How we ranked our list of the 50 best companies to work for in America
Data used for the list was collected from employees who completed PayScale's employee survey. PayScale surveyed employees in the US (not including territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam) who work at companies that appeared on the 2014 Fortune 500 list.
To calculate scores for the companies, PayScale used six criteria: high job satisfaction, low job stress, ability to telecommute, high job meaning, experienced median pay/total cash compensation, and salary delta.
Percentage High Job Satisfaction: This is the percentage of respondents who work at a given employer who answered "Extremely satisfied" or "Fairly satisfied" to the question, "How satisfied are you in your job?"
Percentage Low Job Stress: This is the percentage of respondents who work at a given employer who answered "My job is relaxing" or "Not stressful" when asked whether their job was stressful.
Percentage Able to Telecommute: This is the percentage of respondents who work at a given employer who answered, "Yes, I telecommute 100% of the time," or "Yes, I telecommute most of the time," or "Yes, I telecommute some of the time," to the question, "Are you able to telecommute/work from home?" Note: For some companies, PayScale did not have enough data yet to report on this question. These companies are given an average score of 1.
Percentage High Job Meaning: This is the percentage of respondents who work at a given employer who answered "Very much so" or "Yes" to the question, "Does your work make the world a better place?"
Experienced Median Pay: This is the median (50th percentile) pay for people who have at least five years of experience in all applicable jobs in the field and work at the given company. Half of the employees with five or more years of work experience will earn more than this amount, while half will earn less.
Total Cash Compensation (TCC): Combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable. TCC does not include equity (stock) compensation, which can be a significant portion of pay for some executive and high-tech jobs. In addition, salary does not include cash value of retirement benefits, or value of other non-cash benefits (e.g., healthcare).
Salary Delta: This measures whether a given employer typically pays above, below, or at market price for their employees. By using PayScale's database of over 40 million employee profiles, we have determined how various compensable factors - like work experience, education, and job responsibilities - affect pay, all else equal. From this analysis, PayScale can calculate what a worker with a given set of compensable factors will earn across different employers. This measure is reported as a percentage premium or loss. Any employer that pays above market will have a positive percentage. The larger the percentage, the higher the premium these employers pay for their workers. On the other hand, if an employer pays below market, the percentage will be negative.
To turn these various measures into a score, PayScale first standardized each company-specific measure. This was done by dividing the company-specific value by the median across all observed values across the set of companies.
Next, PayScale transformed these scores into a distribution where the final company-specific score is to be no larger than 1.4 and no smaller than 0.6 and is evenly proportioned by rank. This transformation is necessary to remove the heavy influence of outliers on the overall rank of an employer.
Once PayScale had a company-specific score for each of the six measures (job satisfaction, job stress, ability to telecommute, job meaning, experienced median pay/total cash compensation, and salary delta), PayScale calculated the final score by multiplying each measure together.
This method places equal weighting on each measure, but we decided to emphasize pay because we think that is one of the more important factors. Therefore, we double-weighted experienced median pay/total cash compensation to emphasize the importance of companies that pay their employees well.
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