Want to Get Paid Better? Work at a Bigger Company

By Alden WickerLearnVest

We’re big fans of the start-up culture here at LearnVest, obviously.

But here’s something to consider next time you’re choosing between the big corporation and the scrappy mom-and-pop: The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest report shows that, on average, a larger company will pay better than a small one.

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At a company with 500 employees or more, the average compensation is a whopping $42.39 per hour, while companies with fewer than 50 workers pay on average just $22.96 per hour. That’s almost half!

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The Truth Behind the Numbers

A lot of this is due to the sweet benefits that come with working at a company with deep pockets and a robust HR team, like 401(k) matchinghealth insuranceflexible spending for things like childcare, and even the little things, like paying for dinner when you work late.

At a company with 500 or more employees, benefits are worth an average $14.50 per hour, or 34% of total compensation. It drops from there: Companies with 100 to 499 employees earn $8.88 an hour in benefits, companies with 50 to 99 employees provide $7.54 per hour in benefits and the little, under-50 companies provide just $5.82 per hour in perks.

But it could also be due to executive compensation, of course. Averages can be seriously skewed by outliers, and we’re guessing there are very few companies with less than 50 employees that can afford to give their CEOs millions in compensation.

What It Means for You

There are a couple of takeaways here, whether or not you love or hate corporate culture:

1. Working for a small, fun company may come with a tradeoff in terms of pay and especially benefits. You have to know what is important to you personally.

2. Negotiate not just your salary, but your benefits as well, as they can make up a large part of your compensation.