Google named Best Place to Work in U.S. by Fortune

Other high-tech companies -- Zappos, Salesforce.com, SAS and Intel -- also rank

Google moved up three spots to claim the top position in Fortune's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S.

The list, released Thursday morning, touts several high-tech companies in addition to Google, including NetApp, Zappos.com and Intel.

"Everything was up at Google last year -- revenue, profits, share price, paid search clicks, hiring -- and so, too, was employee love; the search giant climbed three slots in our ranking to reclaim the top spot," Fortune noted in its ranking report. "The reason? Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks of the Plex: bocce courts, a bowling alley, eyebrow shaping (for a fee) in the New York office. Then there's the food: some 25 cafes companywide, all gratis."

Headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., Google has 18,500 employees in the U.S. and showed a job growth rate of 33% in 2011, according to the magazine.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said Google is well-positioned to ride out a bad economy and maintain its image as a place where people want to work.

"It attracts people that are creative and entrepreneurial," said Kerravala. "They encourage creativity and they want a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. That alone doesn't make it a great place to work, but combine that with a stock that's soaring, market-leading share and people who feel empowered, and it's a place people want to work at, instead of feeling like they have to work there."

Also included in Fortune's top 10 is the SAS Institute, which hit the No. 3 spot. The North Carolina-based software company is recognized for having subsidized Montessori child care, unlimited sick time, intramural sports leagues, and a free health care center.

NetApp, a California-based data storage company, was ranked No. 6. The company was honored for its pay-for-performance program, which gave employees payouts of up to 31% of their salaries, according to Fortune.

Just missing the Fortune's top 10, Zappos.com, an e-tail company, was ranked No. 11 and recognized for its "zany culture" and for holding "laughter yoga" classes for employees.

Other tech companies making the top 100 list include Salesforce.com, which was ranked No. 27; Adobe, No. 41; Intel, No. 46; and Microsoft, which came in at No. 76.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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