An equal seat at the table. The presence of female executive leadership. Generous health insurance and continuing education benefits. These are just a few of the qualities that catapulted businesses to the top of the list on Fortune and Great Place to Work’s 100 Best Workplaces for Women in 2017, unveiled today.
Surveying more than 400,000 U.S. workers at employers bearing a “Great Place to Work-Certified” label, the study looked at four primary factors: “Representation,” “Comparison to Colleagues,” “A Consistent Experience within a Diverse Group” and “Key Great Place to Work Metrics.”
Employers also had to have a minimum of 50 female employees to be considered.
Among many other findings, 95% of women employed at companies on the list deemed them “welcoming, friendly and places they are proud to tell others about,” and the women at companies on the list also tended to rate them highly if they offered venues for professional development.
Unlike for men, who reported greater job satisfaction the higher up they got in rank, women experienced a slight dip in job satisfaction when they moved from front-line roles to middle management, the study found. In addition, women were five times more likely to consider their place of employment as a potential for a long-term career if they felt that they had been “treated as full team members regardless of position” during their time at the company, the study found.
Even more important to women than salary or benefits, however, was a sense that they were doing meaningful work and making a difference at their company, the study found.
So how are companies making the list? Let’s check out the shared qualities of the winners:
Here’s who made the list
1. Texas Health Resources
This non-profit health care company took the top spot, with 77% of their staff made up of women employees and 70% of women in “executive/manager” roles.
While the company doesn’t have childcare services onsite or limitless sick days, it lets employees telecommute, gives part-time workers health insurance, has “domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples” and more.
Employees praised the company’s open-door policy to solutions.
“Texas Health promotes a culture where the best idea wins — regardless of the seniority of the person who contributed it. I feel free to share my opinions even when they differ from those of leadership, and this has been true since I began my career here,” one staffer wrote, according to the study.
Parti-time and full-time workers also have the opportunity to get thousands of dollars in college tuition reimbursement, which the company says it supports because it “helps employees build their academic credentials from the GED through graduate coursework.”
2. Ultimate Software
The staff of this IT company is comprised of nearly half women — at 49% — and 42% of “executive/manager” jobs are filled by women.
“Walking into the office feels like walking into Magic Kingdom; the air feels safe, comfortable, and warm, and everyone is happy and smiling,” one employee wrote.
Salaried workers receive 25 hours of training on average, while hourly workers get 39 on average. The average amount of money employees got back for their college tuition in the last 12 months is $3,737.
Ultimate Software gives employees massages, free food and car washes and each worker gets “$300 per child per year to spend for their dependent child to participate in a team or extracurricular event of their choice.”
Among salaried workers, the most popular job is “System Consultant.” For hourly workers, the most popular one is “Tax Analyst.”
3. Edward Jones
This financial services and insurance giant has almost 40,000 U.S. employees, with women making up 63% of its workforce. While only 20% of its “executive/manager” roles are filled by women, one survey recipient wrote that it was far more female-friendly than its counterparts in the financial world.
“As a woman, I feel like my contributions are evaluated without bias and I cannot say that was true at any of my previous firms,” the staffer said.
Edward Jones doesn’t offer full health coverage (100%), or onsite childcare, but it does offer “compressed work weeks,” tuition reimbursement for employees and allows staff to participate in job sharing.
The average base pay for salaried employees is $88,168, and for hourly employees, the pay is $35,706 on average.
Salaried employees receive 115 hours of training on average, while hourly workers get 27 on average.
The company also offers “mentoring,” “career-long development,” and health insurance that covers acupuncture and homeopathy.
4. Marriott International
The hotel juggernaut has 741 sites around the world, with women making up 55% of its workforce and 55% of its executive/manager leadership.
“The company genuinely cares about putting people first and taking care of associates,” one survey participant said.
Eighty-eight percent of employees say they can take time off when they need to, including for volunteer work — with employees logging more than 722,000 hours at company-sponsored volunteer events in 2016 alone.
The company also ranked No. 5 on Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces for Latinos 2016, snagged No. 7 for a similar list for Best Workplace for African-Americans 2016 and No. 31 on a 2016 list of best places for working parents.
5. Cooley LLP
The Palo-Alto, CA-based legal firm earned praise from its employees for featuring a staff that’s diverse and inclusive.
“They work incredibly hard, care for their clients, and care for the people who work for them. No one is arrogant or better than anyone else,” employees said. “Our bosses make this a very unique place to work because they are some of the nicest, [most] genuinely caring people you could ever meet. I know that attorneys don’t usually have that reputation, but it is true here and it is remarkable.”
The staff is made up of 57% women overall, and 57% of its management/executives are women.
They offer up to $3,000 a year for tuition reimbursement, nearly three months paid maternity leave, allow flexible time schedules and pay for backup childcare and offer perks like subsidized lunches and free beverages, as well as dry cleaning, gym subsidies and massages.
What this all means
When it comes to attracting top talent, companies would do well to take a page from these top performers’ books, according to Great Place to Work.
“Fair hiring, pay and benefits are just the table stakes for retaining talented people in 2017. The Best Workplaces for Women stand above competitors by creating trustworthy organizations that eliminate gaps in employees’ day-to-day experience,” Michael Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, said in a statement. “You can see the results in healthy, dedicated teams where all co-workers thrive.”