They say money can’t buy you happiness ... but it’s still a crucial consideration whenever you’re looking for a job. And in today’s world, compensation is so much more than just a number — it also includes the added benefits offered to you by your company, such as health insurance, wellness, time off, bonuses and more. In addition to being necessary for us to make a living and provide for family or retirement, compensation affects whether or not we feel valued at our jobs and acts as a powerful talent attractor.
For job seekers, it’s a no-brainer that a good compensation package is important, but for employers, offering a competitive compensation package also makes sense. Employees who feel valued are likely to have higher job satisfaction, which is tied to increased motivation and productivity. Ultimately, this can result in stronger employee retention, as people who enjoy their jobs tend to be more loyal and stay longer at a company. In short, investing in competitive compensation is an investment in your firm.
So which companies are ahead of the game and raising the bar for compensation? We analyzed more than 100 million employer reviews on Indeed to identify which firms rated highest on the attribute of compensation and benefits. Here’s what we found.
Retail giant Costco leads the rankings for compensation satisfaction
When it comes to compensation, some of us might think of large tech employers, which are renowned for offering outsized salaries and benefit packages, or banks, which in some cases offer employees gigantic bonuses that can exceed their salaries. However, it turns out that there’s a lot more to getting compensation right than big numbers alone. In fact, our final rankings include companies from a variety of industries, with retail giant Costco at the top of list.
Costco claims the top position for the second year in a row, and for good reason: the retail giant is known for its culture of care and for offering employees great benefits and higher-than-average wages for the retail sector, with their minimum wage being $14/hour — almost twice the federal minimum wage. Costco’s ranking also demonstrates the importance of being competitive within your industry, as most people tend to compare their jobs to roles that are similar; this may be why, despite the association between tech companies and high compensation, Costco’s employee satisfaction is actually higher than that of tech giant Apple (#9 on our list).
Below Costco, we see a wide variety of industries, ranging from health care to financial services, telecommunications and more. Ranked second is health-care giant Kaiser Permanente, followed by telecommunications company Verizon at number three — one of the three on the list, with Comcast at number 11 and AT&T at number 12.
We also see financial companies Capital One (#4) and Advance Financial (#8), as well as food and beverage companies In-N-Out Burger (#5) and Starbucks (#14). Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B (#7) (which ranked first on Indeed’s Top-Rated Workplaces in Retail for 2018) and German budget grocery giant Aldi (#15) made the list as well.
Creative compensation packages can act as strong talent differentiators
So what do these companies have in common? As with Costco, they go above and beyond by not only offering great benefits like health care, dental and vision care, parental leave, and company matching for retirement plans but also cool benefits unique to their firms — proving that no one company or industry has a monopoly on great benefits.
For example, In-N-Out (#5) offers both part-time and full-time employees starting pay of at least $12 per hour — much higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour — as well as free meals on work days and options for investing in retirement once eligibility is met.
Starbucks (#14) is also creative when it comes to thinking about compensation. The coffeehouse chain is leading the way in education benefits through its Starbucks College Achievement Plan, which offers any benefits-eligible U.S. employee full-tuition coverage for a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. In addition, the company also offers an adoption-expense reimbursement of up to $10,000 for each child.
At Apple (#9), employees receive 25% off certain Apple products and are given $500 off a Mac laptop every three years. Employees are also treated to free beer and appetizers at the company’s “beer bashes” (followed by concerts from big names in music like Stevie Wonder, Demi Lovato and OneRepublic).
So what are the Top-Rated Workplaces for compensation and benefits doing right? And what are their employees saying about them? Let’s take a look.
The best of the best — what they’re doing right
HQ: Issaquah, Washington
You might know this membership-only warehouse chain for its bulk goods and low prices — but what you might not know is that it’s also one of the largest pizza chains in the U.S. and serves up a delicious slice in its warehouse food courts, which have somewhat of a cult following.
So why does Costco rank so well? We mentioned that the wholesale chain pays employees a minimum wage of $14/hour, but that’s just for employees starting out. The company also makes sure to hire and promote internally to retain their company culture, with the average hourly rate for Costco employees hovering more around $22.50/hour.
One employee said Costco believes employees are the most important assets in the company and that the company takes great care of its workers by providing “great benefits, 401K, vacation pay and overall pay.”
In general, employees agree that the excellent pay and benefits, helpful management and awesome products are all great reasons to stay at Costco.
HQ: Oakland, California
Holding onto its second-place ranking for the second year in a row is Kaiser Permanente, the country’s largest managed care organization. Kaiser Permanente is recognized for its not-for-profit health plans as well as being a leading health-care provider. Recently, the company committed $5.2 million to tackle homelessness in Oakland, California.
The employees at Kaiser Permanente like the supportive, family-like atmosphere the company offers. One employee also pointed to the “incomparable pay and health benefits” and “company benefits that provide opportunities for advancement, bonuses, and extra paid time off.”
In addition to the pay and health benefits, Kaiser Permanente also provides wellness and work-life balance initiatives like offering discounted tickets and other recreational activities to employees and their families, work-from-home and remote work opportunities, and mental health and wellness tools.
HQ: New York, New York
Telecommunications giant Verizon is known for its wireless products and services and often ranks first for being the best wireless network in the U.S., scoring well on network coverage, reliability and speed. Recently, Verizon announced that it’ll soon be cracking down on robocalls and is also in the process of rolling out citywide 5G coverage that will result in faster data speeds.
One Verizon employee said that the company offers a “very competitive compensation package and benefits that are hard to beat.” Another employee who has worked at Verizon for 15 years in many roles said that each position has offered challenges and rewards, and while management varied with each role, the overall experience was great. A look at Verizon’s benefits showed they offer tuition assistance, 401(k) matching, health benefits, special awards and more.
4. Capital One
HQ: McLean, Virginia
Capital One is one of the largest banks in the U.S. and serves banking customers by offering a wide variety of financial products and services. The company also participates in many corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as sponsoring coding programs in schools as part of an initiative to help Americans gain the necessary skills to succeed in the 21st century.
Aside from giving back to the community, the company also offers great benefits to its employers — besides offering top-notch health and wealth benefits, the company provides 18 weeks of maternity leave, adoption and surrogate reimbursement, as well as educational assistance.
One employee noted they love the “culture, work-life balance, values, mission and compensation,” while another said they enjoyed the “productive and fun workplace with many benefits,” “very friendly culture,” as well as steady and challenging work. Yet another said the hardest part of the job is “taking advantage of all the benefits.”
HQ: Irvine, California
In-N-Out is a California-founded fast-food chain with a loyal following, serving up fresh burgers, fries and shakes. In-N-Out stores often emphasize their lack of freezers, heat lamps and microwaves to point to the freshness of their food, and there are strict guidelines that stores can’t be more than 500 miles from their meat and produce suppliers so that the food quality is fresh and consistent across locations.
Employees love working at In-N-Out too. One said, “I always feel welcomed and know I can count on those around me to help me at work or outside the workplace. You get paid very well and they are flexible with hours.”
Another employee said although the job requires you to have a “fast-paced mentality” at all times, the benefits are pretty great — the wages and health care are better compared to other jobs, and the environment is fun. In fact, some managers earn $100,000 a year in addition to bonuses and company benefits.