Glassdoor's 50 best places to work 2017: And the winner is …

Looking to make a career move? Glassdoor just released its annual list of the 50 best places to work. Bain & Company took the top spot, with Facebook not far behind. Surprises like SpaceX also find their way into the top 50.

Glassdoor’s annual Employee Choice list has given some companies reason to rejoice – and offered others a roadmap for employee-focused development as they look to the future.

One of the world’s largest jobs websites, Glassdoor released its annual list of the best places to work in 2017 on Wednesday. Bain & Company, the global management-consulting firm, topped the list of big companies, after also taking the top spot in 2012 and 2014. It was closely followed by social media giant Facebook and fellow consultancy Boston Consulting Group, with Google coming in fourth. Last year’s overall winner, Airbnb, dropped to No. 35.

The rankings rely on employee feedback to rate companies on everything from salary to opportunities for creative work – so companies that hit the top of the list can congratulate themselves on creating an environment employees love. But a lower ranking may be an opportunity, too.

Take Airbnb, for instance. The company “has definitely dropped among the most ever,” Glassdoor community expert Scott Dobroski told Bloomberg. The peer-to-peer homestay network dropped 34 places from last year, when it debuted on the list at No. 1.

“Employees say it’s now harder to find work-life balance, opportunities for advancement, and transparency from the top,” Mr. Dobroski explained. But these are issues that all startups grapple with as they grow, he told Bloomberg, so Airbnb should be able to overcome the problems. The data provided by Glassdoor may even allow the company to focus on addressing the issues most important to employees.

Rankings rely exclusively on feedback from current and former employees who submit an anonymous company review through Glassdoor’s website during the year. For a company to get ranked, at least 75 employees must review the company. 

Glassdoor's focus on employee experience meshes well with the values of many companies, perhaps giving it particular resonance. Facebook’s Head of People, Lori Matloff Goler, told TechCrunch that the company wants to be seen as an employer that “takes good care of its people overall.”

Employees were strongly supportive of Facebook’s flexibility and benefits package. But with a score of 3.8, the Glassdoor data suggests that Facebook employees could benefit from a better work-life balance.

Of course, work-life balance may not be a priority for everyone – and Glassdoor’s system allows a certain amount of flexibility in its ranking, which may be valuable for job-seekers. SpaceX, the private space exploration company founded by billionaire Elon Musk, has been criticized in other ranking systems for its high-stress environment and long hours, but made Glassdoor’s Top 50 list this year.

One SpaceX employee reported feeling fulfilled by the work, which involved “exciting, fast paced projects,” according to Bloomberg. The data may allow companies to focus on what is most important to them, and attract employees who share their values.

The competition for a top 50 spot is intense: This year, all 50 ranked within 0.5 of each other on a 1-5 scale, with top-ranked Bain coming in at 4.6 and 50th-place Wegmans receiving 4.2 stars. The average company score this year was 3.3, Bloomberg reported. Tech companies, consultancies, airlines, and grocery chains were all well-represented.

Glassdoor also compiles a list of the best small and medium companies. Here, the rankings seem to be more flexible, possibly because of high rates of growth, with the top 10 companies on the list all appearing in the top 50 for the first time.

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