2006 Best Places to Work in IT

Best Places to Work in IT - Methodology

For the 13th consecutive year, Computerworld conducted a survey to identify the 100 Best Places to Work for IT professionals.

In November 2005, Computerworld accepted nominations. To qualify to complete the company survey, participating companies, both public and private, had to have 2005 revenue of $250 million or greater and they had to employ a minimum of 500 people in the U.S. and have at least 100 IT employees in the U.S.

Participants submitting nominations 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 and financial data, as well as information about benefits policies and programs for the IT department and the company as a whole.

In January 2006, contacts at the nominated companies received a 100-question survey asking about their organizations' average salary and bonus increases, the percentage of IT employees receiving promotions, IT staff turnover rates, training and development opportunities, and the percentage of women and minorities in IT staff and management positions. In addition, information was collected on how the organizations reward outstanding performance, how their retention programs are structured and what benefits they offer, ranging from elder and child care to flextime and tuition reimbursement for college and technology certification courses.

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

Topics covered in the employee survey included satisfaction with training and development programs, base salary, bonuses, health benefits and work/life balance. In addition, employees were asked to rate morale in their IT departments and the importance of various benefits; they were also asked to rate the degree to which they agreed with a variety of statements related to subjects ranging from career growth to management's fair and equal treatment of employees.

A total of 20,435 IT professionals 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 survey and employee survey portions of the research ended in March 2006. In scoring the responses from the company and employee surveys, company results were weighted based on employees' importance ratings from the employee component. Approximately one-half of the total scoring system was based on employee responses, with the remainder based on the survey of the company's benefits and other programs.

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

-- Mari Keefe and Ellen Fanning, Best Places program coordinators