6 Companies Where You Can Work Your Way Up To a Six-Figure Job

a man walking up spiral stairs
subman/Getty images

Many employees stay at companies less than five years before hopping to a new job somewhere else.

In 2016, the median job tenure was 4.2 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

But there’s still some truth to that advice your parents gave you growing up: Work hard, put in the time and your company will reward you.

Here are six companies where you can start at the bottom and wind up making six figures.

Each is known for promoting from within, providing training and development opportunities for employees, and helping the most dedicated workers rise through the ranks.

1. Earn 6 Figures at Whole Foods

Photo Source: Whole Foods
Photo Source: Whole Foods

The natural foods grocery store has made it onto Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since the list began in 1998, in large part due to the company culture.

The company says there are “countless” stories of people who started off bagging groceries and stocking shelves and who are now in leadership positions. Store managers can make more than $100,000.

“We believe that (employees’) happiness and health is essential, which is why we invest in their personal and professional growth,” said Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb.

“We encourage team members to seek out opportunities that fulfill their deeper purpose and celebrate individual creativity and potential.”

2. Earn $125K a Year as a Chipotle Restaurateur

Photo Source: Facebook.com/Chipotle
Photo Source: Facebook.com/Chipotle

An entry-level crew member at fast-casual restaurant chain Chipotle makes an average $31,000 per year.

But stick around long enough and go through the company’s restaurateur program, and you can make $120,000 a year, plus get some pretty sweet benefits like a company car, tuition reimbursement and stock privileges.

Plus, each time a restaurateur trains another crew member to become a general manager, they get $10,000.

That’s because former co-CEO Monty Moran found the best performing Chipotle locations had a manager who had worked his or her way up through the ranks from the very bottom.

Moran hoped to keep quality employees at the restaurant level, so they would focus on making individual stores great and train the people around them.

“The foundation of our people culture, on which everything else stands, is the concept that each person at Chipotle will be rewarded based on their ability to make the people around them better,” Moran told Quartz.

3. Launch a High-Paying Career at Costco

Photo Source: Min-Jung Kim under Creative Commons
Photo Source: Min-Jung Kim under Creative Commons

Costco is well known for its culture of promoting from within. The average Costco manager started out pushing shopping carts in the parking lot when they were 19 or 20 years old, Jim Sinegal, Costco’s co-founder, said in an interview with The Motley Fool.

Costco warehouse managers earn about $74,000 a year, according to Glassdoor, which asks current and former employees to share salary information anonymously.

“We would never dream of hiring a manager for one of our Costcos from outside the company,” Sinegal said. “It has to be somebody who has worked their way up in our system.”

Plus, the company is super keen on work-life balance and allowing employees to pursue their education while they’re working.

Maybe you don’t want to manage a Costco, but you want to become a pharmacist. The company will keep you on while you go to school, then promote you to pharmacy manager, Sinegal said.

4. Become a Captain at Trader Joe’s

Photo Source: Phillip Pessar under Creative Commons
Photo Source: Phillip Pessar under Creative Commons

Three-quarters of TJ’s store leaders, called Mates, started at the bottom of the food chain (no pun intended), according to the grocery store’s website.

A step above Mates are Captains, or Trader Joe’s store managers, who are promoted exclusively from within.

“We promote based on performance, which means passion and dedication determines growth,” according to the Trader Joe’s website.

The average store manager at Trader Joe’s makes between $52,000 and $106,000, according to Glassdoor.

The company also contributes 10% of an employee’s gross income to tax-deferred retirement accounts.

5. Make More Than $200K at Procter & Gamble

Photo Source: Procter & Gamble
Photo Source: Facebook.com/ProcterGamble

Procter & Gamble, the manufacturer of a wide array of household and personal care products, is renowned for its internal hiring practices.

The company, which was founded in 1837, is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has locations all over the world. It offers hundreds of careers ranging from engineering to information technology to branding to market analysis.

“Most of our people start at an entry level and then progress and prosper throughout the organization,” says the P&G website. “This drives a culture of coaching, challenging and shaping our people into P&G leaders of today and tomorrow.”

If you make it to the director level, you can make more than $200,000, according to Glassdoor.

The company says it hires the person, not the position, which means you can move around to various roles depending on your interests and talents.

P&G also says it tries to build leaders in every facet of the business and in every region of the country by giving them early, meaningful responsibilities.

6. Get in Early With a Startup

Photo Source: Eric Bailey under Creative Commons
Photo Source: Eric Bailey under Creative Commons

Though startups are a bit risky — I’ve heard something like 90% of them fail — if you get in with a successful startup at the beginning, you can wind up making a pretty awesome salary if the company takes off.

Think about it: If you’re one of the first people working 10- to 12-hour days with the company’s founder in their garage, you’ll likely be rewarded handsomely if business starts booming or another company acquires it.

An example: When ad tech company MoPub was acquired by Twitter in 2013, 36 of its 100 employees became millionaires.

Plus, you’ll get intense hands-on experience, likely from nearly every facet of the business. Should you ever decide to leave the startup, that’ll make you more marketable in the corporate world and could land you a bigger paycheck.

Sarah Kuta has a penchant for weekend thrifting, furniture refurbishment and good deals. Find her on Twitter: @sarahkuta.