foot in the door won't be easy for most workers. The country's highest-paying employers tend to cluster in a few industries, such as technology and consulting, where education, training, and skills are key, according to a survey from employment site Glassdoor.
Hiring at these firms is competitive, which means candidates need to prove they're the cream of the crop to score a job offer. Many of the companies demand that employees put in long hours, and the level of job stress can be high. Nevertheless, these employers offer the types of career opportunities that are lacking in many lower-paying sectors, such as retail or manufacturing, and are more resilient against the impact of automation.
Read on to learn about America's 11 top-paying employers.
11. Juniper Networks: $150,000
Median total compensation at networking company Juniper Networks is $150,000, although the median base pay stands at $138,500.
Tech skills are in demand at this Silicon Valley-based company, which is currently hiring engineers, but the company also is in need of finance and sales experts, according to the more than 200 job openings at Glassdoor.
10. Amazon Lab126: $152,800
Amazon Lab126 might not be as well known as its parent, Amazon.com, but chances are most Americans are familiar with its products. The unit was created in 2004 when parent Amazon started working on its Kindle e-reader. Since then, the hardware engineering group has created the Kindle Fire, Kindle TV and other products.
Median total pay at the company is $152,800, while the median base pay is $130,500.
9. McKinsey & Co.: $153,000
McKinsey is an influential and secretive name in the corporate consulting world, handling organizational assessments for some of the world's biggest companies. It's also known for its all-star lineup of former employees, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Median total compensation is $153,000, while the median base pay is $140,000.
8. NVIDIA: $154,000
NVIDIA isn't a household name, but its invention of the graphics processing unit helped spark a revolution in computer games. The Santa Clara, California-based company has since moved onto work in artificial intelligence.
The company currently has more than 700 job openings, with many focused on engineering. Median total pay is $154,000, with the median base pay sitting slightly below that, at $150,000.
7. Facebook: $155,000
The massive social-media network is known not only for sweet perks, but also hefty salaries. Benefits include classes, free meals and snacks, and a generous leave policy, including leave for employees who have lost family members.
The company's median total pay is $155,000, while the base pay stands at $130,000.
6. Google: $155,250
After starting out in search, the tech giant branched out into services including cloud storage and its Android mobile operating system. While Google was notorious for its tough on-the-spot brain teasers during job interviews ("how many golf balls fit inside a 747?"), the company has since backed away from that hiring technique.
The median total compensation at Google is $155,250, while the median base salary is $120,000.
5. Cadence Design Systems: $156,702
Cadence Design Systems helps make electronics and digital devices work. Its software is used for designing the semiconductors that can be found in everything from cars to smartphones.
Median total pay stands at $156,702, while the median base pay is $141,202.
4. Splunk: $161,100
Splunk works on the types of data that are created by today's technology-driven world. The company analyzes everything from clickstreams to network activity to find business insights.
The tech company's median total pay is $160,010, while the median base pay is $132,500.
3. VMware: $167,050
VMware works on cloud and virtualization software, which helps computers run multiple programs or operating systems at the same time. The company's median total pay is $167,050, while its median base pay stands at $136,750.
2. Strategy&: $172,000
Strategy& is ranked second for the second year in a row in Glassdoor's annual survey of top-paying companies. The consulting company bears a relatively new name, which was rechristened after consulting firms Booz & Co. and PwC created a new firm.
The median total compensation is $172,000, while the median base salary is $152,000.
1. A.T. Kearney: $175,000
A.T. Kearney holds the No. 1 spot in Glassdoor's annual rankings, edging ahead of rival consulting firms Strategy& and McKinsey as the nation's highest-paying company. A.T. Kearney is noted for recruiting students from top colleges such as Harvard, as well as professionals with specific industry experience.
The company pays median total compensation of $175,000, while its base salary is $150,000.