Announcing: Brazen Careerist Top 50 Places to Work


My company, Brazen Careerist, partnered with PayScale to come up with a list of the Top 50 Employers for Gen Y. The list is based on what we at Brazen Careerist know about Gen Y and the new workplace, and what PayScale knows about slicing and dicing workplace data.

To me, the most interesting thing about Top 50 lists like this is the assumptions behind them. So here are the assumptions I think are interesting:

1. Salary negotiations are over.
In most polls, if you ask Gen Y what they care about when choosing a place to work, the top three things will be, in varying orders: flexibility, interesting work, and likable co-workers.

You will notice that salary is missing from the list. Many people assume this is because Gen Y doesn't care about salary. In fact, they care a lot. No generation has more debt than Gen Y, and no generation is more financially knowledgeable so early on in their lives as Gen Y.

Gen Y doesn't consider salary to be a huge factor in choosing a place to work because Gen Y knows that salary data is public. The days when a company can screw you by underpaying you are over. Anyone can go to a place like Payscale and find out what other people in a similar geographic location are getting paid for a similar job.

So for Gen Y, going to a company that pays fair wages is like going to a company that hires people who aren't white. It's so obvious that companies need to do that that we shouldn't even be having a discussion about it.

So the Brazen Careerist Top 50 does not ignore salary. We do assume any decent company pays fair wages, but we give a slight reward to companies that pay extra high wages to young workers.

2. Social entrepreneurship is stupid.
It's stupid because you don't' need to be calling yourself a social entrepreneur in order to save the world. We no longer divide the world into non-profit people who are do-gooders and for-profit people who are money-grubbers. We are all here to do good. After all, what else is worth living for?

So we all want to work at companies that enable us to be doing something good. We gauge this by tracking which companies have green programs. Green programs aren't the only way to do good, but it's a decent indication of how companies see their place in the world.

If a company has a strong green initiative it's because they understand the value of being a good corporate citizen. And companies like that know that employees want to feel good about the organization they work for, and the difference they make in the world.

3. Self-reported flexible workplaces are BS.
Flexibility is not something that Gen Y wants. It's something everyone wants. The idea that we are going to run our lives around our work is ridiculous. It doesn't work. We want to make each aspect of our life work well with the other aspects.

Companies know that everyone wants a flexible workplace, so every company says they offer that. No kidding. Even a company like Deloitte, known for insane hours and heavy, heavy travel, has a whole initiative to promote a flexible workplace.

Okay. So if everyone is touting flexibility, how do you really judge? In our Top 50 list we judge by how close a company gets to hiring 50% women. This is not scientifically proven, but it is true that while all demographics complain about inflexible hours, women will leave the company over it.

Caveat: I have said in the past that there is an underlying level of BS to every Top 50 list. You already knew that, though (and here’s a forum to talk about that). What you might not know, though, is that if you take the time to evaluate a top 50 list, it forces you to think about what values and programs you rank when you look at companies, and what top three things you would care most about. There might not be a list for what you want, but there is an inner compass, and the more you use it, the more quickly you get where you need to go.

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  1. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    It’s a nice list, but for many Gen Y employees, and especially new professionals, to focus on only those firms employing 2,500 or more workers would not be ideal. Many smaller employers may not offer the benefits of the big boys but can give you tremendous experience and responsibility right at the beginning of your career. I know that would make it impossible to do the list, but it should be kept in mind while planning a career.

  2. Voice in the Crowd
    Voice in the Crowd says:

    Only one Science/Bio-Tech company on that list and it’s Merck? Not that I have any reason to doubt you, but why does nearly every major investment/banking firm that got gobs of money in the bailout because they nearly collapsed under the weight of stupid investments make the list?

    • Marc KS
      Marc KS says:

      Pretty simple – Company flexibility is considered an important factor in ranking Top 50 companies

      Flexibility is measured in part by how close the company is to hiring a 50% female workforce

      Now try finding a good STEM company that hires anywhere near 50% females… nevermind that, try to find a solid manufacturing firm that hires anywhere near 50$ females.

      The simple answer is that you won’t find ANY good STEM companies with a 50% female workforce because any good STEM companies (those that have success – which gives the company flexibility to attempt innovative approaches to employee management) will be hiring on the basis of best candidate.

