How We Chose the 2010 Best Places

For the 17th year in a row, Computerworld conducted a survey to identify the 100 best places to work for IT professionals. In March 2009, Computerworld started accepting nominations. Participants were asked to provide the name and contact information of the appropriate individual at their company who was familiar with or had access to employment statistics and financial data, as well as benefits policies and programs for the IT department and company.

In January 2010, each contact at the more than 500 nominated companies received a 75-question company survey asking about the organization's average salary and bonus increases, percentage of IT staff 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 programs, how each organization rewards outstanding performance, and benefits such as elder and child care, flextime, and reimbursement for college tuition and technology certification. Information from those surveys was used in compiling the 100 company profiles.

Upon completion of the company survey, participants were e-mailed instructions on selecting a random sample of 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 include satisfaction with training and development programs, compensation, benefits and work/life balance. In addition, employees were asked to rate morale in their IT departments, the importance of various benefits, and their agreement with a variety of statements, from career growth to management's fair and equal treatment of employees.

A total of 38,147 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 phase of the research ended in March 2010. To qualify to complete the company survey, participating companies had to employ a minimum of 50 IT employees.

The top-10 lists show the best of the best -- the organizations that excel in five areas of human resources: diversity, career development, retention, benefits and training. To determine those lists, we considered the following:

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 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 employees' importance ratings from the employee component. 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.

Nominate an organization for the 2011 Best Places to Work in IT awards anytime from now through December. Find more information about all of Computerworld's awards programs on our Editorial Research page.

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


Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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