Non-tech companies can be great places to work, too

Companies from a wide range of non-tech industries are pushing tech companies off of Glassdoor's Best Places to Work list

In-N-Out Burger

Turns out that In-N-Out Burger's employees are happier than Twitter's.

Credit: flickr/Aaron Friedman

Last week, the career site Glassdoor released its list of the 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. in 2015, the latest in a series of annual rankings of companies with at least 1,000 workers based on employee surveys. This year’s list includes 14 technology companies, featuring the company ranked as the best place overall to work in the U.S., Google. However, the news wasn’t all peaches and cream for big tech; the number of tech companies on this year’s list was down from the year before, and a number of big names dropped down or completely off this year's list.

First, the good news for U.S. tech companies. Aside from Google, which jumped to #1 from #8 in last year’s ranking, Apple also moved up, from #35 to #22. MathWorks, makers of MATLAB and other mathematical computing software, also rose a few spots, from #22 last to #19 for 2015. Tech companies that are new to the list year include NVIDIA (#6), Adobe (#18), Zillow (#33).

Overall, though, based on these Glassdoor rankings, working for big tech companies doesn’t appear to be quite as great as it was a year ago. 22 tech companies made the top 50 Best Places to Work in the U.S. in 2014, compared to this year’s 14, a drop of more than one third. Among the big name tech companies on the 2015 list whose ranking dropped from last year were LinkedIn (down from #3 to #23), Facebook (#5 to #13) and Orbitz (#9 to #42). Big tech names that were on the 2014 list but not in the top 50 for 2015 were Twitter (#2 in 2014), Red Hat (#23), Rackspace (#30), Intel (#33), Citrix (#38), eBay (#49) and Salesforce (#50).  

What kind of companies are crowding out, to a degree, tech companies from the list of best places to work? The 17 non-tech newcomers to the list in 2015 come from a variety of industries including business services (Boston Consulting Group), accounting and legal (McKinsey & Company), biotech (Bristol-Myers Squibb), manufacturing (Ford), healthcare (Massachusetts General Hospital), media (ESPN), construction (Turner Construction), agriculture (Monsanto)  and food service (In-N-Out Burger).

Does this mean that big tech companies are, all of a sudden, not great places to work anymore? Of course not. Tech is still well represented on this list and even the big names that dropped in the rankings this year still seem to get, overall, very positive reviews from employees on Glassdoor. But this does suggest that other businesses may be stealing a page or two from tech’s playbook for recruiting and retaining workers. In particular, I wonder if the high demand for tech talent across all industries isn’t forcing some traditionally non-tech industries to offer some of the same perks and benefits as tech companies to hire and keep IT and programming talent? It wouldn’t surprise me.

We’ll check back in when the 2016 list comes out to see if this trend continues. For now, though you might be happier working at In-N-Out Burger than at Twitter.

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