If a just-released list is to be believed, a new generation of companies appear poised to burnish their reputations as employee-friendly places to work. Late Tuesday, the jobs and careers site Glassdoor said Airbnb -- the online marketplace that lets you rent a total stranger's apartment --was the highest-rated company by employees on its site, slightly edging out tech companies long known for cushy benefits like Facebook, Google and Apple.
Other new tech firms to earn a high spot on the list include Guidewire (No. 3), which builds software for the insurance industry, and the marketing software firm Hubspot (No. 4). While they didn't come out of nowhere -- Airbnb, for instance, had high scores last year but not enough reviews to qualify for the ranking, while Hubspot appeared on Glassdoor's list of smaller companies last year -- more growth in their businesses may have played a role in their ascendancy.
"There's actually 13 newcomers to the list," said Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor's career trends analyst. "If you look at their careers page, they’re hiring for dozens of jobs," he said. A higher growth business environment, of course, can lead to the kind of extra benefits, job mobility and professional opportunities that tend to make employees happier in their jobs.
As of July, Airbnb had roughly 2,000 employees, according to a Fortune profile of CEO Brian Chesky, who's known to send handwritten notes to employees and has consulted everyone from former CIA Director George Tenet to Warren Buffett about how to lead the company. Workers get quarterly travel vouchers to use the site, and workers hailed the company's other benefits and company culture in site reviews, Glassdoor said.
The annual list, which claims to be the only workplace award "based solely on the input of employees who voluntarily provide anonymous feedback," is based on surveys of each company's workers, considering their opinions on employee satisfaction, CEO performance, as well as compensation and benefits, corporate culture and work-life balance. Only companies with at least 75 reviews are considered for the large-company list.
While 21 of the 50 companies on the list hail from the tech sector, Dobroski said some newcomers are from other industries, such as airlines (Delta Air Lines at No. 21) and beverages (Red Bull at No. 46). "Tech companies do lead the way when it comes to employee satisfaction -- they've always been the front-runners," he said. But in response, he said, other industries have been forced to find a way to compete.
Rounding out the top five were Facebook at No. 5 and the consulting firm Bain & Co. at No. 2. Bain is one of only four companies -- the others are Google, Chevron, and Apple --that have been on the list all eight years of the list's existence.
Madwire, a digital marketing software and services company based in Colorado, led Glassdoor's list of the highest rated small- and medium-sized businesses. Only two of the 50 companies on that list, Arlington, Va.-based Applied Predictive Technologies and Columbia, Md.-based Tenable Network Security, are in the Washington, D.C., area