      Assuming that men and women in the STEM field are equivalently good this means that STEM companies will end up hiring significantly more men than women (since STEM is still largely dominated by men).

      With manufacturing firms the reason is quite simple – Manufacturing blue collar jobs are still largely a man’s job (women just plain aren’t applying for those jobs). Any good manufacturing firm will have a fair number of blue collar workers skewing their hiring numbers towards men.

      Essentially – using hiring women 50% of the time to determine the firms flexibility takes most STEM/manufacturing firms out of the running for a TOP 50 job.

      • Jim C.
        Jim C. says:

        Absolutely right about STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) companies. Most women run away from that kind of work, unless it’s biology or biochemistry. If you work in, say, aircraft manufacturing or the chemical process industry, you’ll be in a guy shop. People who insist on a 50% female workforce are selecting for an organization where almost everyone wears a suit to work and no one wears steel-toed boots, and where no one knows anything about differential equations or thermodynamics.

  3. Maria
    Maria says:

    Having worked for a couple of the employers on the list, and having gone to do something with less profit more social focus, I beg to disagree. Big corporates have never been the most flexible out there, and it is a known fact that in many cases flexibility can be gained by not working for bigger, bottom-line driven names.

  4. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Well, this is what I think about lists of top companies:

    1. They are all flawed. It’s way easier to criticize the list than make a list. (Believe me, because I’ve done both.)

    2. The only useful lists are of big companies. There is not enough data to compare small companies on a national basis. That said, most of us will need to go to a large company at some point in our life — for safety, for specific skill building, for a break.

    3. I think a more productive conversation than “is the list right” is “are the assumptions good”. The list is just a numerical guess of the assumptions. (Every list is that.) So the meat of the discussion, I think, should be the underlying philosophy.


  5. Mason
    Mason says:

    Social Entrepreneurship isn’t irrelevant. For example the authenticity gap between Tom’s Shoes and Nike is huge. The key thing that divides them is Tom’s Shoes was created to make a difference in the world and Nike was not. I don’t care what kind of green programs Nike has, they pale in comparison to Tom’s for that reason.

  6. Gayle
    Gayle says:

    So if everyone is touting flexibility, how do you really judge? In our Top 50 list we judge by how close a company gets to hiring 50% women. This is not scientifically proven, but it is true that while all demographics complain about inflexible hours, women will leave the company over it.
    Hmm, not so sure that’s fair. Companies like Google have very flexible environments and pretty moderate hours, particularly for engineers, but are about 75% male (and 85 – 90% for engineers). That’s just the nature of the tech business.

  7. Kristen
    Kristen says:

    My company is on your list and AMEN to calling BS on touting “flexibility.”

    I have soooo much to say about this.

    First of all, if a company tells you they have a flexibility initiative (or good work/life balance), you should take this to mean exactly the opposite. The fact that they brought it up indicates that this is a problem in the company.

    Also, you shouldn’t look at how many women they hire. You should look at how many they retain. Because I have seen the numbers in my own company and while they may hire 50%+ woman, the number of women in the highest ranks is dismal. Same for minorities. Maybe this will change as Gen Y moves up in the workplace, but I doubt it.

    Because we are not actually flexible.

    I worked until 9PM every night last week and I worked on Saturday. But, we didn’t work on Sunday because we were being flexible. Get it?

  8. Lee
    Lee says:

    1. Where’s the link which vouches for the accuracy of the data? Sites like that are only as good as the information inputted.


    That is only true if a lack of information about pay-scales is the only reason a company could screw you by underpaying. Not all companies have internal payscales that are transparent. A lot of small companies do not. And many companies are taking advantage of the job market to pay as little as possible and get bargain priced talent. At any rate, knowledge is just one factor in negotiations. If you’re not getting as many offers, you would not be able to negotiate as high, and therefore it’s harder to get paid fairly.

    Some food for thought: Why James Chatrand wears women’s underpants Talks about the effect of gender on payrate. Writer was cognizant of the going pay rate.

    “Instantly, jobs became easier to get.

    There was no haggling. There were compliments, there was respect. Clients hired me quickly, and when they received their work, they liked it just as quickly. There were fewer requests for revisions – often none at all.

    Customer satisfaction shot through the roof. So did my pay rate.”

