The Best 50 Places To Work In 2012
Several publications produce lists of the best companies to work for. Fortune magazine analyzes metrics like benefits, voluntary turnover, and work/life balance to determine which employers are the best. TheBoston Globesurveys employees at a couple hundred organizations. And while both offer valuable lists, perhaps no ranking can capture the shifting attitudes of employees more accurately than Glassdoor, because it collects that information from thousands of companies year-round.
There are some common traits in all the companies that make this year's list. "Communication," says Robert Hohman, Glassdoor's CEO. "They're really good at refining the mountain, pointing at the mountain, and saying 'that's what we're going to climb.' "
The employers also put an emphasis on career opportunities and work/life balance, whether its social events or the option to work from home. "They care about the life part of work/life balance," Hohman adds. "They care that your lives are good."
Glassdoor's top five companies to work for in 2012 are (on a rating scale of 1 to 5):
Employee rating: 4.0
Software Engineer: $103,183
Google is a consistent player on Glassdoor's lists. Its employees enjoy the open, flat culture, the perks, the freedom, and all the smart people. Some call it a cult, others call it "College 2.0," and still others say it's just a great place to work.
This feeling among employees has persisted, even though Google faces a whopping, and growing, challenge of scale. "[Former CEO Eric] Schmidt did an amazing job making the infrastructure," says Hohman. And the transition to a new CEO this year, Larry Page, hasn't shaken employees' faith in the company's future. "They're excited to have a founder running the company," Hohman says.
Employee rating: 4.1
Senior Systems Engineer: $92,808
This nonprofit company does federally funded research for a host of government agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service.
"MITRE has a very dedicated and professional workforce, and tackles some of the most difficult and rewarding problems for the country," says one MITRE Level IV employee. Plus workers get to pick from a wide array of projects, and have the freedom to direct themselves.
Combined with great work/life balance and a CEO, Alfred Grasso, with a 92 percent approval rating, MITRE is a great company, even if some employees call it "old school."
"They feel like they're serving a higher purpose," says Hohman, speaking from the perspective of MITRE's 6,000-plus employees. "Building a stronger country."
Employee rating: 4.3
Software Engineer: $110,656
People are probably sick of hearing what a sweet employer Facebook is. Haute cuisine, laundry service, international speakers -- yeah, yeah, yeah. So maybe it's time for some schadenfreude; Facebook slipped from a 4.6 rating last year, and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg tumbled from a 96 percent approval rate to 89 percent.
But alas, Facebook still stands strong. "I get to work on an app that almost a billion people will use," says Hohman, placing himself in the mindset of a Facebook engineer. "And all my friends use it. It's kind of like being famous."
Like several companies on Glassdoor's list, including LinkedIn, Groupon and Zyga, there is also a sense of riches on the horizon, according to Hohman. Because these companies are privately held or were private for most of the last year, there's a feeling among employees that their work will play off later with a dazzling Initial Public Offering.
2. McKinsey & Co.
Employee rating: 4.3
A management consulting company lands the No. 2 spot, which gives support to the idea that consulting is one of the booming industries of the coming decade. McKinsey is one of the most improved companies on Glassdoor's list, jumping up from the 18th slot last year. Part of this may be its CEO Dominic Barton, who crept up from a 93 percent approval rating last year to a blinding 100 percent today.
Skill-building is one of the qualities that employees cherish most in a company, and consulting giants do this really well. "This very difficult time has made employees think about how to build themselves over time," explains Hohman. And companies that invest in a major way in their recruits can end up with a more loyal workforce.
1. Bain & Co.
Employee rating: 4.7
This management consulting company jumped up from No. 3 last year, and its CEO Steve Ellis, clocked in with a stellar 96 percent approval rating.
"We consistently hear from our current and former employees that the challenging and supportive environment that Bain provides make us not only the best place to work, but a great launching pad to a successful career," says Russ Hagey, chief talent officer for the company, "whether it's within the business, social or entrepreneurial sectors."
And it's proven true. The global consulting giant's notable alumni include current and former CEOs of American Express, Burger King, eBay, Dell, Quiznos and Habitat for Humanity.
For Hohman, Bain & Co.'s success is perfectly simple: "They get work with a lot of smart people. They get to work on a lot of different projects. They get to travel the world." And of course, there's the generous compensation.
Although they didn't make it into the top five, Apple, Chevron, and Proctor & Gamble deserve a special mention for sitting comfortably in the top 50 list for all four years of the rankings.
Seventeen other employers deserve a round of applause for making their debut into this elite group. These include Cleveland Clinic, Coach, Disney Parks & Resorts, J.Crew, and Starbucks.
Glassdoor Employees' Choice Award Winners
50 Best Places To Work (2012)
CEO Approval Rating
Bain & Co.
McKinsey & Co.
A. Lanham Napier
United Space Alliance
Andrew N. Liveris
John S. Watson
Gary C. Kelly
James J. Truchard
Wayfair (formerly CSN Stores)
Mark B. Templeton
Paul E. Jacobs
Jim Hagemann Snabe / Bill McDermott
Procter & Gamble
David T. Seaton
Johnson & Johnson
Paul S. Otellini
Disney Parks & Resorts
Howard D. Schultz
Mark G. Parker
Ernst & Young
Lloyd C. Blankfein
Blake W. Nordstrom
Dennis M. Nally
John C. Lechleiter
Philippe P. Dauman
Rodger O. Riney
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