SAS, Google top Fortune's best-employer list

Among the tech firms showing up on the publisher's newly released list of 100 best companies to work for are also Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Adobe Systems, and Intel.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Looking for a new job in the tech field? You may want to check out Fortune's list of the best companies to work for.

Among the technology firms that ended up on Fortune's list were SAS at No. 1, Google at No. 4, Cisco Systems at No. 16, Adobe Systems at No. 42, and Microsoft at No. 51. The firms scored points for a couple of different factors, including top pay and best perks. And with the job market still tight, Fortune also looked at the job growth for each company.

Grabbing the top spot was software company SAS, praised by Fortune for a potpourri of benefits. The company offers high-quality day care for only $410 a month and pays for 90 percent of the monthly insurance premium. Add in unlimited sick days, its own medical center, a free fitness center, library, and summer camp for the kids, and you get a firm with the industry's lowest employee turnover rate at 2 percent. Despite the perks, SAS is highly profitable, says Fortune, and is the world's largest privately owned software company.

Google won the No. 4 spot largely for its perks. Although it has eliminated some benefits in recent years, the company still treats employees to an on-site gym and day care center, among other perks. It also recently boosted its 401(k) contributions and added a stock option exchange program. Engineers at the search giant still can spend 20 percent of their time on projects of their own choice. Although job growth stats were unavailable, Fortune said Google plans to hire thousands of new employees this year.

Also in the top 10 was storage provider NetApp at No. 7. Despite a rough 2009, in which the company trimmed jobs, Fortune was impressed with the way NetApp handled the layoffs. Key executives traveled to remote offices to explain the cuts and offered healthy severance packages. Those who kept their jobs were treated to a stock option exchange and better financial incentives. Times are still tough, though, with job growth flat this year and only 225 openings right now.

At No. 16, Cisco struck Fortune as a parent-friendly workplace. The company is one of the country's largest providers of on-site day care with two centers watching 800 children. Parents can even keep an eye on their kids through their computers. But with 37,276 people already employed with the company, job growth is likely to be flat this year, with only 595 current openings.

Adobe was also lauded for its perks, offering six weeks of paid sabbatical based on job tenure, benefits for same-sex partners, and a Community Action week, in which workers can volunteer for special causes and projects. Quarterly meetings are held for all employees both in-person and virtually. But with only 200 positions open, job growth will be down around 4 percent this year.

With its developers earning on average $106,000 a year, Microsoft pays well, according to Fortune, but also dangles some healthy perks. The company provides 100 percent health care coverage, an on-site gym, and subsidized gym membership. Telecommuting and the option to compress your work week also are available. Job growth for this year is pegged at 2 percent.

Finally, Intel narrowly made the list, coming in at No. 98. The chipmaker seems to engender a lot of pride among its employees, with Fortune quoting one happy engineer who said, "We are undoubtedly changing society and the world. It is a magnificent feeling to be a cog in such an important machine."

Other employees who commented were a bit more subdued, but they agreed that Intel can be a challenging but rewarding place to work. In addition to the usual perks, the company offers a generous eight paid weeks of sabbatical every seven years. But as with many of the top tech employers on the list, job growth is likely to be flat this year.

Fortune's Web site lets you see the full list by number or alphabetical order. You can also track down nearby companies and view the leaders by pay or benefits.

This post was updated at 1:15 p.m. PST with the inclusion of SAS in the No. 1 spot.