    A black man with a college degree has the same chance as being hired as a white man with a felony conviction

  9. LPC
    LPC says:

    I haven’t clicked through to the list. But I confess, I used to look at Brazen Careerist and now don’t go near the place. My reaction? What a bunch of effing spoiled brats. You can chalk it up to my being over 50 if you like. But you will be wrong.

    • Jill
      Jill says:

      I’m curious as to what makes you say this LPC. Can you elaborate? I’ve been on BC here and there over a few months and taken part in the group, but I haven’t seen this. (And I have a low tolerance for spoiled brats.)

      I think this would be useful to know for those people you are deeming spoiled – maybe they’re unaware that’s how they come off.

      • LPC
        LPC says:

        To be precise, I haven’t been back in a year. Perhaps it has improved. The post that had me recoiling in disgust was one about managing women in their 50’s. But the general tone of, “we can have everything without giving up anything,” to me, that’s how spoiled brats talk. Work is hard. They pay you for a reason. If you have luck, persistence, intelligence, and no emotional baggage, you can wind up doing what you love. But it’s not a right and it’s not all that common. I don’t mind the voiced goal, it’s the dismissive tone.

  10. Ian Selvarajah
    Ian Selvarajah says:

    “Social entrepreneurship is stupid.”

    I’m surprised at this ridiculously derogatory comment about an up and coming field that GenY (your company’s target market) has a keen interest in.

    2 Questions:

    How exactly do you define a social enterprise? As you said, most people today don’t paint things as black and white (money-grubbers vs. do-gooders) anymore. A social enterprise seems to be the best of both worlds, so maybe you think it’s stupid for another reason?

    How would your list have changed had you thought Social Entrepreneurship wasn’t stupid? Would this list be full of social enterprises?

  11. Tango Delta
    Tango Delta says:

    I know that the list is titled Top 50 “Companies”, but I find it interesting that no government (Federal or state) agencies made the cut. A number of newspapers and websites have reported that many graduating students rank them fairly high because working for the government is an almost surefire way to be making some kind of a difference. This is especially true after President Obama’s call to service last year.

    In fact, I work in an office very close to one Federal agency and I can say, without a doubt, that almost half of the people I’ve seen walk in and out of the gates are under the age of 27.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      This is a very valid point. I *think* maybe a better assumption is that the more women you see in higher level positions the more flexible the company is and a better company to work for.

  12. Sara
    Sara says:

    50% hiring of women to support flexible hours and every bulge bracket investment bank make your list quite simply HILARIOUS! – I’ve worked for two of those firms – and the idea that they are flexible is ridiculous, and look at retained/promoted women – they only hit near 50% women because of all the executive assistants that are women, they’re not the bankers, traders etc.

      • Penelope Trunk
        Penelope Trunk says:

        Yeah. That’s a really good point. As I was working on this list, one way that I could tell I had flawed assumptions was to eyeball the list and see that a totally terrible company was there. It made me think things through backwards — similarly to how you just did it — “what makes a company like this get through the list? how does their workforce interact with my assumptions?”

        I wish I had thought of the admin aspect of banking. I made the assumption that investment banks generally have very hot, very smart women in sales, so sales was where the women were.


    • Erik
      Erik says:

      I noticed the investment bank aspect as well. I attributed it to the fact that they likely pay a lot more than average which more than cancels out the gender disparity.

      Having worked at an investment bank in my 20s, i would say they are a great place to work for someone just starting their career…while they are very demanding, they are a great jumping off place to get to your next job.

      When you join an investment bank, it is an upfront clear deal that you will work sometimes insane hours, but they will pay you for that, and it’s the high pay that gets them on this list.

  13. Alli
    Alli says:

    I worry your second point is flawed. Or maybe the flaw is that we say people want to “do good,” when it might be more true to say they want to “feel like they are doing good.”

    Or maybe we’re just being too generous about what “doing good” is.

    There are a lot of companies on this list that engage in business practices that, if pressed, few would call “doing good.” And, in fact, certain actions could probably even be labeled “doing bad.”

    I agree that you can do just as much (if not more) good in a for-profit than a non-profit, but I don’t think that an organization’s “green program” or any other “hot-issue-of-the-day” program is a good way to determine that.

    You can learn far more about the nature of a business by looking at the way it interacts with the world in pursuit of its core business goals. The rest is mere distraction.

