How we chose the Best Places to Work in IT

An explanation of the methodology Computerworld used to determine this year's Best Places to Work in IT list

For the 19th year in a row, Computerworld conducted a survey to identify the 100 best places to work for IT professionals. We started accepting nominations in June 2011.

Participants were asked to provide the name and contact information of an appropriate individual at their company who was familiar with or had access to employment statistics, financial data and information about benefits policies and programs for the IT department and the company as a whole.

In January 2012, each contact at 375 nominated companies received a 75-question survey asking about the organizations' average salary and bonus increases, percentage of IT staffers promoted, IT staff turnover rates, training and development, and the percentage of women and minorities in IT staff and management positions.

In addition, information was collected on retention efforts; programs for recognizing and rewarding outstanding performances; benefits such as flextime, elder care and child care; and reimbursement for college tuition and the cost of pursuing technology certifications. Information from those surveys was used in compiling the 100 company profiles in this package.

Upon completion of the survey, participants were emailed instructions on selecting a random sample of employees from their U.S.-based full- and part-time IT staffs. All participating companies were required to obtain feedback from their employees. The responses to the employee survey went directly to a third-party research company.

Topics covered in the survey included satisfaction with training and development programs, compensation, benefits and work/life balance. In addition, employees were asked to rate employee morale in their IT departments, the importance of various benefits, and their agreement with a variety of statements on subjects ranging from career growth to management's fair and equal treatment of employees.

A total of 33,461 IT employees responded to the employee survey from the final 100 companies selected. The nomination survey, company survey and employee survey were all conducted via the Internet. The company and employee survey portion of the research ended in March 2012.

To qualify to complete the company survey, participating companies had to have a minimum of 50 IT employees. Companies based outside the U.S. had to have a minimum of 300 total employees at a U.S. headquarters and a minimum of 50 IT employees in the U.S., and at least 50% of their IT employees had to be based in the U.S.

The top-five lists show the best of the best -- the organizations that excel in these five areas of human resources: diversity, career development, retention, benefits and training.

To determine those lists, we considered the following factors:

Diversity: Percentage of women and minorities in staff and managerial positions; employee perceptions that management treats everyone fairly regardless of race or gender.

Training: Number of training days; number of training programs; employee satisfaction with training and access to training; reimbursement for certification training; satisfaction with continuing education programs.

Career development: Mentoring programs; tuition reimbursement for college classes and technical certifications; promotions within IT; employee satisfaction with tuition reimbursement, opportunities for career growth and management's involvement in career development.

Retention: Frequency of employee satisfaction surveys; turnover rate; promotions; morale; employee satisfaction with flexible hours, sabbaticals, and job-sharing and telecommuting programs.

Benefits: The range of benefits offered, including sabbaticals, elder care and child care, and health and vision plans; employee satisfaction with the range of benefits.

In scoring the responses from the company and employee surveys, company results were weighted based on the importance ratings provided by respondents to the employee survey. Approximately half of the total scoring was based on employee responses, with the remaining half based on the survey of the company's benefits and other programs.

Organization sizes are as follows: Small is fewer than 2,500 U.S. employees; medium-size is 2,500 to 9,999 U.S. employees; large is 10,000 or more U.S. employees.

This year's survey process was managed by Michele Peoples of IDG Research.

You may nominate an organization for the 2013 Best Places to Work in IT list anytime from now through Dec. 13. You can find more information about all of Computerworld's awards programs on the Editorial Research page at Computerworld.com.

-- Mari Keefe, Valerie Potter and Ellen Fanning, Best Places to Work in IT program coordinators

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