NEW YORK – Working Mother magazine released its annual list of the top 100 places to work, with its chief executive touting an improvement in mother-friendly benefits in corporate America.
Working Mother CEO Carol Evans, who authored the book "This Is How We Do It: The Working Mothers' Manifesto," said that in order to retain female employees, a growing number of companies are offering customized schedules.
"There are some very, very creative ideas, and this is all related to what we saw in the past, with women dropping off the edge of a cliff, when they said it's either working full time or not at all," Evans said.
This year's list includes 18 new names, representing some churn, and the magazine cites growing concern among companies that they will lose qualified female employees if they do not upgrade their benefits.
"Our country needs women to have babies, our companies need women's brainpower and time," she said. "Those two things going together really demand that companies wake up to this new culture."
The magazine used five main criteria as the basis for its judgments: flexibility, leave time for new parents, child care, elder care and the number of women occupying top jobs.
The top 10 companies that best satisfied the five criteria were: Abbott Laboratories (ABT); Bon Secours Richmond Health System; Ernst & Young LLP; HSBC USA Inc.; IBM Corp. (IBM); JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM); Patagonia Inc.; PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP; Principal Financial Group, and S.C. Johnson & Son Inc.
IBM (IBM) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) are the only companies that have been on the list every year since it was initiated 21 years ago. IBM offers new mothers the option to take up to 144 weeks of leave, Evans said.
The Boston Consulting Group is one of 18 companies new to the list, for which the magazine solicits applications that consist of 550 questions. Among the consulting group's benefits are three months of paid maternity leave and emergency child care.
Julie Gish, a 31-year-old project leader in the Chicago office of the consulting company, credits the maternity leave and flexible work policies for easing her work life after the birth of her son Charlie, who turned 1 on Saturday.
Gish took the three-month paid leave and an additional six weeks of unpaid leave before she returned to work on a 60 percent basis. Since then, she has increased her working time to 80 percent, and said she is grateful for how accommodating the company has been.
"They do that because they recognize that while women may need to take time out in their careers, it is certainly in their interest in the long run to offer flexible working arrangements," Gish said.
Gish said she plans to have at least one more child, and that after her children start school, she plans to go back to work full time.
The top 100 companies — in alphabetical order — for working mothers, as determined by Working Mother magazine:
Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill.
Accenture Ltd., New York, N.Y.
Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ga.
Allstate Corp., Northbrook, Ill.
American Express Co., New York, N.Y.
Arnold & Porter LLP, Washington, D.C.
AstraZeneca PLC, Wilmington, Del.
Avon Products Inc., New York, N.Y.
Bank of America Corp., Charlotte, N.C.
Baptist Health South Florida, Coral Gables, Fla.
Bayer AG, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Bon Secours Richmond Health System, Richmond, Va.
Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, Va.
The Boston Consulting Group, Boston, Mass.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., New York, N.Y.
Bronson Healthcare Group, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Capital One Financial Corp., McLean, Va.
Carlson Cos., Minnetonka, Minn.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill.
Citigroup Inc., New York, N.Y.
CJW Medical Center, Richmond, Va.
Colgate-Palmolive Co., New York, N.Y.
Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, D.C.
Credit Suisse Group, New York, N.Y.
DaimlerChrysler AG, Auburn Hills, Mich.
Deloitte & Touche USA LLP, New York, N.Y.
Deutsche Bank AG, New York, N.Y.
Discovery Communications Inc., Silver Spring, Md.
Dow Corning, Midland, Mich.
DuPont Co., Wilmington, Del.
Eli Lilly & Co., Indianapolis, Ind.
Ernst & Young LLP, New York, N.Y.
Fannie Mae, Washington, D.C.
First Horizon National Corp., Memphis, Tenn.
First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, Neb.
Ford Motor Co., Dearborn, Mivh.
Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif.
General Electric Co., Fairfield, Conn.
General Mills Inc., Minneapolis, Minn.
GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Philadelphia, PA
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New York, N.Y.
Grant Thornton LLP, Chicago, Ill.
Gurwin Jewish Geriatric Center, Commack, N.Y.
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
Hewlett Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif.
HSBC USA Inc., Prospect Heights, Ill.
IBM Corp., Armonk, N.Y.
Ikea, Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va.
JFK Medical Center, Atlantis, Fla.
Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.
JPMorgan Chase & Co., New York, N.Y.
Kellogg Co., Battle Creek, Mich.
KPMG LLP, New York, N.Y.
Kraft Foods Inc., Northfield, Ill.
Lego Systems Inc., Enfield, Conn.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., New York, N.Y.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., Springfield, Mass.
McGraw-Hill Cos., New York, N.Y.
Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Mercy Health System, Jamesville, Wis.
MetLife Inc., Long Island City, N.Y.
Microsoft Corp., Redmond, Wash.
Morgan Stanley, New York, N.Y.
Motorola Inc., Schaumburg, Ill.
Northern Trust Corp., Chicago, Ill.
Northwestern Memorial Healthcare, Chicago, Ill.
Novartis AG, East Hanover, N.J.
Patagonia Inc., Ventura, Calif.
Pearson PLC, Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Pfizer Inc., New York, N.Y.
Phoenix Cos., Hartford, Conn.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, New York, N.Y.
PNC Financial Services Group Inc., Pittsburgh, Pa.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, New York, N.Y.
Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa
Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio
Providence Alaska Medical Center, Anchorage, Ala.
Prudential Financial Inc., Newark, N.J.
Republic Bancorp., Owosso, Mich.
Rodale Inc., Emmaus, Pa.
RSM McGladrey Inc., Bloomington, Minn.
S.C. Johnson & Son Inc., Racine, Wis.
Schering-Plough, Kenilworth, N.J.
Scripps Health, San Diego, Calif.
Texas Instruments Inc., Dallas, Texas
Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H.
Trihealth, Cincinnati, Ohio
Turner Broadcasting System Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
UBS, New York, N.Y.
Union Pacific Railroad, Omaha, Neb.
Verizon Communications Inc., Bedminster, N.J.
Wachovia Corp., Charlotte, N.C.
Wells Fargo & Co., San Francisco, Calif.
West Virginia University Hospitals, Morgantown, W.Va.
Wyeth, Madison, N.J.
Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Conn.