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Fortune’s Top 25 Top-Paying Companies (2009)

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Fat Stack of BenjaminsI always enjoy looking at these lists because they give a little glimpse into some of our nation’s most storied firms. I think these are more for entertainment purposes, much like the top paying undergraduate degrees, because the average total pay isn’t something you’ll get right out of the gate.

It’s fun to read are the various perks employees get because often times the companies that compensate the best tend to have great benefits as well. A popular company to talk about when you list slick benefits is always Google’s plethora of employee benefits.

Top Ten List

Here were the top 10 paying companies (from their top 25 list):

  1. Bingham McCutchen – $256,312
  2. Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network – $244,605
  3. Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe – $240,955
  4. Alston & Bird – $203,655
  5. Perkins Coie – $190,126
  6. Devon Energy – $185,882
  7. Salesforce.com – $172,303
  8. Arnold & Porter – $172,192
  9. Adobe Systems – $165,947
  10. EOG Resources – $158,302

Four Lawyers and a Doctor walk into a bar… Four of the top five were law firms, with the only non-law employer was Lehigh Valley Hospital & Health Network which, surprise surprise, paid their physicians very well. Of the next five, you started to see a few engineers in software and energy companies. Of course, yet another law firm poked its head up at #8 with Arnold & Porter.

Highest Financial Services Company: #11 marked the first appearance of a financial services company, Goldman Sachs with the average total pay of $144,994.

Highest on the Best Companies List: Cisco was 15th, average total pay of $131,703 for a software engineer IV and they scored the highest on the “Best Companies” list at #6.

Biggest Surprise of the List: Finally, 25th on the list was a surprise for me, Nugget Market, a family owned California grocery chain where store directors pull in $116,444 plus 100% coverage of health insurance premiums and they sport a 9% turnover rate each year (that’s low for a supermarket!).

Coolest Perks

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants (#13) offers a cool perk only they can offer, you can stay at any Kimpton property for $50 a night, a pretty awesome deal, plus subsidized health insurance and a decent 401(k). eBay (#16) lets employees take a four week sabbatical with full pay every five years!

Probably the nicest benefit? Several companies on the list pay 100% of health insurance premiums… that beats all the gyms and hotel stays any day!

(Photo: chicanerii)

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11 Responses to “Fortune’s Top 25 Top-Paying Companies (2009)”

  1. I wonder what positions these salaries are for.

  2. Anonymous says:

    did i miss the link to the actual Fortune article?

  3. eric says:

    I’ve been to a Nugget Market! Ironically, they were hiring at that point. Missed my chance? :P

  4. Shirley says:

    I retired from the Nugget Market two years ago. The people who work there are like a big family and work as a team. The Stille family founded the market 62 years ago and still run it (pun intended). Great place to work!

    • Jim says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience! You never can tell how true these reports are but it sounds like it’s true in Nugget’s case.

  5. Shadox says:

    Very cool, but more than the average, I am interested in the median pay. All of the firms on this list probably have a very unequal distribution of pay – e.g. financial institutions, law and consulting firms pay their partners extraordinary sums. What do the regular people get paid?

    The average is probably skewed by a small number of very highly paid individuals.

  6. Never heard of some of these . . . I was surprised.

  7. Patrick says:

    Those are some pretty high average salaries, but considering that most are in the law, medical and financial fields it’s not a huge surprise.


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