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Fedex vs. UPS Jobs: Purple Pays Better

Despite the fact that gas is nudging close to $4 per gallon, the delivery industry is still going strong. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, delivery and other truck drivers comprise one of the largest occupations in the U.S., holding 3.2 million jobs. Overall, job opportunities continue to be favorable. How can you snag a delivery gig and which company stands out as an employer?

UPS vs. FedEx: Which Employer Pays Best?

Two major players in the delivery business are UPS and FedEx. UPS was ranked number 43 on Fortune’s 2010 list of 500 largest corporations. Its competitor, FedEx, landed 17 spots down at number 60, falling from 59 the year before. UPS is working hard to stay ahead, investing in improvements to its largest air hub, in Louisville, Kentucky, despite financial losses during the recession. DHL pulled its U.S. operations last year and both FedEx and UPS want a share of that market.

Both companies seem healthy. Which one pays their employees better and has a company culture that would suit you? Here’s a look at median annual salary ranges for some of the most common jobs at UPS and FedEx, according online salary database,, as well as some facts about benefits and employee mix. (Note: all numbers circa 2011.)

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Job Title Median Annual Salary Range
Account Executive $43,288 – $104,296
Pilot $85,128 – $393,851
Courier/Messenger $29,845 – $56,006
Customer Service Representative $21,997 – $46,889
Dispatcher $31,932 – $74,470
Loader and Unloader $16,930 – $36,186
Package Handler $19,219 – $30,380
Truck Driver, Light or Delivery Services $25,107 – $51,823


Job Title Median Annual Salary Range
Account Executive $42,885 – $91,510
Pilot $31,987 – $211,490
Courier/Messenger $24,470 – $71,837
Customer Service Representative $19,384 – $43,866
Dispatcher $27,527 – $62,356
Loader and Unloader $19,017 – $48,543
Package Handler $17,836 – $27,438
Truck Driver, Light or Delivery Services $35,680 – $81,626

Job for job, FedEx offers somewhat higher wages. And, PayScale’s data shows that the other thing this Memphis, Tennessee-based carrier provides is a better vacation package. Even if you’ve worked at FedEx for less than a year, you are still eligible for 2.5 weeks of time off. Staff at UPS will not get over two weeks of vacation until they are employed between 1-4 years.

UPS, though, is more generous with bonuses. Truck drivers can earn nearly $1000 per year in bonus money, compared to just $750 at FedEx. In addition, senior program analysts stand to make $1000 more per year wearing brown.

More women work at FedEx, which counts 26 percent of its workforce as female, as opposed to only 22 percent at UPS.

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, UPS branch offices are found in such major cities as Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill., Houston, Texas and New York, N.Y. Most of FedEx staff work in Memphis and the carrier’s branch offices are in Dallas and Houston, Texas, Collierville, Tennessee, Los Angeles, Calif. and Orlando, Fla.

On the whole, UPS employees count 55 percent of their co-workers as being “proactive problem solvers.” FedEx splits its force pretty evenly between those problem solvers and “overachievers,” with 35 and 33 percent, respectively. Which team would you rather be on?

Source: Salary and career data is provided by online salary database The salary ranges shown are for full-time employees with any level of experience and include any bonuses, commissions or profit-sharing.

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22 Comments on "Fedex vs. UPS Jobs: Purple Pays Better"

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Wow, read the entire article and could not find one thing that is even close to accurate. I worked for FedEx and now work for UPS. My wife works for FedEx and the reality of it is that I make twice as much as her, my health benefits are 4 times better (and free to me, she has to pay for her bare minimum insurance) retirement #’s are 4 times as much at UPS.
Article reads like someone just made it all up or at best used terrible references.


You are so right! My husband works for UPS and he could not believe it as I read some of these “facts” to him. You


This is nonsense. I’ve been at UPS for fifteen years. I’ve been driving for 7 of them. Last year I made 92k. I also have full benefits for my entire family. Fed ex drivers I talk to don’t make even close. Why do people who know nothing feel qualified to publish information that is so inaccurate?

Hard Work

$92K for a low-skill driving job?


Yupp….They get a lot overtime and $34 is the top pay with you reach in 4 years.

