May 10, 2011

Senior account execs at take home an average $318,323 total compensation annually. Which other Best Companies to Work For offer big paychecks?
©John R. Coughlin/CNNMoney
Average total pay: $318,323
For: Senior Account Executive*
Best companies rank: 52 goes to extremes to reward the top performers who have helped drive its growth. No wonder this online software provider tops this year's list of best payers.
The sales force gets hefty bonuses. The biggest earners get to enjoy goodies like "Breakfast at Tiffany's" -- a $5,000 shopping spree offered during last year's sales incentive trip to Hawaii. Since Tiffany doesn't have a store in Kauai, hired local carpenters to recreate one, shipped in $1 million in merchandise from surrounding islands, and hired a violin player, chef, and even Miss Hawaii to add ambience.
Not that they don't spread the wealth around: Full-time employees receive a "Mahalo Bonus" (Hawaiian for "thank you"), twice a year -- up to 140% of the target payout. And those lucky employees who've received stock have seen their shares more than double in value over the past year.

©Bingham McCutchen
2. Bingham McCutchen
Average total pay: $219,888
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 28
This Boston-based law firm not only pays attorneys more than $200K in salaries on average, they also kick in 7.5% of salary to a pension plan for staff members, plus another 2.5% through a 401(k) match. Bingham also pays the lion's share for a health plan that covers everything from acupuncture to sex-change surgery.
Employees can rub shoulders with bigwig advocates like Thurgood Marshall Jr. and the former governors of California (Pete Wilson) and New Hampshire (Steve Merrill). Bingham lawyers last year worked on pro bono cases ranging from supporting gay marriage equality in California to supporting Haitians displaced after the earthquake.
Yet the firm also fosters a playful culture with regular ping-pong matches, poker tournaments, and "Wii and Bucket of Beer" competitions. It even pays to play well in the sandbox: Staff can earn merit bonuses for demonstrating "office citizenship" or "positive thinking and teamwork."
©Alston & Bird
3. Alston & Bird
Average total pay: $182,681
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 13
Once the workplace of golfer Bobby Jones, this Atlanta-based law firm provides employees with merit bonuses up to 10% as a matter of course, and that payout has gone as high as 25% when budget goals are exceeded. Staff can top off their pay with a 7% profit-sharing bonus, and 25 cents-on-the-dollar match on their 401(k) contributions, up to 4% of salary.
A&B has outstanding family benefits, allowing primary caregivers to take up to 90 days' maternity leave and covering up to $7,000 in costs related to adoption. The firm also provides subsidized on-site childcare, granting scholarships to the children of lower-paid staff members. Women lawyers and staff help each other throughout the leave process, even swapping clothes through the firm's "Maternity Closet." Every baby born gets a romper that reads, "My Mommy [or Daddy] works at Alston & Bird."
©Perkins Coie
4. Perkins Coie
Average total pay: $182,544
For: Associate*
Best companies rank: 55
Associates at this Seattle-based firm earn above-market salaries while representing clients like Boeing,, Craigslist, and Starbucks (yes, they get free coffee). They can also reap dividends from the firm's equity stakes in various early-stage companies.
Last year, P&C fended off spammers for Facebook; helped Al Franken win his election; and defended Osama Bin Laden's driver on a pro-bono basis. One of the firm's partners is President Obama's personal attorney; her predecessor, also from Perkins Coie, holds a post as White House Counsel.
P&C was admirably egalitarian during the recession, as partners took a 10% pay cut but merely froze pay for staff and associates. When business ticked back up, non-attorney staff were the first to receive year-end bonuses. Other progressive perks include a 50% subsidy for employees to commute by public transportation, and $20-per-month reimbursement if they ride a bike in to work.
©Devon Energy
5. Devon Energy
Average total pay: $172,575
For: Engineer*
Best companies rank: 41
Now that's a lot of turkey: In a tradition dating back more than 30 years, all 3,500 employees at this Oklahoma City-based natural gas and oil company receive a $600 holiday bonus around Thanksgiving.
Devon also pays generous bonuses through a "cash performance" program that paid a median bonus of $7,200 in 2009. And their industry-leading retirement package contributes as much as 16% of salary to employees' 401(k) plans, in addition to a 6% match.
Devon laid off some 450 employees last July, as it divested its offshore operations in the wake of the Gulf spill. The company spent about $675,000 on outplacement services for affected workers. Remaining employees got a 3% raise -- except Executive Committee members, who declined to take a pay increase.
©Millennium: The Takeda Oncology
6. Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company
Average total pay: $166,354
For: Sr Oncology Sales Specialist*
Best companies rank: 56
Employees at this Cambridge, Mass., biopharma company have a serious mission: producing therapies to tackle cancer. But they still know how to have fun, holding regular WHIP ("Why the Hell aren't we In a Pub?) events, which last year ranged from taking the whole company to the Red Sox home opener to holding a Cinco de Mayo party where the CEO discussed the company's achievements.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Japan-based Takeda Oncology Company, Millennium rewards top performing employees with phantom and restricted stock through a long-term incentive plan.
Other perks include a tuition benefit up to $10,000 a year; pet insurance subsidies; an on-site camp for employees' kids; food deliveries from a local farm; and an unlimited sick-pay policy that says, "If you are sick, stay home until you feel better." Everyone gets three weeks' vacation -- plus a week off between Christmas and New Year's.
©John Couglin for CNNMoney
7. Goldman Sachs
Average total pay: $160,000
For: Other Exempt (Analysts, Program Analysts, Associates and Professional Non-Exempt)*
Best companies rank: 23
Everyone knows Goldman Sachs pays big salaries and jaw-dropping bonuses, but the firm's other benefits are nothing to sneeze at either. Case in point: Goldman has funded employees' retirement plans every year for more than 65 consecutive years. The current contribution is a dollar-for-dollar 401(k) match, up to 4% of salary, that maxes out at $9,800. Everyone is guaranteed at least $6,000 a year, regardless of what they put in.
Nearly 40% are lucky enough to have access to "wealth creation opportunities" that enable them to reap bounty from the firm's investments. And more than 38,550 current and former Goldman employees have received stock since the firm's IPO in 1999.
Lest anyone say they're just out for themselves, Goldman donates about half a billion to charities and community programs every year, in part through a one-to-one match of employees' donations up to $20,000 per year.
©John Couglin for CNNMoney
8. EOG Resources
Average total pay: $158,008
For: Engineer*
Best companies rank: 66
When this Houston-based oil and gas company celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009, all the men who work there received a pewter belt buckle with a drilling rig design, while women received a sterling silver pendant with 10 tiffany-cut cubic zirconia stones.
Even better than bling, EOG has not had a layoff in its 10-year history. Every new hire gets stock options and benefits on their first day -- including a dollar-for-dollar 401(k) match up to 6% of salary, a money-purchase pension plan, and at least three weeks' vacation.
All employees, from "roughnecks" in the field to the chairman at headquarters, participate in the same benefit plan: EOG pays 100% of employees' health-care costs and covers 80% for their dependents (including domestic partners), with a plan that covers vision care, acupuncture, and other benefits.


  1. Wow
    Wish you a very Happy and Prosperous Diwali.

  2. This was quite detailed and insightful..
    Like the post :)