Best Places to Work in IT 2009 Employer Profile

No. 81

Direct Energy

Houston, Texas [South Central]

Why you want to work there

Top 10 ranking: No. 8 for career development IT employees at this Houston-based natural gas and electric service provider have access to a multifaceted career planning and succession program. Through a skills network, IT staffers create their own profiles, where they list their IT skills, knowledge levels, career aspirations and interests. The tool provides job-shadowing opportunities and enables staffers to identify potential career paths, identify gaps in skills, understand prerequisites required to achieve career goals, and network with others across the organization. The database also helps IT managers match skills to open positions and projects. Management also uses the tool to identify skills gaps within their teams and enable cross-training and promotion opportunities within the company. A leadership development program is open to employees and external candidates who have recently graduated or will be graduating with a computer science degree. Over a two-year period, graduates work on rotational assignments that are chosen to ensure that employees are working on high-value business initiatives and to provide opportunities to learn from and interact with multiple lines of business across North America and the U.K. Graduates have guaranteed placement in the IT organization upon successful completion of the program. The Succession Management Plan identifies employees who have the potential to assume key positions in the organization and prepares them for those positions.

Rank by company size:
Medium, No. 24

Employee Statistics

Total U.S.-based employees: 2,584

Total U.S.-based IT employees: 79

IT employee turnover in 2008: 32%

IT promotions in 2008: 24%


Training days offered per IT employee in 2008: 3

Training budget per IT employee in 2008: $1,750

Women in IT

Total percentage of women within IT: 30%

Percentage of IT managers who are women: 20%

Percentage of IT staffers (non-managers) who are women: 33%

Minorities in IT

Total percentage of minorities within IT: 43%

Percentage of IT managers who are minorities: 27%

Percentage of IT staffers (non-managers) who are minorities: 47%