    • William Bruce
      William Bruce says:

      I was preparing to inflict another of my long, discursive comments on the readers here regarding precisely these matters when, lo and behold, this comment expressed the majority of my sentiments with far less pomp and verbiage. My compliments, Alli.

      I must, however, contribute a few points of my own. Firstly, most people do not necessarily want to “feel like they are doing good” — certainly not in a substantial or consistent way. Most people are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling. Even if they do desire to feel as if they are doing good, it is likely because it makes them feel good. But, for good or for ill, they can obtain a good feel elsewhere (all double entendres aside).

      Secondly, objection must be raised to the absolute claims made in this post. I understand that they should be appreciated as rhetorical flourishes only, but unfortunately such flourishes obscure important truths — truths that often make a hash of what is written here at Brazen Careerist. “Everyone” does not want a flexible workplace, particularly not on a consistent basis. We do not “all” want to do good, particularly not on a consistent basis. The human population is more pluralistic than that (even our cultural milieu exclusively). With full knowledge of the manifest irony, I say, “Caveat lector.”

  14. Aaron Erickson
    Aaron Erickson says:

    Um, well, Wow. At least the methodology is simple.

    Unfortunately, it does not tell us much. There are at least a couple companies on that list that are billable hour mills, really 6 I can count. The reason they have more Gen Y is that they can bill them high, pay them low. AKA the professional services leverage model.

    At least two of those in the 6 have been clients of mine in the last 2 years, and I would definitely say that the “quality of life” at those employers is *extremely* variable, depending on whom your managing partner is, whether he (and lets be fair, the partner still is almost certainly *he*) – is hitting his number for the quarter. The things that matter, such as average hours expected in a given week for the salary, etc – are not part of this.

    You should know better. You post that quality of life stops at around $50k. I agree. From there, it is alignment with mission of the company, autonomy, quality of your boss, quality of your coworkers. This survey gets at almost none of that.

    It will get attention, but it is a survey that is laughable in its utility.

  15. Mneiae
    Mneiae says:

    Hurray Penelope! I’m a business student and I lead a business presentation two weeks ago to the US Director of Recruiting for Cummins, a Fortune 500 company, about Gen Y and recruiting them via social media networking. Brazen Careerist was the focal point of my presentation and you corresponded with one of my team members. And I am so happy that Brazen Careerist has posted the top 50 companies and the methodology. Perhaps this post would have been more timely had it come sooner, but this is exactly what I’m looking for.

  16. mike
    mike says:

    id just like to shed some light on the list itself. interestingly, the criteria in the list dont coincide perfectly with penelope’s personal list of interesting assumptions. that is perfectly fine, as her point eventually moves in the direction suggesting we evaluate lists themselves and compare them to the criteria we ourselves value.

    3) Pick the 50 companies with the highest score(s), as defined by:

    Percentage of Gen Y employees
    Median total cash compensation of Gen Y employees
    Gender balance
    Green score, as determined by Climate Counts

    the BC list implies gen y-ers prefer to be:

    -around people of their own generation
    -well compensated
    -surrounded by an equal number of men and women
    -working in an eco-conscious workplace

    i am going to assume each of these were given equal importance. in other words, salary is just as important as working in a green workplace. i would be willing to bet if you surveyed a good sample of gen y-ers, the preferences would be all over the place.

  17. Sansa
    Sansa says:


    Did you write this? The tone is so generic that I felt like one of your pinch hitters wrote this. Did not sound like you at all.

    Hope this means you are strolling on a beach someplace with a soothing fruitie drink and giving yourself a break from Wisconsin. You deserve it!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I wrote it. But you know what? It was hard. I confess that I would be more interested in a post of, say, top 50 companies that I have hated working with, or something like that. Maybe that will be my next post…


  18. Matt S
    Matt S says:

    There's a BIG difference between a business which is mindful of its social impact (corporate responsibility) and, a company whose business is social entrepreneurship. Both aim to empower but, the metrics, method and, scope of success are quite different.

    • Ben
      Ben says:

      Completely agree — green programs are great (essential, really), but more important to me is a company’s purpose. You can look at what a company sells and pretty easily know if they were created to provide a good or service that enriches people’s lives or if they were created just to sell something that people will buy. That might seem like a fuzzy line to draw, but there are companies grounded in making the world a better place and ones grounded in simply making a buttload of money.

      Not that social entrepreneurs mind a buttload of money — but we’ve got bigger priorities than squeezing every cent out of our businesses (and customers) at the risk of our mission.

