Companies with the best 401(k) plans, from Chick-fil-A to United Airlines

Every company offers its employees different packages and benefits. But when it comes to 401(k) plans, some stand out more than others.

Planning for your future is now more important than ever. And employees are encouraged to take full advantage of what their companies have to offer, especially if they have generous matching programs. According to a new report from Fidelity, companies were contributing an average of 4.7 percent — a record high — in the first quarter of 2019.

There was also a spike in million-dollar 401(k) account balances at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018.

To determine which companies are offering the most generous 401(k) plans, MONEY used data from investment research firm BrightScope and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to identify industry leaders in retirement investment.

401(k) plans, unlike traditional pensions, are retirement plans in which employees contribute a percentage of their earnings (pre-tax) into an account that companies often contribute to via a matching amount (to a certain percentage). But the 401(k) can suffer — or enjoy — the benefits of the market, depending on the market’s volatility.

Low fees and a notable company match can make all the difference.


In its research, MONEY found Chick-fil-A is the "winner" in the food services industry, with an employee's average 401(k) balance hitting $158,188 — about $103,400 more than the industry average. In the retail world, SAP America came out on top with $211,199 in 401(k) balance, while competitors are average just roughly 25 percent that amount.

Take a look at other well-known name brands that were deemed leaders, according to MONEY's analysis of 401(k) plans across 14 different industries.

Accommodation and Food Services

Leader: Chick-fil-A

Average 401(k) account balance: $158,188


Leader: United Airlines

Average 401(k) account balance: $641,218

Business and Finance

Leader: Lone Pine Capital

Average 401(k) account balance: $1,037,787

Educational Services

Leader: California Teachers Association

Average 401(k) account balance: $239,091

Health Care and Social Assistance

Leader: Sutter Medical Group

Average 401(k) account balance: $497,124


Leader: SES Americom

Average 401(k) account balance: $290,142


Leader: Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett

Average 401(k) account balance: $667,815

Management of Companies and Enterprises

Leader: BHP USA

Average 401(k) account balance: $255,240


Leader: Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.

Average 401(k) account balance: $229,297

Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction

Leader: CNX Resources

Average 401(k) account balance: $177,565

Professional, Scientific and Technical Services

Leader: Zeta Associates

Average 401(k) account balance: $589,469

Retail Trade

Leader: SAP America

Average 401(k) account balance: $211,199


Leader: The Valve Corporation

Average 401(k) account balance: $249,261


Leader: Oglethorpe Power

Average 401(k) account balance: $367,770