Eight Companies that Owe Employees a Raise

While CEOs of companies with the strongest financial results are usually paid hundreds of millions of dollars, rank and file employees at these corporations are often less fortunate. Only a small number of the best performing companies give raises or bonuses to most employees that are tied to earnings. Why shouldn’t these companies spread the wealth?

Several of the American most successful companies have large numbers of low-paid employees. These people work in retail stores, call centers, or clean hotel rooms. Some do not make a great deal more than the minimum wage. However, their work is critical to the daily success of their companies. Despite their modest pay, they are often the face of their corporations. The senior management at companies like McDonald’s and AT&T do not deal with customers — the clerks and restaurant staffs do.

Not all the divisions of these companies pay their employees poorly. Many of the people who work at Walt Disney’s theme parks have modest salaries. However, employees at the company’s ESPN and movie studio divisions generally do better. Comcast’s account executives who sell cable subscriptions do not make a great deal of money. Nevertheless, people who work at some parts of the company’s NBC division are paid handsomely.

Here's the list of companies that owe their employees a raise.

1. Comcast:     > 1-yr. stock price change: 44.45% > 5-yr. stock price change: 93.63% > Employees: 129,000 > CEO pay: $29,124,014

Comcast is the largest cable company in the U.S. In fiscal 2012, Comcast’s net income was $6.2 billion, a nearly 50% increase from the previous year. In the past 12 months, the company’s stock rose by roughly 44%. In what many consider to be a smart move, the company diversified its operations by buying control of NBCUniversal two years ago. Earlier this year, it paid GE $16.7 billion for the remaining 49% ownership position. NBCUniversal operates the cable and broadcast television business, and the studio businesses dominated by Universal Pictures. Comcast customer care and direct sales jobs often pay modestly. The average salary for a Customer Account Executive at Comcast was just $13.39 an hour, according to Glassdoor.

2. Walt Disney > 1-yr. stock price change: 50.94% > 5-yr. stock price change: 93.49% > Employees: 166,000 > CEO pay: $40,227,848

Walt Disney founded the company in 1923 as The Disney Brothers Studio. The company has since expanded to include Walt Disney studios, Disney consumer products, a network television business, which includes ABC and a majority interest in ESPN and and the company’s interactive division. Disney is widely regarded for its employee customer training. The company even has an operation called the Disney Institute, which trains management and workers from other companies. According to the company, BusinessWeek’s Best Internships survey ranked Disney #11 on internship opportunities for undergraduates. Disney reported revenue of $42.3 billion in the most recent fiscal year, up 3% from the prior year, and net income was $5.7 billion, up 18%. The improvements were mostly driven by success from its parks and resorts division, which started with the founding of Disneyland in 1955 and employs a number of low-paid workers, including the the theme parks cast members.

3. McDonald’s > 1-yr. stock price change: 6.91% > 5-yr. stock price change: 68.15% > Employees: 440,000 > CEO pay: $13,751,919

The fast-food industry, lead by McDonald’s, fared better than nearly any other industry during the economic downturn. Yet the situation for most of the fast-food giant’s employees hasn’t improved. The company is still paying its front-line workers minimum wage or very close to it. According to Glassdoor, the average pay of a cashier was a mere $7.69 an hour. Yet with payroll one of the company’s major expenses, investors are concerned about a possible minimum wage increase. The day after President Barack Obama announced a plan to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour, McDonald’s share price tumbled. On the other hand, the low wages could be hurting company’s morale. Recently, company executives notified franchisees that more than anything, customers complained about “rude and unprofessional employees.” Still, McDonald’s hasn’t announced any plans to pass some of its billions of dollars in profits to employees. Instead, in late 2012, the company said it would return $5.5 billion to shareholders by the end of the year through both an increased dividend and share repurchases. The company has raised its dividend every year since 1976.

To read the full list of companies owing their employees raises, please visit 24/7 Wall St.

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