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Which US Companies Offer the Best (and Worst) Entry-Level Pay?

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Did you know that Jeff Bezos’ first job was as a breakfast cook at a fast-food restaurant? Or that Elon Musk started his work life cleaning the boiler room of a lumber mill?

It’s proof that everyone has to start somewhere.

And usually, that somewhere doesn’t pay particularly well.

It’s starting salaries that inspired the latest study from the money experts at CashNetUSA. They analyzed data from Indeed to rank America’s biggest companies based on the percentage of their entry-level jobs that pay above the local average wage.

Here’s a look at which big-name US companies came out on top and which ones are putting the pay squeeze on new starters.

Major US companies with the highest-paying entry-level jobs

The Tenet Healthcare Corporation is the USA’s best-paying employer for entry-level jobs. According to the Cash Net study, just under 9 out of 10 jobs (87.84%) of entry-level Tenet jobs listed on Indeed pay more than the local median wage.

Two giants of the US banking industry come next. They are investment banking firm Citigroup, with 82% of its entry-level jobs paying above average, and The Bank of America Corporation, which scored 80.21%.

The best company for entry-level job salaries in every US state

Land an entry-level job at Koppers Railroad Structures in Montana and you’re guaranteed to earn more than the local median salary. That’s because 100% of the company’s entry-level jobs listed on Indeed pay above the average.

Only two other firms came out with a perfect 100% score for high-paying entry-level jobs. They are Shipt, a grocery delivery service based in Minnesota, and, a pet food and product supplier operating out of Tennessee.

Best companies for entry-level applicants in US cities

Looking at the data city-by-city data, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta takes the number one spot. Based in central Atlanta, it’s a not-for-profit children’s healthcare system that also takes care of its entry-level staff by paying all of them more than the local median salary.

Another healthcare provider scores highly in this section of the study. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Atrium Health provides healthcare, support, and healing services at more than 1,400 care locations and 40 hospitals across several US southern states. The company has a strong commitment to employee welfare, which includes a generous salary package. In this case, 99% of its entry-level employees are earning more than the local average.

Entry-level salaries in the US restaurant industry

Almost 33% of Americans say their first job was in a restaurant. So, given that it’s the first stepping stone for many US workers, Cash Net dedicated a part of their study to looking at entry-level salaries in the restaurant chain industry.

And the data highlights what many restaurant workers already know; this is an industry where the hours are long and the wages are low.

Every single restaurant chain in this section of the study scored under 50%.

Arby’s is the best-paying restaurant chain for entry-level jobs. Still, only 46% of its entry-level workers can expect to earn more than the local average.

It’s even worse for Burger King staff. Nearly 90% of them earn under the local median salary for entry-level staff. The poor pay is due to various factors impacting the entire industry, including low-profit margins and a surplus of young workers who have yet to develop marketable skills or gain any real-world work experience.

Entry-level pay in the restaurant industry across each US state

But the data (and the pay) in the restaurant industry starts to look a little brighter on a state-by-state basis.

Idaho’s highest-paying restaurant chain for entry-level jobs is Taco Bell, where 95% of new starters earn more than the average local salary.

Jack in the Box is Missouri’s best-paying restaurant chain for entry-level jobs (94%), while some other restaurant chains in several different states scored relatively highly. For example, 77% of entry-level employees working at a Denny’s outlet in Utah earn more than most other workers in the state.

The best US retail companies for entry-level starting salaries

The retail industry is another industry where many US workers get their first paid job. And while the pay for entry-level roles isn’t great, at least not on a nationwide basis, then it’s certainly not terrible.

Almost 8 out of 10 entry-level workers applying for jobs at Target will earn more than the average salary if they get the job.

Every state’s best-paying company for entry-level roles

But there’s a big disparity in entry-level salaries in the retail industry when breaking down the data state-by-state. In other words, this is an industry where some workers earn a lot while others struggle to get by on a salary well below the local average.

For instance, 96% of entry-level workers for Amazon in Washington earn above the average local salary. However, that figure falls to just 5% for people employed by Dollar General, a discount hypermarket based in North Dakota.

Read Next: New Study Proves Quarter Of Shoppers More Likely to Purchase Products Online After Seeing Ads On Retailer Websites
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