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Which tech companies are best for employees?

Several technology companies make it onto Fortune magazine's third annual ranking of the top 100 employers in the United States.

Long hours, cutthroat competition and risky stock valuations are among the drawbacks typically associated with working online and in technology--but not at every company.

Several technology companies made it onto Fortune magazine's third annual ranking of the top 100 employers in the United States. The magazine, well known for its ranking of the top 500 companies by revenues, lists the survey results in its Jan. 10, 2000, edition.

Cisco and Charles Schwab rank among the top 10; distributor CDW Computer Centers, Qualcomm, Microsoft, memory firm Kingston Technology, Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard and Lucent Technologies all made the top 50.

"In an ultratight labor market, companies primp to woo and retain talent," reads an introduction to the survey results on the Fortune Web site. "They offer perks and amenities like concierge services, unheard of until recently. They listen to employee input, adjust schedules to suit family obligations, provide training, and cut workers into stock-purchase, stock-option and stock-award programs formerly reserved for the management elite."

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is ranked high in part because of financial perks. "The computer network giant is growing fast--adding 5,000 new employees just last year--but still boasts stock options for everyone as well as on-the-spot bonuses of up to $2,000 for exceptional performance," the survey results said.

Tech firms among top 50
Company Ranking Number of employees
Cisco Systems 3 16,144
Charles Schwab 8 13,192
CDW Computer Centers 11 1,650
Qualcomm 14 6,072
Microsoft 21 22,222
Kingston Technology 29 729
Adobe Systems 42 2,158
Hewlett-Packard 43 83,200
Lucent Technologies 44 117,814
Source: Fortune magazine
In addition, the company had an 8 percent voluntary turnover rate in 1998 and added 7,226 new jobs in the past two years.

"There are many fine companies in our industry, and Cisco is proud to be included on this list," said Doug Wills, a Cisco representative.

San Francisco-based Schwab was hailed by Fortune as "the anti-Wall Street brokerage [that] certainly seems to work for its employees: Ten percent of them have more than $1 million in their ESOP accounts. Plus massages during busy periods." The firm had an 11 percent voluntary turnover rate in 1998 and added 3,462 jobs in the past two years.

The companies on Fortune's list "come from 20 different fields and 30 states," the magazine says. "While 42 are in information technology or financial services, we've also identified stars from retailing, pipe manufacturing, supermarkets, the jam business (J.M. Smucker ranks 22nd) and even law firms. Many (42) are private, but 58 are publicly traded."

In addition, "shares of public companies on the list rose 37 percent annualized over the past three years, compared with 25 percent for the S&P 500. Qualcomm, the San Diego-based developer of wireless technology, led the way with a 1,500 percent increase in 1999," according to Fortune.