I worked for FedEx for almost 25 years! Yeah 25 years and got let go!! Because of a customer complaint who could not get their s@$! Together so in fedex’so eyes I was the problem! Fedex nowadays does not care what you have done for the company, or what you have sacrificed! They really don’t! I thought I had job security but I was wrong! The people I worked with are all awesome but I must agree,Frederick smith has lost touch with his company and has let corporate idiots run his company! The company used to be people ,service, profit,… Read more »
I currently work for FedEx, going on 13 years. I’ve seen so many changes it saddens me to see the company being run this way. I am a top performer and my bonus was less than $300 my raise is a flat 3% and our insurance goes up every year and is getting worse and worse. I understand the company needs to make money and have a good amount in reserve, I’m not disputing that, that’s smart planning. When I see15 CEO/presidents making millions ($6-20 million per year) and the true workers get cheap raises it saddens me. I never… Read more »
Lots of important information missing from this mini-article. When thinking of both companies the most common position in a person’s mind in of course delivery driver, the guys you see on the road every day. FedEx Ground and Home Delivery drivers are NOT employees but contractors (or drivers working for contractors); whereas UPS drivers are unionized employees. HUGE difference. Easier to get driving position with FedEx and pay is decent, but ZERO benefits of ANY kind regardless of how long you do the job. The biggest obstacle in the job is FedEx itself, because contractors having issues with deliveries allows… Read more »
This pay you guys are talking about is kinda off. I work for ups and i must say i get paid somewhat ok as a package handler. I mean i can’t complain I signed up for the job. If people want to complain about the pay, then go find another job. Package handlers make anywhere from $12,000- about $32,000 a year. (Thats working part time people!!!). Yeah its not that much but if 5 hours a day monday thru friday. If you want to driver route they start at like 27 something an hour and max somewhere in the mid-$40’s
I had an offer from UPS and Fedex Ground as a handler, ground paid more and took it in 2003. As a driver/courier it is easier, direct hire at fedex express than ups where you have to wait for a slot or take a temp position during the holidays then hope enough people retire/quit that you are the first in the line of people who want to be drivers/couriers. Fedex express has been going down for years, I know I’ve been there. The quality of people they hire has nose dived they abuse and overwork good people to makeup for… Read more »

I work for fedex ground as a driver, 900 before taxes in nh and only her of 1100 being the top paid driver. No benifits or overtime. Ups is the way to go, just tough to get in.


My father worked for UPS from 1975 through 2012. He started loading trucks, then became a driver’s helper over the holidays. When the holidays were over he was offered a part time handlers job. After a month he was offered full time. He had the Sam assigned route until 1995, when he switched over to feeders. He did that until he retired in 2012. He made good money and the union made sure he got yearly raises. He himself admits the money got much better in the late 90’s. There retirement package is exceptional


wow this is very misleading. I just retired my insurance is 1270.00 per month leaves me with 500 dollars thanks FRED. This company is going down hill quick, employee turnover is so high. They cant get people to stay or work, Fred has lost all reality with front line employees the managers and engineers are costing the company a ton of money to look good on paper.


I have worked for both of these companies and I can honestly say these figures are misleading.  Handlers at UPS in reality make more like 10k – 25k a year and 25k is almost impossible unless you are the top guy seniority wise.  Vacation at UPS starts almost immediately, after 5 yrs of being employed I had worked up to 4 weeks of vacation plus 7 sick days.  Fedex vacation time is far less for people under 10yrs.  In my opinion avg salary for a UPS driver is 60 -65k  at Fedex its around 40 – 45k


Pay rates are off package handlers make 32.25 an hour after 3 years of being full time. And over time is plentiful all year with double time during peak season(November-January) pt sups make 15$ an hour and full time make 70k a year plus bonus and 10k in discounted ups stock when promoted. But all this is in Texas. Other states might not be comparable.


Well for most their looking into why does UPS pay 11 starting out and FEDEX 14.50
if your a young student looking to make some part time money you would of course pick fed ex right?


I worked at ups freight for 17 years the pay for city is 27 plus hour fed ex where I work now is currently at 25 plus hour

I have worked for usps for about a year. I am already at 70k after taxes. UPS = work for a decade before you drive. Then when the economy goes a bit bad, they make everyone work part time for a few full time jobs. Every day UPS, Fed Ex,DHL, and even On track sends us parcels to ship because those companies cant afford to keep the work force to be consistent with those deliveries. Even if the economy tanks I still get over 2k + pay check while the other guys call in to see if they have work.
J fingle
I love seeing Fedex and UPS employees complaining about their wages. They’re all people who didn’t have to do drastic things during the recession, yet they complain that their “full” insurance and slight raises were a bit disappointing. These people were so lucky to work for these companies during this time and still feel the need to complain to a group of people who were laid off or at best, given the same wages as the previous year. I’ve worked for both these companies and currently work for one and I’d love to see what these people would do if… Read more »
bill sypher

Ur a hippocryte about the first part ,but ur right about the 2nd part . These people are in very good positions considering some didnt go to college, I have a master’s degree and the ups drivers make more than me in Chicago (I make 91450 a year feeder drivers 90 to 130,000 , but on th the flip side I only work 7 hrs I could take lunch as long as I want and the union is cool. So ya the drivers are loaded.

You have a masters and you can’t even put together a sentence? Say, what you want but the people at UPS work hard and they move up and they are way more competent then any debt serf that went to college when the job is 90 percent hard work, chaos and 10 percent thinking. They deserve everything they get, because moving up through the part time ranks is horrendous. The payoff is worth it, and UPS has paid for my schooling and are trying everything to give people higher positions from the lower ranks. It’s a great company, and they… Read more »
I just looked at UPS package handler wages. Those are s*** wages. Absolute S***. It’s like working at McDonalds, and by the way, all low income employees need to make money in this country. The bottom paid worker should be paid upwards of $15-20 minimum an hour. Without those wages, you cannot live, literally cannot live. The government steps in, and helps the employees, you don’t pay well enough. You are liars, and cheats of the system. Balance the wages more. We are literally a third world country now. Why do you employers pay us dirt wages ? How can… Read more »
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