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The least competitive companies for high-paying jobs in America

The least competitive companies for high-paying jobs in America

  • What we did
  • Key findings
  • The high-paying companies with the most and fewest job applicants
  • The most & least competitive big tech companies for high-paying jobs
  • The most & least competitive retail chains for high-paying jobs
  • Because you’re worth it
  • Methodology & sources

Competition for high-paying jobs has become fierce, with more applicants trying for fewer six-figure roles. But shop around and there are firms who receive less than one application per day for each vacancy. Career.io has identified the companies with the most and fewest applicants per high-paying role.

Job applicants are now twice as likely to apply for more than ten jobs per month than they were 40 years ago. And while the hiring rate for lower-paying jobs remains above pre-pandemic levels, the rate for six-figure roles is the lowest in ten years — and less than half its mid-2022 peak. With fewer high-paying jobs and more applicants, competition for the big bucks is getting fierce.

If you’d rather spend your energy earning what you’re worth than filling endless forms to get there, it’s worth playing smart with your job hunt. Certain high-paying employers attract significantly fewer applicants per job than others — giving you a better shot at a role that’s rewarding in every sense. 

Following our guide to the least competitive regions for highly paid jobs in America, we now present our ranking of the employers currently offering high-paying roles that receive fewer applicants to help you land the job you’ve been looking for.

What we did

We defined highly paid jobs as those with a salary more than double the local average (or the national average for remote jobs). With this definition in hand, data analysts at Career.io retrieved highly paid LinkedIn job listings for top employers, recording the salaries, applicants and days the listings had been live. We ranked the companies by the average number of daily applicants per high-paid job for each company and for big tech and retail by themselves.

Key findings

  • Retail company Rush Enterprises, Inc. is America’s least competitive company for high-paying jobs, with an average of 0.03 applicants per job daily.

  • Netflix is the most competitive company for high-paying jobs, with 116.77 applicants per job daily.

  • IBM is the least competitive big tech firm, with 2.48 daily applicants per high-paying job.

  • CDW is the most competitive retail company for high-paying jobs, with 60.59 applicants per day.

The high-paying companies with the most and fewest job applicants

The day you apply for a high-paying job at Netflix, more than 115 other applicants will do the same. With an average of 116.77 applicants per job per day, Netflix is America’s most competitive company for high-paying jobs (see The Most & Least Competitive Big Tech Companies, below).

 In fact, three of the ten most competitive firms are in tech, while two are in retail; plus, there’s the second-most competitive company, CDW (60.59 applicants per job daily), a retail tech firm, and Fiserv (30.94), a financial technology firm.

01 The-Most-Competitive-Major-Companies-For-High-Paying-Jobs

Beyond these sectors, the Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain is the most competitive, with 23.59 applicants per high-paying job daily. Chipotle pays general managers an average salary of $100,000. With over 100,000 employees and plenty of experienced ex-employees, there are plenty who believe they can fill those high-paying roles; however, some 90% of all restaurant management roles came through internal promotions.

 Retail firms dominate among those offering high-paying jobs with little competition. Eight of the top 20 are in the retail sector, including the top three: Rush Enterprises, Inc. (0.03), Penske Automotive Group (0.06) and Lithia & Driveway (0.51).

02 The-Least-Competitive-Major-Companies-For-High-Paying-Jobs

Outside of retail, which we’ll go into below, oil and energy company Baker Hughes sees the least competition for high-paying jobs — just 0.53 applicants per role per day. Baker Hughes may have unnerved potential applicants with extensive redundancies intended to “remove duplication and drive more cost efficiency across the business” — the company has already courted controversy with an alleged “fire and re-hire” strategy in 2022.

“Oil and gas businesses like Baker Hughes are making more money than they know what to do with at the moment,” a union spokesperson said at the time. “[…]Baker Hughes’ callous conduct is another shameless case of runaway boardroom greed.”

The most & least competitive big tech companies for high-paying jobs

They’re the companies shaping our future — and our everyday life today. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that and make big bucks to boot? We found that the big tech company with the least competition for high-paying jobs is IBM, with 2.48 applications per role per day. Amazon is a close second on 2.76.

According to Business Insider, top IBM employees may earn as much as $335,000 base. The firm is hiring plenty of ‘new collar’ staff — skilled engineers and technicians who don’t necessarily have a degree — including prompt engineers. Many are trained by IBM themselves through its famous Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) academies. However, some see the company as slow-moving in an age where AI novelties dominate the headlines — and even higher salaries may be found elsewhere.

03 The-Most-and-Least-Competitive-Big-Tech-Companies-For-High-Paying-Jobs

With 116.77 daily applicants per job, Netflix sees significantly more competition for high-paying roles than any other company. This is 4.7 times the number of applicants at Salesforce (24.88), the second most in-demand tech company. In turn, Salesforce sees 4.06 times the number of applicants as third-placed Adobe (6.13).

 Unlimited paid time off and a role at a prestigious FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) firm are among the attractions for joining Netflix. But the company is also known for paying industry-best rates and truly valuing its ‘rock star’ employees, from programmers to marketers. “Most of our posts rely on the employee’s ability to innovate and execute creatively,” founder and CEO Reed Hastings explains. “In all creative roles, the best is easily 10 times better than average. The best publicity expert can dream up a stunt that attracts millions more customers than the average one.”

The most & least competitive retail chains for high-paying jobs

On the day you apply for a high-paying job with Rush Enterprises (0.03 applicants per job per day) or Penske Automotive Group (0.06), you’ll be more or less alone. Rush is a retailer of new and used trucks. The company’s employee reviews are decidedly mixed, with many unhappy with how the company is run and seeing little chance for advancement or greater responsibility.

04 The-Most-and-Least-Competitive-Retail-Chains-For-High-Paying-Jobs

CDW is an IT solutions provider that sells hardware and software, among other services. The company sees the highest demand for its high-paying jobs of any retailer, with 60.59 applicants per role per day, 1.9 times more than second-placed CVS Health (31.90).

 Macy’s (24.85) is also in the mix, with applicants eager to take high-paying roles even as ground-level staff are campaigning for better pay and safety conditions. However, the company covers fees and book costs for high school completion, degrees and other tuition. It also offers a career program for internal mobility, meaning a role at the legendary retail company can be a long-term investment.

Because you’re worth it

Experts put the rise in job applications per job seeker down to the spread of the personal computer: it’s easier to find vacancies and fill those forms online. Today, applicants are turning to AI to help them write statements for the dozens of roles they may try for before finding a role, which is making the competition even tougher. Hiring platform Greenhouse reports a 71% increase in applications in the year to 2024.

To secure a top-paying job in this climate, applicants must utilize the skills that make them worthy of above-average wages right from the start of the job search period — by identifying the companies with which they stand the highest chance of success.

Methodology & sources

Highly paid jobs were defined as jobs with a salary more than double the median for that Metro Area (MSA). If the job was labeled as remote, we took double the median yearly salary for an American.

To start, we built a seed list of major employers across the U.S., including the top banking, retail, restaurant, energy, clothing and big tech companies by market cap

Next, we retrieved job listings for all these companies posted on LinkedIn in March 2024, recording the salaries and days the listings had been live.

After filtering out job listings that were below double the median salary for the job location (Metro Area), we calculated the average number of daily applicants per high-paid job for each company.

The study was completed in April 2024.

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