Trends in America’s Best Places to Work: 2009 to 2019

Since the debut of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 11 years ago, dozens of employers have been identified as having great employee satisfaction. What industries lead the pack? What jobs are these companies hiring for? And what companies have consistently been named Best Places to Work as they have grown from small to large employers?

In this analysis, we take the long view and examine the full list of every U.S. Large Best Places to Work since 2009, highlighting key trends in winners over the years — including the open jobs being hired today on Glassdoor by this year’s 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work winners.

Key Findings:

  • Tech employers dominate the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work list, accounting for 26 percent of winners. Other industries with the most representation this year are health care (13 percent), professional services (10 percent) and manufacturing (8 percent). These are the industries with the best company cultures in America, according to employees.
  • Over the course of the 11 annual U.S. Large Best Places to Work lists from 2009 to 2019, tech employers have consistently dominated the lists, followed by professional services and manufacturing employers. Overall, workplace culture is consistently strong at America’s “knowledge worker” employers in tech and professional services.
  • For those looking for a job at a Best Place to Work, there are currently 95,000 open jobs on Glassdoor today at the 100 U.S. Large Best Places to Work in 2019. The most common open jobs are for software engineer, registered nurse, tax professional, hair stylist, and service technician. The median base salary for open jobs at Best Places to Work is $73,200 — 40 percent higher than the median U.S. salary of $52,700 according to the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports. Best Places to Work on average pay a premium.
  • We identified a handful of companies that have maintained great culture as they have grown from startups to large employers, being named both as a Small to Medium Best Place to Work, and in later years as a Large Best Place to Work. Only 10 U.S. employers have ever accomplished this impressive feat.

What We Did

For this analysis, we used the list of companies on the 100 U.S. Large Best Places to Work in 2019 to look at open jobs in the United States as of November 18, 2018. For insight into the expected salaries for these roles, we used the technology powering Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool to estimate the median base pay for each job opening we found.

To examine trends in the history of Best Places to Work winners, we compiled all previous winners of the U.S. Large award (from 2009 to 2019) and U.S. Small to Medium (SMB) award (from 2014 to 2019). Because the U.S. Large list included only 50 employers prior to 2018, we restricted our analysis to only the top 50 employers in 2018 and 2019 as well. The official Best Places to Work methodology that describes how the 2019 lists were created can be found here.

What Industries Dominate the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work List?

In the table below, we show the breakdown of different industries represented in the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work list. The fast-growing tech sector is by far the most represented industry, accounting for 26 percent of all U.S. employers on the list. They are followed by health care (13 percent of winners) and professional services (10 percent of winners). Overall, America’s “knowledge worker” employers in tech and professional services dominate the Best Places to Work in America today.

In total, 22 industries are represented on this year’s list, including manufacturing, biotech, media, transportation, construction and more. While a diverse collection of industries are represented in the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work, the tech industry stands apart in terms of employee satisfaction, accounting for twice the share of winners than any other industry.

Tech, Professional Services, Retail, Biotech and Manufacturing Dominate the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work List

Industry Percent of Companies on the U.S. Large List
Technology 26%
Health Care 13%
Professional Services 10%
Manufacturing 8%
Retail 7%
Finance 5%
Travel & Tourism 4%
Accounting & Legal 4%
Biotech & Pharmaceuticals 3%
Restaurants, Bars & Food Services 3%
Real Estate 3%
Media 2%
Insurance 2%
Transportation & Logistics 1%
Construction, Repair & Maintenance 1%
Consumer Services 1%
Education 1%
Aerospace & Defense 1%
Government 1%
Telecommunications 1%
Oil, Gas, Energy & Utilities 1%
All Other 2%
Total 100%

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Next, let’s look back at the history of Best Places to Work awards at industry trends over the past decade.

Have the Best Industries to Work for Changed Over Time?

Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work awards were launched a decade ago in 2009. In the chart below we show how the top 5 industries have trended over the full history of U.S. Large Best Places to Work awards: tech, professional services, manufacturing, retail and travel and tourism.

As shown by the green line in the figure, the tech sector has been the dominant industry among Best Places to Work since the awards began. The prevalence of tech employers has increased over the years, from roughly 25 percent of winners in 2009 to 34 percent in 2019. As the number of tech employers have grown in recent years, so have the sheer number of tech workplaces where employees report good benefits and pay, career opportunities, strong workplace culture and high overall job satisfaction.

The second most represented industry over the history of Glassdoor’s U.S. Large Best Places to Work awards is professional services, which peaked at 12 percent of winners in 2010 and 2017-2019. This includes employers such as Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Slalom. Manufacturing companies are the third most common among winners — such as E. & J. Gallo Winery, Intuitive Surgical and The Clorox Company — but the number of manufacturing companies awarded has been decreasing since 2017. Retail employers have fluctuated between 4 percent to 10 percent representation each year, including employers such as lululemon, Trader Joe’s and Wegmans Food Markets. Travel and tourism companies have ranged between 2 percent to 8 percent representation each year, including employers such as Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines and Hilton.

“Knowledge Worker” Employers in Tech and Professional Services Consistently Dominate Glassdoor’s Large Best Places to Work List

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Most Common Jobs at Best Places to Work in 2019

Across the 100 U.S. large employers there are approximately 95,000 open jobs on Glassdoor today. The table below shows the most in-demand job titles at these companies along with their estimated median base salary.

