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  December 27th, 2023 | Written by

The Top Fortune 500 Companies for Career Advancement 

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Most job-seekers search for opportunities by the position, and not the company. While this will undoubtedly yield more results, some companies, especially Fortune 500 companies, score much better on valued metrics such as pay, promotion, and retention than others.  

The 2023 American Opportunity Index examines how Fortune 500 companies hire, pay, and promote their employees. Millions of online profiles and ancillary data sources were compiled while thirteen measures covered everything from wage and pay increases, the number of promotions employees received, as well as the average amount of time it took to move up departmental ranks. In the end, 396 companies qualified with 104 excluded due to insufficient data. 


Coming in number one overall was Coca-Cola. The Atlanta-based conglomerate scored particularly high in pay, hiring, and culture. The Index noted that Coca-Cola is one of the best places to start a career as the company culture is steadfast in its objective of advancing employees to higher-paying jobs mainly through short-term assignments that help prepare staff for future growth. 

The number two spot was held by Bank of America, scoring well in promotion and pay. Like Coca-Cola, upward ascension is prioritized and Bank of America is also known for preparing current employees for even higher-ranking jobs once they leave the bank. Rounding out the top 3 was J.M. Smucker, a jam and spread maker with only 6,700 global employees but notable scores in promotion, pay, and culture. 

Largest Employers 

In terms of the largest employers on the list, Walmart is the biggest with 2.1 million employees worldwide, and scored well on ease of promotion, but underperformed on pay. Amazon, the second largest employer on the list performed notably on ease of promotion as well as parity for minorities, but poorly on culture. This appears to be due to low retention figures and a lack of upward movement. 


The Index’s Fortune 500 banking firms offered some interesting takeaways. Citizens Financial Group employs only 19,000 people but ranked high in its hiring of workers without a college degree or little experience. Other similar-sized banks displayed comparable results leading to a possible conclusion that breaking into the banking sector would be easier with a smaller than larger bank. 

Tech Companies

Tech firms performed well as a group. Meta Platforms and Microsoft led overall aggregate scores, especially in employee promotion. Microsoft bested Meta, however, when it came to turnover. 


Overall retailers performed well on hiring and promotion. Another area where retailers scored above average was parity, displaying an above-average record of advancing Black, Hispanic, and female employees. Costco Wholesale noted high marks for culture and pay, while Home Depot scored highest in retention, promotion, and hiring.