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Written by Lotte van RijswijkLotte van Rijswijk

The companies with the best and worst junior employee satisfaction

19 min read
The companies with the best and worst junior employee satisfaction
Junior employees are often expected to work longer hours and take on the worst tasks. But it can be difficult when lacking workplace experience to tell the difference between ‘paying your dues’ and being exploited. Getting an idea of how a company treats its junior employees is useful for applicants and incumbents alike. So, to find out which companies are the best and worst for junior employee satisfaction, Resume.io analyzed 22,095 junior-level employee reviews of 54 major companies.

Ambitious new professionals may set out with a clear vision of the company with which they’d like to pursue their careers. But once inside, a company can look very different depending on your altitude. While some companies nurture junior employees, job satisfaction at other firms may prove elusive until you’ve worked your way higher up.

Many industries have a culture of “paying your dues” — doing your share of grunt work while you learn the ropes and prove your dedication. But this can be disheartening to junior employees who may not yet have the perspective to see when they’re being flat-out exploited. And if you’re that junior employee, grinning and bearing it could backfire if it leads to burnout, bitterness or conflict.

It’s no way to start a career: “Without past experiences to benchmark against,” says Helen Hughes, associate professor at Leeds University Business School, “the risk is they accept this is what the workplace entails, bad conditions become normalized, and the young worker ends up thinking this is all they’re worth.”

To highlight the discrepancies between the employee experience at different levels of the top firms, Resume.io has analyzed 22,095 junior- and senior-level employee reviews on Glassdoor from 54 major companies — revealing which companies have the happiest juniors and where life is better at the top.

Key findings

  • Salesforce (4.6 out of 5), Google (4.53) and Microsoft (4.52) have the best junior employee satisfaction ratings.
  • Junior employees at Tesla rate their employer +0.77 points higher than senior employees — the highest junior:senior score ratio of any company.
  • Amazon is the tech giant with the lowest average rating from junior employees (4.05).
  • Junior employee satisfaction levels in the U.S. fell 6% between 2020 and 2023 but showed a slight (0.8%) increase in 2024.

The companies with the best and worst junior employee satisfaction

Tech companies dominate among those with the highest average levels of junior employee satisfaction. Customer relationship management (CRM) software firm Salesforce has the best reviews of all, with an average star rating of 4.65 on Glassdoor from employees in junior-level roles.

Salesforce researchers took Glassdoor’s discovery that “a one-star improvement in a company’s Glassdoor rating corresponds to a 1.3-point out of 100 improvement in customer satisfaction scores” as a starting point for their own research, with which they demonstrated that measurable changes in “employee experience were a strong driver of subsequent revenue.”

The companies with the best and worst junior employee

Retail and fast food firms dominate among the companies where it’s the worst to be a junior employee. Whole Foods (3.43) and Walmart (3.63) join McDonald's (3.54), Starbucks (3.56) and Burger King (3.67) among the 10 lowest-rated companies.

However, IT firm DXC is the worst reviewed by juniors, averaging 3.28. DXC implemented an employee-first strategy in 2021 to drive “productivity and satisfaction.” However, much of the scheme seems to have centered on productivity rather than satisfaction, with a key element being the creation of a “friction-free workplace experience that empowers employees to connect, collaborate and work seamlessly and securely on any device, anytime and anywhere.”

Our resident career expert, Amanda Augustine (CPCC & CPRW), found the findings of our study “very disheartening.” When we asked her about her thoughts on the major companies producing poor employee experiences and low satisfaction levels with their junior employees, Amanda said:

Amanda Augustine
Career Expert, CPCC, CPRW

“I would have assumed, mistakenly it seems, that organizations such as those would invest in their full-time corporate employees at the start of their careers in order to build a team of loyal, long-term, and valuable contributors to the company, as it not only creates a strong and positive employer brand, but it also reduces turnover and other associated costs.“

When junior roles are considered in proportion to the senior employee experience, McDonald’s leapfrogs DXC to become the second-worst big employee for juniors, as the chart below shows. Junior employees give McDonald’s an average score of -0.24 stars less than the average senior.