  19. Sara
    Sara says:

    Young Gen Y’er in my dream job managerial position here who really loves you and wants to love Brazen careerist the tool. A couple thoughts on how I could be persuaded to use brazen careerist:

    1) I’m signed up but the interface just seems like its facebook with a blog component, which is old news to me.

    2)I read your blog because it gives anecdotally supported real world advice. I don’t participate in Brazen careerist because I don’t see that there, at least not in packaging that appeals to a busy manager like me.

    3) Why not actively help us Gen Y’ers become brazen careerists by offering webinars, working group conference calls, or webcasts from professionals on many of the career related things you talk about Penelope? With some of the guest bloggers you have on?

    Check out the new organizing institute–its a career development company for non-profit workers, and I think you guys would have a lot more success if you implemented their training, outreach, conference call, participatory model than you do encouraging loose, social, horizontal relationships online.

    anyway, thanks for your great blog posts. Want to help make you a success!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      This is great input, Sara. Thanks. I’m actually starting to do webinars. So stay tuned. I’ll announce them here.

      And, one more thing: The reason you need a place to have a conversation that looks like Facebook but is not Facebook is that employers want to recruit via social media but Facebook is not useful for that.

      Social media is a good recruiting tool because you can get an idea of how someone thinks by watching their conversation about ideas. Facebook is not a professional conversation, so it is a pain to use as a hiring tool — it’s misguiding. Brazen Careerist allows you to have employers hire you based on your ideas and how you interact in a professional environment. This is better for your career than to present personal conversations to employers (Facebook) or to present a resume to employers (LinkedIn).


  20. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Hiring of 50% women may also mean the place values university education, as 55% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees today are granted to women.

    Measuring flexibility is a tough one. It’s really in the eye of the beholder, and relative to what you’re used to.

    If flexibility a key aspect of any job you are offered, ask to speak with employees who take advantage of it to see what it really means. It might mean you are expected to be at your desk 95% of working hours, but can shuffle out to a school concert occasionally and take work home. It might mean a 60 hour week, but you can decide which 60 hours to work, and even to work from home occasionally. Or it might be something really wonderful. But you won’t know unless you can actually talk to someone taking advantage of it about what their typical week is like.

  21. Akhila
    Akhila says:

    Penelope, you are oversimplifying social entrepreneurship and this article poorly dismisses an area that warrants much more attention and indeed, respect, than you have given it. I’m disappointed in your cursory assessment, but then again, you always seem to write off non-profit, government, and social enterprise as careers. Why, because they don’t make much money? I’d argue that doing good (in an effective manner) is a much greater reward that money will ever be.

    Your writing is falsely lulling “Gen Yers” into thinking they can make a difference in the corporate sector. Um, if you REALLY want to make a difference, don’t use these excuses to enter the corporate sector and just “feel good about yourself.” If you REALLY want to make a difference you’d join an effective non-profit/social enterprise/govt agency or at least volunteer on the side. While some change can be achieved by making corporations more green or encouraging CSR initiatives, it doesn’t even look like you’re asking your readers to consider those as careers.

    Companies don’t go green “because they value being good citizens.” That is completely untrue. Everything a company does is FOR PROFIT, and the ONLY reason they engage in CSR type initiatives is because they feel it will give them good PR and will get them more positive publicity. I mean, people would rather deal with a company with a positive image of “doing good” rather than one known for polluting the Amazon or ruining people’s livelihoods. Of COURSE a company’s going to “go green” but don’t fool yourself into thinking they are doing it because they feel it’s the right thing to do or some other righteous/moral reason. They are just doing it because it improves their profits and if any of these initiatives reduced their profits, they would be the first ones to cut them out.

    I also don’t agree that “we are all here to do good.” A lot of people don’t care about doing good, they care about money or their family or career advancement. A lot of people care about power. I don’t think that’s a correct judgment to make either.

    Sure, you can make a difference and do good in the corporate sector. But it’s a limited difference. There is a lot more you can do outside the corporate sector as well, and it is good to more seriously consider the non-profit/social enterprise/government sectors while providing career advice to Gen Y.

