By Ian Salisbury
May 29, 2018

You may think earning a big salary means climbing the corporate ladder. Not necessarily.

Many U.S. companies offer six-figure salaries even to rank-and-file workers. A few, like California-based cancer-research company Geron Corp. (median pay: $500,250) and New Jersey clean-energy firm NRG Yield (median pay: $964,000), hand out upwards of half a million dollars or more.

Those numbers are part of a trove of new data companies are being required to make public for the first time as part of their annual Securities and Exchange Commission filings. Designed to give investors a way to gauge chief executive pay, the numbers also highlight which companies are most generous to their everyday staffs.

To give a flavor of what’s available across different industries and parts of the country, MONEY highlighted the best-paying employer headquartered in each state, using figures compiled by the labor group AFL-CIO for companies in the Russell 3000 stock market index.

(Figures are for median pay, meaning they represent the mid-point for each company’s payroll, with an equal number of employees earning more and an equal number earning less. Experts consider the median to be a better indicator of “typical” pay than the average since a few exorbitantly paid executives can dramatically skew the average upwards.)

Of course, snagging a job at one of these deep-pocked employers isn’t just a matter of good luck. Many of these firms have small staffs — think a few dozen employees or fewer — in niches like managing real estate or biotechnology.

But that’s not always the case. The median salary at Entergy a Louisiana-based energy company with 13,000 workers is $124,000. At Textron, the Rhode Island-based maker of Bell Helicopters and Cessna aircraft, with 37,000 employees, it’s more than $90,000.

Find your home state — and perhaps the next place to send your resume.

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