The Top 50 Companies to Work For

Facebook, Southwest, and Bain & Company get best employee reviews on Glassdoor.com survey.

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Facebook, the social networking giant, has landed the ultimate compliment from its employees: ranking No. 1 on a newly-released list of 50 best places to work.

The list, which is based on surveys of company employees, is produced by Glassdoor.com, a website that offers insight into careers and companies, as well as job listings. Southwest Airlines ranked second, and Bain & Company, a business consulting firm, came in third.

Facebook ranked well because, like other companies on the list, it has a strong and distinct workplace culture, says Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of Glassdoor.com. "They're the kind of company that if you see a problem, they encourage you to fix it," he says. "If you've got an idea, build it."

The company's 2,000 employees enjoy working on products that will be used by their family and friends, says Lori Goler, vice president of Facebook's human resources division. They also benefit from a strong sense of community, she says. "We're all on Facebook every day, all day long, so we know a lot about each other, and I think it creates strong bonds."

[See The 50 Best Careers of 2011.]

Glassdoor.com's list is based on survey results from more than 150,000 employees, who reviewed about 38,000 companies between December 2009 and December 2010. Each participant answered 20 questions about a variety of workplace factors, including opportunities for professional growth, salary and benefits, competence of senior management, and employee morale.

Companies that ranked well tended to have a strong chief executive, says Hohman. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, received a 96 percent approval rating from employees. Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills, which ranked fourth, was the only chief executive to receive 100 percent approval.

Glassdoor.com has a give-to-get policy, whereby job hunters or company researches must offer an anonymous review of their own company before they can see the reviews of others. These comments offer glimpses of what it's like to work at any given company. Facebook employees praise the openness of the company and its innovative culture, saying they appreciate the opportunity to work with smart colleagues. But they tend to work long hours. "The [company] is understanding about balancing work & personal life, but that's ultimately up to the individual to carry out, which can be difficult to do in practice," writes a Facebook business analyst.

One of the perks Facebook employees most appreciate is free meals—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—prepared by on-campus chefs. The company also offers on-site laundry services and free shuttles from its base in Palo Alto, Calif., to San Francisco, where many employees live. The company receives hundreds, sometimes thousands, of applications for each job opening, says Goler.

[See 10 Jobs That Offer a Big Bang for Your Buck.]

Southwest Airlines, which came in first on Glassdoor.com's list last year and second this year, also offers impressive perks, including an 8.5 percent 401K match, says Olga Romero, a company spokeswoman. The company's 35,000 employees can fly free on any Southwest plane that has an open seat. "We are proud to be the only airline [on Glassdoor.com's list]," Romero says.

To be eligible for Glassdoor.com's ranking, companies must have at least 500 employees, be based in the United States, and receive at least 25 reviews annually.

Glassdoor.com's full list of the 50 Best Places to Work:

1. Facebook

2. Southwest Airlines

3. Bain & Company

4. General Mills

5. Edelman

6. Boston Consulting

7. SAS Institute

8. Slalom Consulting

9. Overstock.com

10. Susquehanna International Group

11. CareerBuilder

12. MITRE

13. QuikTrip

14. Shutterfly

15. NetApp

16. Trader Joe's

17. Goldman Sachs

18. McKinsey & Company

19. National Instruments

20. Apple

21. Analog Devices

22. Northwestern Mutual

23. Procter & Gamble

24. BB&T

25. Synopsys

26. Chevron

27. Scottrade

28. Bristol-Myers Squibb

29. MassMutual

30. Google

31. Travelers Companies

32. Fluor

33. Monsanto Company

34. Publix

35. John Deere

36. QUALCOMM

37. Morgan Stanley