  22. Isao
    Isao says:

    It’s nice to see which companies are currently popular, but I am not sure how useful this list is from the job hunter’s point of view. Most of us cannot manage to get into these “over the top” famous companies, therefore we mortals would like to know why they are the way they are, so that we can apply similar criteria to lesser-known companies within our reach. I would love to see breakdown data of which company scored well in which criteria, and why did the editors think so.

  23. Steve Levy
    Steve Levy says:

    Methodology discussion aside (you know that through the online years, I’ve been a GIGO methodology wonk as it relates to employment surveys), are any of these companies presently hiring GenY’ers and women?

    Erma Bombeck wrote a book whose title I’ll paraphrase as the grass is greener over the septic tank; looks great at first but beware the stinky stuff just below the turf. If you were to survey GenY’ers pink slipped by these companies would they have the same feelings about the standings of their former employers?

  24. Mardi Latch
    Mardi Latch says:

    Hi Penelope, I have been following you for a little while now. While I have never commented before I love reading your articles and think you are special- in a good way.

    I didn’t agree with your following statement on Social Enterprise:
    “It's stupid because you don't' need to be calling yourself a social entrepreneur in order to save the world. We no longer divide the world into non-profit people who are do-gooders and for-profit people who are money-grubbers. We are all here to do good. After all, what else is worth living for?”

    Sure maybe the world doesn’t (hard line) distinguish between the two in this way anymore. However the recent term of Social Enterprise I believe is a good one. If it does nothing more than begin to raise the consciousness of individuals living within a global community; then this is good. Of giving something back to the world (or causing less harm) within a profit making business model; then this is good. This “new” consciousness I believe is very important for humankind’s future. Social Entrepreneurship I hope, will become the norm for future business. While perhaps slow in making change, at least it is an attempt to rectify the damage we have done in bowing to the consumerist society that we have created.

    I have almost exclusively worked in sales. I have sold photocopy systems to corporates, I have sold investment property to individuals, events, clothes, online media. When you are driven by targets and your sole purpose of employment is to hit that target- you do what you can to hit that target. Otherwise you are asked to leave.

    I left all those jobs, (of my own volition) to find the Holy Grail, selling a product that I believed in and earning good coin in the process. I have been frequently told that I am too honest for my own good. However I was/am very good at relationship building and was successful for it. But the really successful sales people were the ones that secured deals at pretty much any cost. “Sell it in to the client and sort any problems out later, once the money was in.”- You financially get rewarded for this and rewarded by company kudos. In my various experience (woking within various sectors) this is pervasive in all sales environments. This is further amplified during the weekly meetings with your team of who’s c..k is bigger than who’s this week/month/quarter.

    Social Enterprise is something that every working individual on this earth should aspire to work for. Balancing profitability with making a change for the better of people/ environment etc… By putting a name to it, it gives people a direction of what company to work for- than just a company with a good product or service. The name raises our awareness of business beyond profitability as one of the key pillars. Let’s hope this continues…

    P.S. I was saddened to hear of your break up. Previously I have had my heart blown into smithereens before. Luckily the universe has a higher plan and I found a wonderful fella. These quotes actually helped me during the break up process and I hope they help you too.

    “Love hath no physic for a grief too deep.”- Robert Nathan
    “The difference between expressing love and having regret is…..
    that the regrets may stay around forever.” – Charles Hanson Towne

    Chin Up
    Mardi x

  25. Laura Vanderkam
    Laura Vanderkam says:

    Lists are fun– I’ve been part of a few for some magazines, and the hilarious thing about many is that the number-crunching doesn’t start from the set of all companies, it starts from the set of companies that bother to fill out your survey. So the ones that make the list are the ones that care about making the list. For instance, Business Week’s annual Best Places to Launch a Career list usually has companies like, say, Enterprise Rent-a-Car, but not McKinsey. I think more people would prefer to launch their careers at McKinsey, and will go farther if they do, but McKinsey won’t fill out the survey. So it doesn’t make the list.

  26. Y
    Y says:

    Having worked for one of the investment banking firms on the list, I have to agree with comments calling this BS. On the trading floor I worked, there were exactly two women. One of them was “executive assistant”.

  27. jeanne gates
    jeanne gates says:

    Your analysis of GEN Y workers and what they want/need is
    excellent. I think your list is nice for buying stock, but not picking employers. This new generation will find more satisfaction and develop better and more varied basic skills and analytical skills from the challenges they see and handle working with small entrepreneurs and muni governments.

