How America's Largest Employers Advance Economic and Social Mobility

In 2023, Business Roundtable and the Burning Glass Institute (BGI) partnered to examine the career outcomes for millions of U.S. workers at America’s largest companies, including whether large employers are successfully providing economic opportunity to their workers.

To find out, BGI analyzed the wages and career histories of 16 million American workers at the largest U.S. employers, including the workforces of Business Roundtable member companies. The analysis shows that America’s largest companies provide considerable mobility for their workers.

In terms of economic mobility, large employers:

  • Lift 1.4 million employees into the middle class every year.
  • Deliver a lifelong wage premium for employees who start their careers at a large employer, with an even larger premium if they stay with the employer for a longer period of time. On average, this wage premium over the course of a career amounts to enough to pay for a child’s college education.

These benefits are enjoyed by a broad base of employees at large companies:

  • Hundreds of thousands of workers without four-year college degrees move into management each year as companies increasingly utilize skills-based employment practices.
  • The wage premiums enjoyed by workers at large firms hold across educational levels, with the greatest advantage conferred on those with no more than a high school degree.
  • 1.8 million non-white workers entered the middle class over the last five years.
  • More than 3.6 million women entered the middle class between 2018 and 2022.

Put more simply, large employers, including those led by Business Roundtable members, play a vital role in powering social and economic mobility for American workers, which helps keep the U.S. economy strong, producing greater prosperity for all.