The Top 20 Most (And Least) Competitive Us Companies for Job Seekers

If you want to win, you need to know exactly who (or how many) you're up against. And that's exactly what this latest study from ResumeIO is all about. Inspired by the recent changes in the US job market post-COVID era, it looks at the most and least competitive companies to work for in the USA.

It compiled lists of specific industries and sectors by looking at data collected from LinkedIn, highlighting how many people applied for each job advertised per day.

The study reveals that there is massive demand and fierce competition for high-paying jobs in the tech and business sectors, while, unsurprisingly, it is much easier to get that first interview for retail and service jobs offering low pay for long hours.

Check out the charts below for a full breakdown of the results. But first, let's look at what's driving competitiveness in the US job market and why some companies are still struggling to hire enough staff.

Is the US job market becoming more competitive?

The US job market is becoming increasingly competitive, particularly for positions at top-tier companies in the tech sector.

The digital transformation across industries has led to a surge in demand for skilled professionals, especially in coding, data science, and digital marketing. Then there's the increase in the number of individuals graduating with higher education degrees. More people with bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees means more people with the qualifications for in-demand jobs.

The globalization of the workforce is another factor. The free movement of workers across the globe has enabled top companies to tap into a vast pool of international talent. It raised the talent bar for domestic job seekers and tipped the supply and demand dynamics of labor in favor of the employers.

How to stand out in a competitive job market

Navigating a highly competitive job market requires a strategic approach to ensure you stand out from the crowd, particularly when aiming for positions at top-tier companies.

First and foremost, investing in continuous learning and skill development is crucial. Stay on top of industry trends and develop skills that offer real value.

Networking plays a vital role in creating opportunities. Connect with professionals in your desired field, attend industry conferences, and join relevant online forums. Building a strong professional network can provide access to job openings and referrals, giving you a competitive edge.

Tailoring your resume and cover letter to each job application is essential when applying for in-demand jobs. Generic CVs will not make it past the first round of cuts. Instead, highlight specific experiences and skills that match the job spec.

Developing a strong online presence can also set you apart. Keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date, and make sure it reflects your personal brand. Engage with content relevant to your industry and contribute to discussions to demonstrate your expertise and passion.

And practice and prepare extensively for interviews. Being able to articulate your experiences, showcase your skills, and convey your enthusiasm for the role and company is one of the single best ways to leave a lasting impression on interviewers.

The top 20 most competitive US companies for job seekers

The US streaming giant Netflix is the most competitive company for people looking for a new job, according to a study by LinkedIn data reveal that Netflix receives more than 80 applications (84.47, to be exact) per day for every job listing.

So why do so many people want to work at Netflix? It's probably got a lot to do with the firm's corporate culture.

Netflix is a results-oriented operation. Staff are set tasks and goals, and as long as employees meet them, there is no set amount of work hours. Employees can also take as much time off as they want, providing all tasks get done in the agreed timeframe. So if you finish everything by Tuesday afternoon, you can literally Netflix and chill for the rest of the week. Nice.

Amazon is the next most competitive company for job seekers, receiving 73.25 applications for every job per day. The remaining top spots in the list are all made up of major big tech companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and Alphabet.

The least competitive US companies for job seekers

Restaurant chains Zaxby's and Applebee's share the top spot for the USA's least competitive companies. They receive just 0.01 applications for every job posted per day.

Clothing store Buckle also makes an appearance, with 0.02 applications per job.

There is a clear trend here, with most firms in the top 20 least competitive list operating in the retail or food service sectors. Nine of the top 20 positions are filled by restaurants, while retail stores make up 7 spaces.

Both industries are experiencing a serious staffing shortage crisis; almost 60% of retail and restaurant chains reported understaffing in 2023.

One of the biggest reasons is demographics. Retail and food service roles have traditionally been starter jobs for younger people or college students. But with the USA's aging population, there are simply fewer people around to fill these vacant positions.

Now let's talk about the working conditions. Although there are exceptions to the rule, working within these sectors often involves long hours, low wages, and very few benefits.

And dealing with the general public every day can be 'challenging.' A study published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year reported that 60% of restaurant workers had suffered some form of emotional abuse and disrespect from customers. At the same time, 78% said their mental health was negatively affected in the past 12 months due to interactions with rude and unruly customers.

The tough working conditions and increased demand for staff should lead to better pay and working conditions across the retail and service industries. Or at least in theory. In the real world, workers are still waiting for these to materialize, with many still making below a living wage standard. In summary, retailers and corporate restaurant chains continue to squeeze as much out of their staff as possible, keeping costs down and protecting profit margins.

Big competition for big pay

The competition is fierce for top finance jobs at companies like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and S&P Global. They receive between 20 to 40 job applications daily for every vacant position.

It's easy to see why. Entry-level positions at these prestigious financial firms start at around $70,000. Imagine making that kind of money straight out of college! Traders, analysts, and executives can earn well into the six figures, while top performers can make (literally) millions of dollars per year.

A surprise entry

Super mega global online seller Amazon is the most competitive retailer for new workers in the US. Its warehouses and fulfillment centers receive 73.25 applications every day.

But isn’t Amazon a terrible place to work? You might think that, especially if you've been following the (many) news stories and investigations on working conditions at Amazon.

Reports have raised concerns about long working hours, high injury rates, and the unrelenting pace of work. There are also allegations of aggressive, tech-enhanced monitoring of employees, which, according to some sources, means employees have to use plastic bottles to relieve themselves because restroom breaks make it harder to achieve daily fulfillment targets.

Still, thousands of people apply every month. So why? Amazon offers an environment where people with little education or work experience can make decent money. Because while the work is hard and demanding, it's also well-paid and consistent. With overtime, an Amazon warehouse worker with no former college education can make over $50,000 a year. Night shift workers and managers can earn even more, with some making up to $40 per hour during busy periods.

Read next: The Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns
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