  28. Vicki
    Vicki says:


    You lost a bit of credibility with me when you said you’d come out with a list of top 50 places to work, precisely because before you’ve written before about how these lists are horrible and mostly useless, and I tend to agree with you. PWC, KPMG, Ernst and Young, Deloitte, and Accenture all made the list. Knowing people who are currently and have been in the past employed by all of those companies, I can say from their anecdotes that I would hesitate to work for one of them just for the reasons you wrote: the insane hours and the lack of respect for younger staff.

    Does Accenture have a lot of time off? Yes, but you can never take it because the minute you do, you are ostracized by those higher up in the organization who are on their Blackberry first thing Saturday morning. This does not constitute flexibility to me, but more implied flexibility. Why does Accenture give you the ability to take up to 6 months or so of unpaid time off? Because they know you’ll never take it.

    Do these companies provide a good starting point for a career? Yes, they look extremely impressive on a resume. But that’s the reason most people who work there anyway, resulting in the rotating pool of analysts so present at all of these companies.

  29. Deron J Triff
    Deron J Triff says:

    I would not call social entrepreneurship stupid, but your point is not lost on me. Doing well by doing good is the right attitude, but for most, employers are not quite following the plot. There are only a handful of major corporations whose sense of social purpose is intertwined with their business strategy. More companies need to jump on board to truly set-up the right corporate culture that underscores you’re point that “we’re all here to do good.” In the meantime, you’ll have to live with us social entrepreneurs to break down the walls that the old guard built.

    Deron Triff

  30. mcsmiblee
    mcsmiblee says:

    I work for a small company with 50% women. There are 16 employees: 8 men, 8 women. There are 5 management positions: 5 men. There are 4 assistant/secretary/office manager-type positions: 4 women. (I would imagine that–as noted in Sara’s comment–this holds true in many large firms as well.)

    Our company is very flexible, but I find it highly chauvinist. I guess if you’re just using that 50% women thing as an indicator of flexibility, maybe it’s reliable; I don’t know. But if anyone is using that figure to draw other assumptions about the quality/progressive philosophy of the workplace, I’d say that’s probably flawed.

    Where does something like progressiveness (I can’t think of a more exact word right now) fall in Gen Y decision-making?

    –A Gen-X Woman

  31. K
    K says:

    Just wanted to note that I agree with the comment about investment banks having 50% female workforce due to administrative assistants.

    I work for a top bank, and our workforce is reported at 83% female. Yet I am the ONLY women in my entire department. The reasons? Assistants and tellers.

    The tendency to hire female tellers completely throws off any banking statistics.

    That being said, I will say that my company IS extremely flexible at the HIGHER LEVELS (which I am a part of). I can come in anytime before 9, I have a blackberry/laptop with VPN to work from home when I need to. Noone cares if I leave early for a Dr’s appt. It’s great. I just need to get my work done and noone tracks anything else.

    But payscale? I make a good $30,000 less than what would say I should be making. I really don’t think those websites are accurate, do others?

  32. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    I have to admit. I do not know if I am part of Gen X or Gen Y. I was born in 1980 and according to Wikipedia, I could be either. It does not really matter to me, though. I am living on a tiny island in Mexico, managing my two-and-a-half employees, and though I did not really grasp it until I read this post and its subsequent comments, I am completely disconnected from both generations. I haven't worked for a big company since leaving Media General (not on The List) four years ago. That was also the last time I lived in the States.
    I am currently in the middle of my very own tiny crisis, as I try to figure out my place in this world, and I have the feeling that that is the nugget of this entire conversation we are having, that many of us are unsure of where to be and how to even make the next step getting there.
    In my case, I know what I want to do and if you were to ask me, I would say it has nothing to do with flexibility, wages or green mentalities, and that it has everything to do with me getting to a point that I feel am carrying out what I was meant to carry out. Yet, it does have everything to do with flexibility, wages and green mentalities, so to speak, because I went the traditional route with my journalism degree and found out almost immediately that it was not for me. A quick job search made it even clearer that what I wanted was at the end of a journey and I'd best get moving, if I was to find it. Ever since, without even being entirely aware of it, I have been searching for a way to get back to writing, but on my terms. It's been a roundabout route through teaching English and now managing a hotel but I am getting there.
    Am I lost? No.
    I am not found, either, but I have never been one to sit down with a Pro and Con list to determine what choice to make, so I would never be one to look at a Top 50 list and try to go somewhere from it. That's just me, though. I go more by my gut than anything (Oh, dear. Didn't George W. Bush say something similar?) and that gut is fueled by millions and millions of observations made along the way and filed to use when I need them.
    I just wonder then if it is worth pointing out that we are all trying to get somewhere, and maybe, if we just keep to the right and pass to the left, the rest will fall into place, because karma does exist and like Penelope said, you also have an inner compass, so use it, as well as whatever other tools you find useful in navigation.
    Finally, so what if she has said she thinks these lists are BS and then prints one? Give the girl a break. She wrote a disclaimer and besides, she's just had her heart broken. Don't you know how it is to have to run on autopilot? Furthermore, I think she does believe we are all here to do good. That is not to say she thinks we are all realizing that.

