Best Places to Work: Compensation and Benefits

We all want a job that gives us a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day. But the ability to provide for a family or retirement is fundamental. The vast majority of people who work need to make a living, making compensation one of the most important aspects of a job.

Much more than just a single number, compensation is a package that includes both salary and benefits. Ideally, employees will find the best possible combination of salary and benefits that makes them feel valued by their companies and—more importantly—allows them to support themselves and their families.

So which companies are raising the bar for compensation? Our data science team evaluated our database of more than 18 million employer reviews, crunched the numbers and identified which companies rate highest on the attribute of compensation and benefits.

Keep reading to find out who made the cut.

Leaders from a variety of industries top the list

We wouldn’t blame you if you expected this list to be dominated by leading tech companies with deep pockets and a tradition of competing for top talent. That’s the stereotype, after all. Instead, the results of our analysis reveal organizations from a range of different industries, including retail, telecommunications, automotive, financial services and healthcare.

The takeaway? Great pay and benefits are relative. A retail company’s average compensation package may not come close to the average compensation package of a software firm, but when an organization leads its industry, it can secure a place among the top organizations overall.

And speaking of the top, Costco demonstrates that despite all the gloomy headlines we see about the “retail apocalypse” some companies in the sector are continuing to perform strongly and motivate employees. Claiming the number one spot on our list, Costco has long been known for for paying a living wage and providing great benefits and initiatives that show how its leaders genuinely care about employee well-being.

So when we say great benefits, what are we talking about? Health care, dental care, parental leave, stock options and company matching for retirement plans are common among the employers on our list. But some companies stand out for certain exceptional benefit offerings.

For example, sixth place Capital One offers adoption and surrogacy reimbursements while third place Verizon has an employee relief fund for natural disaster victims.

Meanwhile, Starbucks (#9) may lead the way in education benefits with its notable Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which gives any benefits-eligible U.S. employees full-tuition coverage for a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University.

However, although the overall ranking is diverse, we do see that tech firms remain on the cutting edge of benefits. For instance, fifth place Apple not only offers generous employee discounts on products, but it also covers egg freezing for female employees, while twelfth place Intel offers fertility assistance, adoption assistance and paid sabbaticals.

Now let’s take a closer look at what the very best rated are doing right—and what employees are saying about them.

The best of the best: what makes the top five companies stand out

1. Costco Wholesale

HQ: Issaquah, Washington

Year Founded: 1983

No. of Employees: 10,000+

This membership-only warehouse club is a multinational chain known for its bulk items and low prices. And if Costco makes you think of chicken, there’s a good reason. As of 2016, the company became the world’s largest retailer of organic foods, wine, choice and prime beef and—you guessed it—rotisserie chicken.

So how did a warehouse chain beat out the top tech companies when it comes to benefits and salary packages? To start, the company pays well above the typical salary that other retail companies pay, even for entry-level workers.

They have a graduated wage program that’s based purely on total hours worked. Show up, do your job, and your pay goes up on its own,” says one employee.

When it comes to insurance and other benefits, another employee describes the company as “second to none.” In general, employee reviews praise Costco’s family-based philosophy, great treatment of its employees and concern for their well-being.

One employee sums it up well: “Costco believes that employees are the most important assets in the company.”

2. Kaiser Permanente

HQ: Oakland, California

Year Founded: 1945

No. of Employees: 10,000+

The country’s largest managed care organization, Kaiser Permanente is known for delivering high quality care. So what do employees know it for?

They are the highest paying medical facility hands down. Best benefit package anywhere,” one employee raves.

Employee reviews generally agree that – along with providing an excellent work environment, the company pays well above the national average.

“There is no better place to work,” another employee says.

3. Verizon

HQ: New York, New York

Year Founded: 2000

No. of Employees: 10,000+

The wireless network that strives to connect people to help them do more, Verizon is known for its fast-paced work environment, great opportunities for advancement, and—of course— exceptional pay and benefits.

One employee sums it up by saying, “great management, great benefits, compensation is swell.”

Even so, another points out that the company culture isn’t for everyone. “You must be self-sufficient, have drive, and be motivated to work hard every day.” But for those who thrive in these environments?

Put simply:The pay and benefits are the best in the industry.”

4. FedEx Express

HQ: Memphis, Tennessee

Year Founded: 1971

No. of Employees: 10,000+

You know FedEx for its shipping services, but the company is also a leader in developing real-time updates and package tracking that are now industry standards.

In addition to pioneering shipping technology, FedEx is generous with its salary and benefits offering for full-time workers.

Fedex provided me a great job with great benefits. I worked there for 20 years with great vacation time, benefits, stability and a great environment. It is a company that still provides a pension, which in these days is rare,” one employee raves.

But its offerings for part-time workers are also impressive.

“I had medical, dental, vision benefits that usually are reserved for full time employees even though I am a permanent part time worker,” another employee says.  

5. Apple

HQ: Cupertino, California

Year Founded: 1976

No. of Employees: 10,000+

Innovation, perfection, and a highly devoted customer base have made this technology giant a permanent fixture in the lives of many people. But how do employees feel about the company?

Apple is more than fair with their employees. Positions generally pay more than other companies and benefits are very good,” one employee reports.

But there are benefits, and then there are Apple benefits. “Apple offers many benefits like a gym and a doctor’s office on campus. High quality dining, on-campus events including beer bashes and bbq cook offs during work hours, a host of Apple specific benefits.”
“They offer education reimbursement and great discounts on Apple products and other product/services that partner with Apple,” says another employee. “Great company, great benefits.”

Explore the full list of best places to work

Methodology: Indeed has over 18 million company reviews.  Indeed compiled this list by including companies with at least 600 reviews between January 2016 – January 2018.  These companies are the most highly rated on compensation and benefits by users who were either employed by the company at the time of review or was employed there within the past three years.