The Top 25 Companies For Career Opportunities

With the economy on a slow and staggered upswing, many Americans are just looking for a way to pay the bills. But some lucky job seekers will find themselves with more than just a job. They'll end up with a career.

First, however, they need to know where to find it.

Using employee satisfaction ratings over the past 12 months, the job and career community Glassdoor ranked the companies that managed to stoke the most optimism in their employees, with respect to their professional growth and career advancement. Here are the top 25, along with the average pay of one of those top positions to which you could be advancing:

1. Boston Consulting Group

Career opportunity rating: 4.3

Management consulting manager: $223,333

If you can get a gig at this prestigious management consulting firm, you can enjoy rich feedback from managers, access to senior leaders, scholarships for masters' degrees, intensive training, and supportive HR policies. And sweet compensation that starts at $60,000 and goes up and up and up. No wonder BCG has been in the top 15 of Fortune's "Best Companies to Work For" for six consecutive years.

-- Find jobs at Boston Consulting Group

2. Bain & Company

Career opportunity rating: 4.2

Management consultant (manager): $146,100

Employees rave about Bain's quality training and mentorship, as well as the range of professional experiences it provides. It seems to work. The global consulting giant's notable alumni include current and former CEOs of American Express, Burger King, eBay, Dell, Quiznos, and Habitat for Humanity. Consulting magazine has named Bain the "Best Firm to Work For" for nine consecutive years.

-- Find jobs at Bain & Company

3. McKinsey & Company

Career opportunity rating: 4.1

Associate principal: $365,243

McKinsey employees love McKinsey employees. One called the company the "most pure form of meritocracy," and certainly the best, brightest, and most ambitious Ivy League graduates flock to the firm, networking, collaborating, and traveling the world together. But a lot of those employees don't stay. With ruthless hours and an infamous "up or out" policy, around half of McKinsey's hires bow out after a few years. (And go on to become the CEO of Morgan Stanley, Boeing, Sun Microsystems, PepsiCo, Enron, and IBM.)

-- Find jobs at McKinsey & Company

4. Keller Williams

Career opportunity rating: 4.0

Team leader: $63,094

Keller Williams is a folk-funk-reggae musician, who hosts the radio show "Keller's Cellar." It's also a massive real estate franchise organization. "There is training for just about anything," said one Keller Williams Realtor. "If you ever have a question, someone is always willing to help answer it. KW has a very caring type atmosphere."

-- Find jobs at Keller Williams

5. Nestle Purina Petcare

Career opportunity rating: 4.0

Brand manager: $121,105

Nestle is a very big company, the largest food and nutrition company in the world, in fact, which means lots of room for growth. And any company dedicated to caring for small and furry animals is probably good to humans too. At least its employees think so.

-- Find jobs at Nestle Purina Petcare

6. Accretive Health

Career opportunity rating: 4.0

Manager: $127,833

"Most people who work there are young, hard working and active, which makes work fun," said one Patient Account Representative about the Chicago-based health consulting firm. Accretive tries to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in its employees, rewarding high-performers.

-- Find jobs at Accretive Health

7. Edelman

Career opportunity rating: 4.0

Senior account supervisor: $103,167

This PR firm is "at the forefront of innovation in the industry," said one employee, and working there you can feel it. Opportunities abound for Edelman's 4,000 employees, with plenty of client face time for young upstarts.

-- Find jobs at Edelman

8. Sheetz

Career opportunity rating: 4.0

Assistant manager: $33,144

"Benefits, pay, bonuses, fast pace, friendly people, great hours, promotions, I really can't think of anything I don't like!" gushed one Shift Supervisor about the truck stop/convenience store chain.

-- Find jobs at Sheetz

9. Facebook

Interviewers at Facebook tend to start off with the question "Why Facebook?" It's not difficult to answer. Facebook's start-up vibes give its employees the sense that they can make a big impact on the company, and the entire wired world.

Career opportunity rating: 3.0

Product manager: $131,667

-- Find jobs at Facebook

10. Goldman Sachs

Career opportunity rating: 3.8

Senior analyst developer: $125,416

The global investment banking and securities firm has been the training ground for many Masters of the Universe, like two U.S. secretaries of the Treasury, the governor of the Bank of Canada, the Nigerian finance minister, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, the president of Wachovia, and the prime minister of Italy. Goldman Sachs always looks "to be leading edge," said one senior analyst, and they want you to be leading edge too. Also, "the salaries are very nice," according to one associate.

-- Find jobs at Goldman Sachs

11. Slalom Consulting

Career opportunity rating: 3.8

Management consultant: $136,300

Slalom has made it onto so many "Best Companies to Work For" lists you have to wonder what its secret is. "Freedom" say many of its employees. Slalom trusts its staff to work autonomously, which gives the business and technology consulting firm its fast-paced growth environment. Also, the leadership "truly cares for you as a person," said one employee.

