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Entry-level Earnings: The Best (and the Worst) Major US Firms for New Starter Salaries

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In the competitive US job market, some major firms stand out by offering new starters salaries above the average local wage.

Based on data collected from Indeed, this latest study from CashNetUSA delves into those US companies that are not just industry leaders but also champions of entry-level compensation.

Find out which firms came out on top in the maps below.

The highest-paying major US companies for new starters

The list of the best-paying firms is dominated by huge US corporations, including financial giants Citigroup and Bank of America. According to the data, 8 out of 10 new starters at these finance giants are earning above the local median salary.

However, the top paying company for new starters in the USA is Tenet Healthcare Corporation. Nearly 9 out of 10 (87%) of new starters at the company take home a monthly pay package that is well above the median pay.

The best-paying companies for new starters in every US state

Montana-based Koppers Railroad Structures can boast a 100% above-average pay rate for new starters.

Wells Fargo bank in Florida just falls short of a perfect score, with 99.14% of its most recent staff taking home above-average pay.

Highest paying company for new starters in major US cities

This section of the study is where we find another company that pays all its new starters a higher salary than average. It’s the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a specialized pediatric care facility located in the health of Atlanta city.

The next highest paying company for new starters on this map is Atrium Health. Operating out of Charlotte in North Carolina, it came about as close as you can get to a perfect score, with 99%.

Other major companies that scored well into the 90% bracket include the Boston Medical Center, the San Francisco Unified School District, and the Children’s Hospital of San Francisco.

New starter pay in the US restaurant chain industry

Nobody goes into the US restaurant chain industry for the money.

A combination of low profit margins and a large supply of unskilled labor means this is an industry where the pay is lower than most. And that includes new starter pay.

Sandwich chain Arby’s is the number one firm for new starter pay in this industry. But it’s not something to be proud of, because only 46% of its new employees can say they earn more than the local median salary.

And don’t ask new starters at Burger King how they feel about the size of their monthly pay packet. Because around 90% are probably really unhappy about it; that’s the number of new starters at the restaurant chain that earn the same or even less than the average local salary.

Best paying restart for chain for new starters in every US state

Jack in the Box in Missouri bucks the trend by serving up some very generous salaries to its new starters. The data analysis by CashNetUSA shows that 94% of new starters at the chain are in the above-average salary bracket.

Only two local state restaurant chains can beat that impressive score. They are Taco Bell in Idaho (95%) and Carl’s Jr. (99%), which serves up burgers to the hungry people of Oregon.

How much are new starters making in the US retail industry?

The scores are all over the place when we switch our attention to new starter pay in the US retail sector.

There are some really high-paying firms, like Target, which pays nearly 80% of its new starters a salary that’s higher than the local median wage.

And then there are some really low scorers. Take, for example, the paint manufacturing firm Sherwin-Williams. This is a huge US firm where only 15% of new starters can say they earn more than an average salary.

Salaries for new starters in retailers across the US states

Amazon in Arizona and Walmart in Indiana are happy to use the allure of big starting salaries to attract the best talent. Both companies score above 90%.

That’s good, but not quite as good as Verizon Communications’ 100% score in Minnesota and Virginia.

And, finally, let’s pour one out for the new starters at the discount store Dollar General in North Dakota. They deserve it; only 5% earn an above-average wage after a hard day’s work.

About the author


Ashley Murphy

Ashley Murphy graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and
Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. He began working as a
freelance content writer in 2015. He covers technology, business and
careers for CashNetUSA.