Since 2021, McDonald’s has “incorporated quantitative metrics related to human capital management into annual incentive compensation awards for our CEO and executive vice presidents.” In other words, some senior figures benefit financially from maintaining happier staff. However, in a more junior-oriented move, the company has also pledged to put a youth worker in every restaurant to help young employees build the “confidence and skills that they can take forward in life and work.”

The tech companies with the best employee satisfaction

Young Americans hope to work for Google or Apple more than almost any other organization, according to a recent Axios/Generation Lab survey of college students. In fact, six of the top 10 most desirable employers are big tech firms.

We found that this isn’t such a bad idea from the junior employee experience point of view. Tech firms dominate among the highest-ranked employers of junior staff, and Google (4.53) offers the best experience of them all, followed by Microsoft (4.52).

Google offers junior employees a range of development and mentorship opportunities and has maintained and met impressive diversity targets — at least before hitting pause on a number of diversity programs. This is particularly important to young professionals, considering that 56% of Gen Z-ers would not accept a job without diverse leadership, and 68% say their employer should do more to build a more diverse workplace.

When compared to the senior experience, Tesla is the place that shapes up best for juniors. Junior employees rate the Tesla experience at 4.39 stars, some +0.77 over the average score given by senior employees (3.61). This may be partly due to an experience misalignment among senior employees with experience at more traditional, unionized auto firms.

Union conditions might help bright-eyed Tesla juniors retain enthusiasm as they climb the ranks. However, as The Guardian notes, Tesla “has been found guilty of illegal union-busting tactics, including firing workers who were trying to organize,” and “organizing an $800bn company run by a union buster with infinite money is not easy.”

Junior employee satisfaction per year at major U.S. companies

Finally, we tracked the sentiments of junior employees in the U.S. over the past five years. In short, it’s not going well! In 2020, U.S. companies garnered an average rating of 4.15 stars from employees in junior roles. Today, that figure is 3.92 — a fall of 0.23 points or 5.5% in five years.

The biggest fall was between 2022 and 2023, when the average rating fell by -0.13 from 4.02 to 3.89 stars. It’s difficult to say for certain exactly what caused this decline in satisfaction, but 2022 was the year many U.S. businesses were starting to cancel their ‘work from home’ policies, and the percentage of employees who were working remotely dropped from around 15% at the start of 2022 to only 5% in September of that year. The removal of such flexible work arrangements that many employees enjoyed during the pandemic may have led to this decline in satisfaction.

Junior highs

“Young people today don’t like to work” — so goes a refrain that’s been passed down through generations. It may be more appropriate to say that junior employees are commonly given less enjoyable work for less pay and less respect — regardless of their energy and ambition. Younger workers are the least satisfied in the workplace, according to research, but this dissatisfaction is as much about exploitation, self-doubt, thwarted ambitions and oversold roles than it is about fear of a hard day’s work.

Amanda Augustine, our resident career expert, recommends that junior-level applicants do their research and try to connect to someone who is currently or previously worked for a company before accepting a job offer.

Amanda Augustine
Career Expert, CPCC, CPRW

“It’s incredibly important to do your research throughout the job-search process, and especially before you decide whether or not to accept a job offer, in order to understand which companies are more likely to provide a supportive work environment and the right company culture for you.”

Thankfully, as our research shows, there are employers out there who invest authentically in the junior employee experience. Whether you’re fresh out of school or planning a mid-career change of industry, it pays to look out for those companies that will look out for you right from the start.


We analyzed 22,095 junior-level employee reviews from 54 major companies with the most reviews on Glassdoor.com.

We ranked which companies junior employees rate highest to work for overall and relative to the ratings given by senior-level employees. 

We also ranked 12 tech giants, with enough comparable reviews to determine which were rated highest by junior employees — both overall and relative to senior-level employees.

We considered job titles junior if they included one of these keywords: junior, graduate, intern, trainee, apprentice or entry-level.

This data analysis was completed in April 2024.

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