Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft were just a few of the companies on a recent list of some of the U.S. firms most attractive to employees.
What makes a company attractive to potential employees?
Universum, a research firm focused on employer branding, recently
asked some 10,000 respondents to rate U.S. companies on their
attractiveness as places to work. Tech ended up dominating much of the list:
Google and Apple took the first two spots, respectively, followed at No. 5 by Amazon.com and, at No. 7, Microsoft.
Those companies traded places in the top 10 with other major entities such as NASA, the
U.S. State Department and Disney. A firm
with tens of thousands of employees and decades-long history, it seems, offers
a more attractive proposition than smaller startups; indeed, the very
conspicuous absence of any hot startups from the list-Facebook isn't present,
for example-hints that, in the wake of the past few years' economic upheavals,
size and stability are particularly magnetic features for potential
Those tech companies' presence on the list also speaks to
the white-hot popularity of products such as the iPad, Google Android
smartphones, Kindle e-readers, and the Kinect hands-free controller for Xbox.
Who wouldn't want to work for a company dominating the news and consumers'
credit-card bills? In addition, companies such as Google are famous for their
benefits, which in the search engine giant's case includes a policy of giving
engineers time to work on projects that interest them (which sometimes
translates into new products, in turn benefitting Google's bottom line).
Other companies pepper the rest of Universum's list, albeit
much further down. There's Yahoo ranked No. 23, IBM at 30, Intel at 50,
Dell 57. Again, you can assume that these
companies' hefty corporate legacies and brand-name equity have propelled them
to these slots, despite shakier revenues for both Yahoo and Dell.
AT&T arrives on the list at 59,
followed by Cisco Systems at 69 and
Hewlett-Packard at 77. Verizon sits at 79.
Over the next year, several of these companies plan to pull
the trigger on game-changing strategies. AT&T, for example, recently
announced its $39 billion bid to buy T-Mobile; if
the FCC and the Department of Justice allow that deal to happen, it will make
AT&T the largest carrier in the United States. Hewlett-Packard plans to
port its recently acquired webOS onto not only smartphones and tablets, but
also PCs-a move that will likely irritate partner Microsoft. One question is
whether big moves-by coloring a particular firm as a dynamic place to
work-increases a company's attractiveness to employees with an urge to leave
Companies such as Google, Apple, Intel and Saleforce.com
have also ranked high in surveys such as Glassdoor.com's "50
Best Places to Work." Maybe it all comes down to the chance to work
somewhere cutting-edge. Or maybe it's simply the really good food in the
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.