Not surprisingly, software engineer is the most in-demand job across the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work, with over 3,200 open positions. A variety of employers including Google and Apple are hiring today for a large number of these roles. We’ve previously seen that software engineer is by far the most common open role at tech companies. The median base salary for the software engineer openings among these companies is $108,800 per year — nearly twice the U.S. median base pay for full-time workers of $52,746 per year based on Glassdoor’s Local Pay Reports.

Registered nurse is the second most in-demand job on this list, with over 2,200 open roles. The median base pay for registered nurse roles at these companies is $78,100 per year. Tax professionals were the third most in-demand job, with over 2,100 open positions. A variety of blue collar and white collar roles also appear among the most common jobs at U.S. Large Best Places to Work, including hair stylist, restaurant cook, sales agent and software engineer, highlighting the broad diversity of roles hiring today among the nation’s best workplaces.

Most Common Jobs Being Hired Today by 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work

Job Title Open Jobs on Glassdoor at U.S. Large Winners Median Salary for Open Job Postings
Software Engineer 3,265 $108,800
Registered Nurse 2,282 $78,100
Tax Professional 2,118 $28,700
Hair Stylist 1,916 $27,900
Service Technician 1,373 $43,000
Program Manager 1,129 $90,100
Sales Agent 787 $34,800
Restaurant Cook 784 $27,700
Licensed Practical Nurse 720 $49,800
Service Manager 657 $65,600

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (glassdoor.com/research)

Best Places to Work Pay A Premium

What do jobs at America’s Best Places to Work pay? The figure below shows the distribution of median base pay for active open roles. The horizontal axis shows the estimated base pay for the job, and the vertical axis shows the number of jobs in each salary range. In the figure, each green bar or “bin” has a width of $10,000 per year, ranging from zero to $200,000.

For open jobs at the 2019 U.S. Large Best Places to Work, most salaries are concentrated in the $60,000 to $80,000 per year range. The median base pay for open roles is $73,200 — 40 percent more than the median U.S. salary of $52,746 according to the Glassdoor Local Pay Reports. This pay difference highlights that these companies not only excel in outstanding workplace culture — including factors like career opportunities, quality of senior leadership and culture and values — but also offer competitive salaries well above U.S. median pay.

Distribution of Median Salary for Open Jobs at 2019 Large Best Places to Work

From Startup to Big Company, Some Employers Sustain Great Culture

Since the launch of Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work awards, many early winners of our Small to Medium Best Places to Work awards have grown into large companies. However, only a handful of companies have earned the distinct honor of having been named a Best Place to Work on the U.S. Small to Medium size employer list, and then a U.S. Large winner in a subsequent year as they’ve grown.

In the table below, we show the ten U.S. employers who’ve been accomplished this feat. Each of these employers has grown from a small to medium-sized company with less than 1,000 employees, into a large, established company with more than 1,000 workers — all while maintaining remarkably high employee satisfaction.

Interestingly, the vast majority of these companies are in the tech industry,  with eight out of ten companies classified as tech employers. Even the two employers not strictly categorized here as “tech” companies — Zillow in the real estate industry, and Paylocity in the professional services industry — both have large and diverse tech workforces.  These employers are rare examples of companies that have been able to scale their strong workplace cultures and values, despite organizational growing pains and rapidly expanding employee counts.

Growing Strong: Only 10 Employers Have Been Recognized Both as U.S. SMB and Large Best Places to Work

Employer Industry U.S. Large 2019 Winner? Year(s) of U.S. Large Award Year(s) of U.S. SMB Award
Zoom Video Communications Technology Yes 2019 2018
Procore Technologies Technology Yes 2019 2017
HubSpot Technology Yes 2016, 2018, 2019 2014, 2015
DocuSign Technology Yes 2017, 2018, 2019 2014
Paylocity Professional Services Yes 2017, 2018, 2019 2014
Fast Enterprises Technology Yes 2017, 2018, 2019 2014, 2015, 2016
AppDynamics Technology Yes 2019 2014
Paycom Technology Yes 2016, 2019 2014, 2015
Zillow Real Estate No 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 2014
MINDBODY Technology No 2015, 2016 2014

Source: Glassdoor Economic Research (Glassdoor.com/research)

Conclusion

In this analysis, we examined the full history of employers named to Glassdoor’s U.S. Best Places to Work lists since 2009 to highlight trends we’ve seen in companies with America’s best employee satisfaction.

Overall, three industries have dominated Glassdoor’s U.S. Large Best Places to Work list over the years: technology, professional services and manufacturing. These industries have consistently ranked among the nation’s best for overall employee satisfaction.

In terms of jobs being hired today by Best Places to Work winners, roles for software engineer, registered nurse and tax professional top the list. Overall, pay for open jobs at Best Places to Work pay a premium — median base pay for open jobs at this year’s winners was $73,200, about 40 percent above the U.S. median base pay for full-time employees on Glassdoor.

Only a few of the fast-growing, most innovative employers have ever been named as a Best Place to Work both as a small employer, and then later as a large company. Since 2009, we identified just 10 employers who’ve appeared on both lists, including Zoom Video Communications, DocuSign, Fast Enterprises and a handful of others.

Since 2009, the Glassdoor Best Places to Work awards have shined the spotlight on U.S. companies that take employee satisfaction seriously. In this analysis, we’ve highlighted key trends we’ve seen in winners over the past decade — offering clues about which industries and employers are likely to claim this honor over the next decade.