For many Americans, 2011 ended on a somewhat pessimistic note. Income barely rose and consumers tapped their savings during the crucial Christmas season. Despite things looking ahead for 2012, chances of an economic recession have urged many people to lookout for a job with better perks.
If you're that average ambitious American on a job hunt, look no further. Here's a list of top ten best-paying companies that Fortune Magazine publishes every year.
Click through the slide show to find out each company's average pay, designation most common and other highlights that make the organization so great.
1. Southern Ohio Medical Center
The regional hospital is the top-paying company with doctors there having an average salary of $490,647 per year. The medical center has 2,200 full- and part-time employees and has a medical team of over 140 physicians and specialists.
Fortune explains that the company sweetens the pot by matching employees' 401(k) contributions 100 percent ... and by offering perks such as SOMC Adventures, which include New York shopping sprees, Caribbean cruises, visits to Amish county, and dinner trips. Other perks include tuition reimbursement not only for employees but for family members as well.
2. Bingham McCutchen
The Boston law firm ranks second not just in terms of pay, but also benefits, perks and diversity, Fortune noted.
Bingham McCutchen pays its associates $228,851 a year on average. According to the report, associate attorneys received bonuses between $7,500 and $35,000, in addition to spring bonuses between $2,500 and $20,000 the previous year.
Bingham will minister up to 12.5% of employees' compensation into a money-purchase allowance plan for retirement. Other firm benefits include emergency child care, flexible schedules and pet insurance, and such thoughtful extras as gift cards on birthdays and onsite yoga sessions.
3. Alston & Bird
Alston & Bird is the largest law firm in Atlanta and offers quarterly investment seminars in addition to year-end merit bonus and profit-sharing of up to 7% of one's income.
The firm pays associates an average of $201,233 per year. Other perks include spot bonuses of up to $2,000, door prizes and gifts from Tiffany & Co. after every five years of service.
The firm offers family and child benefits such as three months maternity leave and 3 weeks paternity leave with pay. Other benefits include reimbursements up to $7,000 of medical adoption benefits in addition to a host of other recreational activities.
4. Perkins Coie
Perkins Coie is an international law firm that pays associates nearly $200,000 a year as well as 100% of medical and dental premiums to employees who punch in at least 25 hours a week. The firm contributes 7.3% of one's salary into a retirement fund through matching 401(k) programs.
Other benefits the firm offers are two months' paid sabbatical leave, pet insurance, community service opportunities and Life insurance with voluntary supplemental coverage. Perkins Coie also organizes softball and book clubs on days off.
5. EOG Resources
EOG Resources is one of the largest independent oil and natural gas companies in the U.S. that pays its engineers an annual $188,663 on an average. Besides being offered big bonuses as much as $500,000, the employees are also eligible for Stock options as part of their compensation packages. Through a 401(k) program, the company contributes up to 6% of annual compensation as well as a company-funded retirement contribution of up to 9%. Other benefits include flexibility in work schedule, casual dress policy and other recreational programs.
6. Devon Energy
Devon Energy has been included on Fortune magazine's prestigious list of 100 Best Companies to Work For for the fourth year in a row. Fortune reported that the oil and natural gas producer paid its engineers more than $9,000 as median bonuses the previous year. There's also 22% of cash compensation through a 401(k) program, and long-term incentives.
7. Ultimate Software
The company pays its systems consultants an average of $166,000 a year, with benefits such as medical, and tuition reimbursement up to $5,250 per year. New hires are eligible for restricted stock shares as well as employee assistant programs that can include family members.
All employees of Ultimate Software are eligible to take their families along for a company-subsidized trip every two years.
8. Hitachi Data Systems
Those applying for Sales Support Function/Solutions Consultant get paid $163,694 on an average per year. Hitachi matches employees' 401(k) contribution up to 6% of salary and the information technology department of the company hands out bonuses four times per year. The company also organizes recognition and reward programs, where great deals of prizes are handed out.
9. Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group pays its new hires an average pay packet of $154,543 a year. Perks include signing bonuses, 5% profit sharing retirement fund contribution, three weeks' vacation, training programs, and upgrades to business class on flights for employees who are always on the move.
New consultants receive up to $184,800, and as their rapidly expanding responsibilities increase, their compensation follows suit, Fortune added.
Autodesk pays its software engineers a little more than $150,000 a year. Those hired new receive stock options and even have the chance to get restricted stock shares. In addition to regular vacation period, employees get a full six weeks off with pay every four years.
Autodesk believes in treating all its employees equally and also in community services, where employees can take up to six days a year to help out.