-- Find jobs at Slalom Consulting

12. CareerBuilder

Career opportunity rating: 3.8

Major account executive: $119,893

"I've had nothing but encouraging managers," said one employee. It makes sense that the largest online employment website in the country, which helps 23 million people monthly advance their careers, would want the same for its own employees.

-- Find jobs at CareerBuilder

13. KPMG

Career opportunity rating: 3.8

Advisory manager: $116,901

You hit the ground running at KPMG, providing audit, tax and advisory services to some of the biggest businesses in the world. At KPMG, the opportunities are all there for you to grab, which is why the company was second on Universum's 2010 index of "The World's Most Attractive Employers." But if you don't grab them, "it's your own fault," said one senior associate.

-- Find jobs at KPMG

14. GE

Career opportunity rating: 3.7

Senior engineer: $98,318

As the sixth-largest firm in the U.S., "there is really an unlimited number of opportunities on every function," said one employee. The engineering problems are challenging and rewarding, according to one GE engineer, and results will bring you ever more responsibility, if you want it.

-- Find jobs at GE

15. Barracuda Networks

Career opportunity rating: 3.7

Average pay for a product manager: $123,018

The worldwide leader in content security appliances wants to separate the wheat from the chaff. Perform high, and you'll get promoted, which creates an environment of fast-growth. "Those who embrace that kind of culture will find the most success here," said one employee.

-- Find jobs at Barracuda Networks


Career opportunity rating: 3.7

Average pay for principal information systems engineer: $152,450

MITRE provides nonprofit systems engineering and IT support for the Department of Defense, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Homeland Security, and all those other institutions that hold our society together. Make yourself known here, and you've entered the big leagues. There's "always something different, something new and exciting," said one employee.

-- Find jobs at MITRE

17. PricewaterhouseCoopers

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Advisory manager: $134,338

"Imagine the power of 160,000 people with a common purpose -- building relationships that create value for you and your business. This is PwC," says the company's website. And this isn't just propaganda speak. "PwC has great people and they look out for their own," said one employee. With personalized coaching programs, great CPA exam preparation, and lots of opportunities for professional development, PwC can boast all it wants.

-- Find jobs at PricewaterhouseCoopers

18. Qualcomm

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Senior staff engineer/manager: $167,278

Fortune voted this wireless telecommunications company No. 9 on its "Best Companies to Work For" list last year. Although there can be long hours, the work is innovative, and the company encourages you to be too.

-- Find jobs at Qualcomm

19. Susquehanna International Group

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Senior software engineer: $133,250

Susquehanna International was founded by a few college friends, and while it's grown into one of the largest privately held financial institutions in the world, it's maintained some of the casual collegiate vibe. The office hierarchy is pretty flat and new employees are given plenty of freedom. Corporate ladders aren't so important at Susquehanna. It just matters that you're "innovative and forward thinking," said one employee.

-- Find jobs at Susquehanna International Group

20. Colgate-Palmolive

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Human resource director: $203,759

Colgate-Palmolive has an "environment which does not make employees insecure," said one employee. The company offers an excellent work-life balance, with great benefits, perks, mentorship, and the opportunity to travel around the world. Colgate, after all, was always about making people smile.

-- Find jobs at Colgate-Palmolive

21. Rackspace

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Director: $142,250

This IT hosting and cloud computing company is an "explosion of new knowledge," said a Rackspace Systems Administrator II. The atmosphere is casual with constant sharing of experiences and information. "If you are a 9-5 kind of person you will get a 'meh' experience, but show initiative and a good work ethic, the rewards are great (financial and other)," the administrator added.

-- Find jobs at Rackspace

22. Cargill

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Average pay of a business analyst: $97,411

In terms of revenue, this food, livestock, feed, energy and steel private distributor and trader is the largest corporation in the United States. This makes Cargill a good place for growth and job security. As one employee said, it's "in an industry that will always be needed." The industry of everything.

-- Find jobs at Cargill

23. Whataburger

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Average pay of a general manager: $60,600

As Harmon Dobson's two-man burger stand grew into a 700-location franchise, it held onto the same old family feeling. "We hire people we believe in," says the "Join The Family" section of its website, "we train them for success and we help them build careers that last." And the employees notice the rewards. "[I've] been here two months and already getting moved up," said one Whataburger Cook. "Work your butt off and the managers will notice you!"

-- Find jobs at Whataburger

24. Deloitte

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Senior consultant: $103,673

Deloitte will hand you opportunities if you're willing to work for them, and without missing a beat. Early in your career, you're able to lead teams at the largest private professional services organization in the world. And the teams are full of great people, according to one of those people.

-- Find jobs at Deloitte

25. Weber Shandwick

Career opportunity rating: 3.6

Average pay of a group manager: $80,250

This leading PR agency gives its employees the chance to work with a dazzling list of global clients, along with a nice benefits package, and a great career path for junior level staff. "Make it a career here," said one group manager.

-- Find jobs at Weber Shandwick

Next:Ten Best Fortune 500 Companies To Work For

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