Best Places to Work in IT 2010 Employer Profile

No. 59

Southwest Airlines Co.

Dallas [South Central]

Why you want to work there

Thanks to a flextime policy that went into effect in June 2009, employees at this Dallas-based airline have their choice of three scheduling options to fulfill the basic requirement that they work on-site an average of 40 hours a week. In addition to working eight hours a day five days a week, they can choose to work extended hours for four and a half days each week, with a half-day on Friday, or they can work a total of 80 hours over nine full days every two weeks, with a full Friday off every other week. In the IT department, 50% of the staffers now follow one of the two extended-hour schedules. The program began with a 90-day test run, and at the end of the trial period, more than 98% of the IT department staffers said they favored continuing it. Money talks: The airline recently gave employees two financial rewards: a $32 million contribution to a profit-sharing program and a cash award of $150 (before taxes) for every non-officer employee. Southwest has a number of awards programs. The annual President's Awards honor employees for outstanding service to the company, the community and customers; the winners are selected from a group of people nominated by their co-workers and recommended by their supervisors. The Founder's Award is the company's highest honor; the winner is selected by the company founder and chairman emeritus from nominations submitted by all employees. The Kick Tail program recognizes and financially rewards people who meet internal goals and help Southwest beat the competition. Within the technology department, the achievements of individuals and teams are celebrated during quarterly employee meetings. Leaders in training: Participants in Southwest's Manager in Training program combine classroom studies with department visits in which they learn about all aspects of the airline's operations and its culture. In an advanced follow-up program, they receive training focused on building leadership skills, such as strategic thinking and coaching capabilities.

Rank by company size:
Large, No. 36

Employee Statistics

Total U.S.-based employees: 34,726

Total U.S.-based IT employees: 858

IT employee turnover in 2009: 5%

IT promotions in 2009: 4%


Training days offered per IT employee in 2009: 2

Training budget per IT employee in 2009: $270

Women in IT

Total percentage of women within IT: 28%

Percentage of IT managers who are women: 24%

Percentage of IT staffers (non-managers) who are women: 28%

Minorities in IT

Total percentage of minorities within IT: 27%

Percentage of IT managers who are minorities: 17%

Percentage of IT staffers (non-managers) who are minorities: 28%