  33. Tina Fortune
    Tina Fortune says:

    Yes,flexibility is “something everyone wants” and we all know that if you decide to “take” it, you’re jeopardizing your career advancement. Work smart and hard to get ahead. Great post, now I’m going to check the job boards for the Top 50!

  34. Deadhedge
    Deadhedge says:

    Until the last few weeks, your posts have been fairly clear. This one is borderline incoherent. Here are the inconsistencies,

    1. Salary is not as important to Gen Y as other factors, but yet salary is one of your criteria on the list. Most companies on the list pay very well. So how is not important?
    2. Salary negotiations are over just becasue data is more available? On the contrary, salary negotiations have just begun because now both sides have data.
    3. Flexibility is important but you only included corporations with 2500 people? That’s like picking your favorite form of torture. Being eaten by ants might be better than being stretched on the rack, but it’s still torture.
    4. Women making up 50% of workforce = Flexibility is a huge stretch.
    5. Social entrepreneurship is not stupid. You can choose to sell financial services, accounting services, PR, or you can choose a career focused on community development, social work, or other causes. Just because Goldman Sachs pays you enough money to start a foundation doesn’t mean you’re doing the same work as someone who goes to Africa to start a microfinance organization.

    Honestly, Penelope, research has never been your strong point. You stretch a lot of your links that loosely demonstrate a point and this methodology has yield large well paying non-manufacturing companies that recruit dorm rooms full of college students to be analysts for 2 years and in some cases become bitter old men and women by the time they’re 25.

  35. Fly Flots
    Fly Flots says:

    Not surprised to see that Google’s in the list (at number 4).

    I think many of us in the internet business are aware of the fact that they’re rated highly as an employer by many people.

  36. Belinda Gomez
    Belinda Gomez says:

    NBC Universal? In what division? The entertainment arm just melted down. I’d love to know what criteria you considered when you put it on your list.

  37. Derek Scruggs
    Derek Scruggs says:

    How could you leave out SurveyGizmo?! :) Practically all of our employees are Gen Y and they have a lot of power to drive the growth of the company, which has been in the hundreds of percent annually straight through the recession.

  38. Bill
    Bill says:

    Strange that so many financial companies are in the top list. News reports have indicated the financial sector took a big hit with the global economic crisis. I guess these companies are still living high on the hog while the average business suffers.

  39. Bad Leader
    Bad Leader says:


    Great article.

    Although, I respectfully disagree on the salary point. I do not think we have ever seen a point when salaries have been more messed up in corporations.

    Inequities are rampant, and I do not subscribe to the Payscale data. Workers don’t really have any transparency or upper hand with salary info.

    Most corporations salary bases are still reeling from the job-hopping of the dot-com era. (Where too many people got ridiculous raises for simply jumping companies.) I think it will be many years before salaries stabilize.

    Unfortunately for new (and younger workers),they are they ones that are being punished for the unaccountable salaries that already exist.

  40. fishing organizations
    fishing organizations says:

    I totally love this list! I have been searching for something like this for some time. Not just a list of jobs based on purely economic factors, those are a dime-a-dozen, but social and personal ones as well. This is a one-of-a-kind list….I’m definitely saving it.

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  1. Mizz Information says:

    Why Brazen’s Top 50 Gen Y Companies List is Horse$…

    I have to start by saying that I LOVE Penelope Trunk–love, love, love her. Which is, I guess, why I’m so surprised and disappointed by her company, Brazen Careerist’s, Top 50 Gen Y Companies list….

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