Best Places to Work 2011

The Best Places to Work is out from Fortune for the year 2011 (source).  Given the time of year when many college seniors are thinking about future employers and looking to land their first job, while college freshmen and sophomores are looking to finalize their major specialization (see this list of the Best College Majors by highest starting salary), it’s timely to consider just what is a great place to work versus a sub-par corporation that will leave new entrants to the workforce unchallenged, unrecognized and generally apathetic about their professional career.

The survey is interesting to say the least, even if some of the criteria and outputs are a bit questionable:

Best Places to Work – Trends

  • The biggest change I noticed from prior years was that there’s a smaller showing from Financial companies and Accounting firms – a sign of the times I suppose.
  • Tech companies comprise a larger portion of top companies compared to prior years.
  • Pharma is nowhere to be found any more – a big shift from decades of high standing (layoffs and shrinking growth prospects).

Best Places to Work – The Top 10 List

  1. SAS
  2. Boston Consulting Group
  3. Wegmans Food Markets
  4. Google
  5. NetApp
  7. Camden Property Trust
  8. Nugget Market
  9. Recreational Equipment (REI)
  10. DreamWorks Animation SKG

Best Places to Work Survey – Observations:

The way this survey was structured, you can click through each company to see detailed statistics which were marginally helpful.  They have a tab for pay, but the way it was structured is kind of dumb.  They pick a title based on a common role, and then list the average pay for that title.  So, there’s no way to do a meaningful comparison across companies for pay.  By looking at the top 10 in pay (listing), you have a Senior Account Executive at being compared to an associate at a law firm.  And law firms comprise the bulk of the top of the pay list.  We all know lawyers make a lot of money.  It would have been nice to see median salary per employee or pay per types of roles or something but I suppose companies would be unwilling to give out that sort of info (even though somehow Fortune derived the average pay for the title they did list).

Overall, often times, your major or skill set will dictate where you should target working as opposed to one of these lists.  For instance, a mechanical engineer probably shouldn’t focus on working at a Google or NetApp just because they appeared on this latest list.

Six-Figure Jobs

Six Figure Jobs are getting to be harder to come by in the current economic environment. As the supply-demand equation has switched from a shortage of qualified workers and an abundance of firms looking to talent to many talented, experienced employees looking for work, it’s not quite the same as we saw during the boom years. That being said, there are new services and resources that didn’t exist previously. A wonderful resource that I enjoy is The Ladders where you can Search Only $100K+ Jobs. If you’re highly qualified and used to earn upwards of six figures, this service can greatly hone your search and it also limits the candidate pool to those with recent six-figure salaries.

Do you work for any companies on the list?  Did BusinessWeek get it right?

About Everyday Finance 67 Articles

The author has a background in Chemical Engineering and an MBA specializing in Finance and Biotech Management. Enamored by investing and saving since a teen, the author has been an advocate for optimized investment returns and strategies.

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