Balancing work and personal life is often tricky, especially without the support of employers. According to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor, a jobs and career website where employees can post reviews about their company, employers that have the highest rated work-life balance do many of the same things right.
Glassdoor ranked companies on a scale of one to five in terms of providing a strong work-life balance. In the survey, employees of MITRE, a non-profit technology researcher, consistently praised the company’s flexible schedules and generous paid time off among other benefits. Employees working for North Highland, a consulting firm, commended the company’s “family-friendly” work environment. MITRE and North Highland received the highest average scores of 4.5.
In 2012, Glassdoor has received 385,000 reviews from employees from about 100,000 different employers, Glassdoor spokesperson Samantha Zupan told 24/7 Wall St. in a telephone interview. However, to be included in the survey, employers had to have at least 20 reviews this year and 10 reviews last year, which Zupan said included “thousands” of companies. Glassdoor highlighted the 25 employers with the highest scores.
Only nine companies on this year’s top 25 employers were on the list in 2011. Nestle Purina PetCare, the top employer in 2011, didn’t make it on to this year’s list at all. Other well-known companies who didn’t make the cut this year include Facebook, Southwest Airlines, General Mills and MTV Networks. Zupan explained that with the exception of a few people who submits a review every year, the reviews are different annually. The top 25 employers were bunched tightly together in terms of scores, meaning small changes could take last year’s highest ranking companies off the list.
The technology sector comprised a sizable portion of the top 25. Twelve “technology companies,” as designated by Glassdoor, made this year’s list, including some of the industry’s best known brands like LinkedIn, Orbitz, Novell, and Citrix Systems. The top-25 also included other Internet-centric businesses not designated as “technology companies” by Glassdoor such as CareerBuilder and Wayfair.
In addition to North Highland, two other consulting firms also made the top 25: Slalom Consulting and Bain & Co. Salaries at these consulting firms tend to be very high. The average consultant base salary at Bain is $124,329 and $108,954 at Slalom, according to salaries submitted to Glassdoor.
Technology companies are more likely to provide benefits such as flexible work hours, job sharing and permission to telecommute, Zupan notes. In other industries, Zupan says, employees gave companies high marks for benefits such as compressed work weeks, and on-site cafeterias and gyms.
Employers who score lower on work-life balance, Zupan notes, tend to come from industries where benefits such as flexible schedules and telecommuting are less feasible, such as health care and food industry.
The vast majority of the companies in Glassdoor’s top 25 employers have more than $1 billion in revenue. Four of the companies in the top 25 are also in the 2012 Fortune 500: Fluor (124), Edison (211), Discover (300), and Agilent (375). While larger companies may be able to afford more perks such as an on-site cafeteria or gym, work-life balance benefits are very important for smaller companies.
“Good work-life balance is even more important in leaner companies,” Zupan says, noting that same is true for companies who cut back during the recession. “When higher salaries can’t be given out, even things such as a ping-pong table at the workplace can lead to retention of employees.”