America’s best-paying companies include EOG, Devon, Chesapeake

As part of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For rankings, the magazine takes a look at which of its “best companies” honorees pay the most. Along with chi-chi law firms, Silicon Valley tech companies and huge health care systems, the Top 25 list includes three energy companies: Houston-based EOG Resources and Oklahoma City’s Devon Energy and Chesapeake Energy.

Here’s the lowdown on salary and perks at each firm, in order of its Fortune rank:

Devon (No. Five) pays an average of $172,575, with engineers being the most common salaried position. The good pay leads Fortune to an unfortunate pun:

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.

Not all is rosy in OKC, however, as Devon laid off about 450 workers last July. Its saving grace, according to Fortune: spending about $675,000 on outplacement services to help employees whose jobs were cut.

EOG (No. Eight) compensates salaried workers such as engineers with average pay of $158,008. The benefits can’t be beat at the Houston oil and gas company, Fortune notes, and workers there are likely to avoid job losses even in a down economy:

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.

Chesapeake (No. 24) boasts average pay of $114,084, with its most common salaried position listed as toolpusher. Says Fortune:

Chesapeake Energy has by far one of the most generous 401(k) programs among the “100 Best” — 100% up to 15% of an employee’s contribution, with $48 million contributed in 2009 alone. Employees aren’t thrown to the wind regarding how to invest, either, with quarterly financial training available to all.

All new hires receive restricted stock, which is in keeping with the company’s commitment to treat all employees as equals — all workers receive the same benefits regardless of their role with the company, and no lavish perks are reserved for executives. Bonuses abound: In 2009, $4.2 million went to 2,858 employees to reward safety efforts.

The nat gas drilling firm also landed atop Fortune’s list of unusual perks for offering Botox injections in its onsite medical center  and  parent/child yoga classes and tanning beds at its fitness facility.

One other energy firm also made the unusual perks list. San Antonio-based pipeline partnership NuStar Energy, which makes the company jet available for employees in times of crisis, such as a death in the family.

4 Comments

  1. Indianpaintbrush

    Good for them! but, if the feds don’t stop throwing monkey wrenches into the oil industry, this may be the last year that we see any of them on the list.

    #1
  2. Peter

    Take a look at the number 11 pick, Edward Jones. I quote “What makes it so great? The investment adviser has made diversity a priority with new recruitment programs to bring people of color into a workforce that is 93% white. As the company itself says, it “does not aspire to be a firm of middle-aged white men.”
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/bestcompanies/2011/snapshots/11.html
    Can you imagine if a company stated that it “does not aspire to be a firm of middle-aged black men’? Jessie Jasckson would have them writing a billion dollar check.

    #2
  3. Helen

    Engineers are ALWAYS the highest-paid at an oil and gas company. Why don’t you tell us about the support staff? They are the ones who work the long hours and get paid the least!

    #3
  4. Dollar

    Helen, my Wife works for CHK ………. and all I will say, is she is very happy.

    But I will add, that CHK expects a full day’s work and they occasionally clear out the slackers. The pay and benefits are great, but its all earned.

    #4