Everybody assumes that CEOs make the most money, but it turns out that getting into the C-Suite isn’t the only way to earn a giant paycheck. Publicly traded companies are now required to release pay figures for their average workers, and some are indeed paying big bucks to the Average Joe. Our new map breaks down the highest-paying companies by industry in every state.
Companies now have to disclose key data about employee compensation thanks to a new rule from the SEC. One of the organizations paying close attention to these disclosures is the AFL-CIO, where we found the data for our map. They’ve used the data to point out the discrepancy in the pay received by CEOs versus that received by “production and nonsupervisory workers,” but we wanted to take a look at where those in the latter group are also making out well. First, we identified the companies in each state that pay the highest salaries to their average workers. Then we color-coded our map by industry and overlaid the top company’s logo and its average worker’s salary for easy reference.
Top 10 highest-paying companies
1. New Jersey: NRG Yield, $964,005 (energy)
2. Nevada: VirnetX Holding Corp, $562,062 (technology)
3. California: Geron Corporation, $500,250 (health)
4. Massachusetts: Infinity Pharmaceuticals, $495,513 (health)
5. Virginia: Arlington Asset Investment Corp, $483,502 (financial)
6. Michigan: Esperion Therapeutics, $409,294 (health)
7. New York: Intra-Cellular Therapies, $354,916 (health)
8. Maryland: Chesapeake Lodging Trust, $347,750 (real estate)
9. Texas: Capstead Mortgage Corporation, $300,000 (real estate)
10. Utah: Lipocine, $299,612 (health)
Our approach to mapping the best companies for average compensation reveals several key insights about the American economy. For one, you can see which professions tend to pay the most in different parts of the country. For example, there are two obvious clusters of yellow states across the Northern Plains and the Deep South — these states have several energy companies with extremely high-paying salaries. The same can be said about health companies (like pharmaceutical and insurance companies) across the country’s midsection.
Our map also highlights a few surprises. For instance, a bank is the highest paying employer in both Alaska and Montana, not an energy company as one might initially expect. And in California, a health company called Geron pays its average employees better than any of the Silicon Valley giants. But keep in mind there are significant differences between the companies on our map. At the high-end, NRG Yield average pay is $964k, and on the low-end, Union Bankshares from Vermont pays only $39,346. One reason for these discrepancies and surprises could be that, since it’s a new rule, companies are still releasing their figures; our data might change.
There are a few other important caveats to keep in mind when looking at our map. The underlying data only concern publicly traded companies headquartered in each state. For example, Alaska is certainly home to several highly-paid oil engineers, but they work for multinational companies headquartered elsewhere. Also, bear in mind that not very many people work for these companies. On average, the top ten companies listed above only employ 21 people each (that data wasn’t available for NRG Yield). In other words, these are extraordinarily hard jobs to find. Nevertheless, if you see a job opening for one of these companies where you live, you might as well submit an application.
Data: Table 1.1