Between lower salaries and missed promotions, the corporate world isn’t always kind to women. However, some companies are making strides to make their workplaces more equitable with career development programs, flexible work schedules, robust paid parental leave, caregiving benefits and more. Fairygodboss, a job reviewing platform, released its annual ranking to name the top 30 companies for women to work. Rankings are based on anonymous surveys and employee reviews.
1. Boston Consulting Group
Frequently ranked as one of the best places to work, BCG provides a variety of initiatives to women at the company. Through Women@BCG, employees have access to career development, mentorship and networking programs, along with meetings, conferences and forums. The firm sponsors the Women in the World summit and created the “She-Suite” series, a monthly series of interviews between journalist Tina Brown and some of the world’s leading female executives.
Although the company’s name appears regional, the firm has 85 offices in 48 countries, and BCG has six women based in Hong Kong, Washington, D.C., Tokyo, Boston, Zurich and London serve on its executive committee. It’s also one of the top 50 places to work overall, as ranked by Glassdoor
“One of our highest priorities is advancing our Women@BCG agenda: increasing the number, success and satisfaction of women at BCG,” says Rich Lesser, president and CEO. “We are encouraged by our progress and excited about what the future holds as we enhance opportunity, experience and work-life integration for all our people.”
The IT giant is making strides to have half of its workforce work remotely by 2020, a benefit that is popular among working moms. Internally, Dell offers employee resource groups, such as Women in Action, to connect employees with other women for personal and professional development, community engagement and volunteerism.
Realizing that there is still room to improve equality in the workforce, Dell was the first IT company to participate in Catalyst’s Men Advocating Real Change, an initiative to create a more inclusive workplace by engaging executive leadership in candid conversations about the role of gender in the workplace, as well as topics like unconscious bias.
Professional services firm Accenture has made a public commitment to achieve gender parity in the workplace by 2025, making the company one of the best places for women to work. Accenture hit its 2017 goal, employing more than 150,000 women — 40% of the workforce — a year early. The company also collaborates across business and government to help women achieve gender equality through programs such as Paradigm for Parity, which focuses on fixing the leadership gender gap; Catalyst’s CEO Champions for Change, which brings together CEOs and senior leaders who are visibly supporting and driving diversity, inclusion and gender equality within their organizations; and the White House Equal Pay Pledge, which states Accenture’s commitment to equal pay.
Beyond overall gender equality, Accenture aims to grow the percentage of female managing directors to 25% by 2020. So far, the company has promoted the largest percentage of women (30%) to managing director level in 2016 and launched initiatives to provide women with in-demand skills in order to remain competitive, according to Accenture.
With so few women holding chief executive positions, PepsiCo’s Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi is a good indicator that women can climb the corporate ladder to the very top. She and three other women also are on PepsiCo’s 14-person board of directors & committees, a higher rate than most Fortune Global 500 companies.
In the company’s 2025 agenda, released in 2015, PepsiCo outlined its internal strategies to “protect and support the safety, health, professional development and human rights of our employees.” The company works to foster a diverse and engaging culture, promote women’s equal advancement, and offer policies and benefits for informal caregivers — who are mostly women (66%).
5. General Electric
GE boasts a deep investment in women, starting with youth through its GE Girls and Girls Who Code programs and providing scholarship opportunities for women. For full-time workers, there are multiple women’s network programs for mentorship and career development, and also women-specific training is provided on leadership practices. Many female leaders can be found among the ranks serving in critical roles throughout various departments. In addition to traditional parental leave, the company offers an enhanced program where employees can obtain additional time off by working with their managers, per the company’s permissive time-off policy.
“GE has committed to increasing the number of women in STEM roles and also the representation of women in its technical entry-level leadership programs,” according to the company. “GE believes that this is not just the right thing to do; it’s a strategy that is necessary to inject urgency into addressing ongoing gender imbalance in technical fields and ultimately fully transform into a digital industrial company for the future.”
6. Salesforce (tied)
Salesforce, the cloud-computing company, takes workplace equality to another level. In its first-ever equal-pay assessment last year, the company spent nearly $3 million to “eliminate statistically significant differences in pay.”
“Our higher purpose is to drive the age of equality,” says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who in 2015 promised to ensure gender equality throughout the company.
While there are support platforms for African-Americans and the LGBTQ community, among many others, the company’s first support group was its women’s network, which through a host of networking, career events and mentoring opportunities, seeks to improve inclusion and equality in the workforce for women. At Salesforce, women make up 30% of the company’s overall workforce and 19% of senior management. Salesforce was also named one of the 50 best places to work, according to Glassdoor.
6. Deloitte (tied)
Deloitte has aimed to “reimagine inclusion” with programs that have racked up accolades from external organizations from Working Mother to the Human Rights Campaign. The Big Four firm has more than 2,000 women and minority PPMDs, and women and minorities make up more than 50% of Deloitte’s board. More than two-thirds of the firm’s employees are women and minorities as well. The firm also has a robust paid parental leave and encourages both men and women to take time off.
6. PwC (tied)
The Big Four Firm has done enough research on women in the workplace to know how to incorporate their findings into the organization internally. PwC’s workforce is 47% female, and 44% of new hires in 2016 were women. Those percentages are similar at the partner and principal level as well, with 46% of women and minorities. At the U.S. Leadership team, 35% of the 19 members are women.
PwC also offers benefits that help women in particular, such as a five-year leave of absence, where the firm pays for employees — the vast majority women — to keep their CPA credentials while they are not active in the company. The firm also has a flexibility program, which 90% of employees use, and a flexible “Dress For Your Day” dress code. Networking circles, employee resource groups, career advancement forums and mentorships are some of the resources offered to women at the firm, which PwC says affects its female population and makes it a great place to work.
9. Vanguard Group (tied)
The investment management group channels the ideal company culture through its Women’s initiative for Leadership Success program, which targets issues women encounter in the workplace, including how the company can better educate and service female investors. Each year this program organizes a summit in which women leaders hold panels and conversations around professional and personal development.
“Gender diversity is at the top of our minds,” says Vanguard spokeswoman Alyssa Saylor. “And more so than ever, we understand the importance of enabling a culture that develops, supports and encourages women in the workplace.”
Three of the company’s 11 managing directors are women. This year, Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb joined the U.S. 30% Club, an organization of business leaders dedicated to reach a better gender balance throughout their companies.
9. Apple (tied)
“Women are such an important part of the workforce,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said earlier this year. “If STEM-related fields continue to have this low representation of women, then there just will not be enough innovation in the United States. That’s just the simple fact of it.”
That’s why the tech giant is doing its part to fix the imbalance. This year, the company reported that 37% of new hires were women, who now comprise 32% of the company’s workforce. In the past year, Apple examined pay gaps among its compensation for U.S employees and closed them, and is now taking the initiative to analyze the salaries, bonuses and annual stock grants of its employees worldwide. It’s promising to address any gaps found and continue to maintain pay equity. Already, Apple says it’s achieved pay equity in the U.S. for similar roles and performance.
Additionally, Apple provides generous paid maternity leave and PTO that specifically covers care-taking. Apple also offers many networking and mentoring opportunities for women.
11. American Express
The financial services company recently expanded its paid parental leave to 20 weeks, making American Express one of the most generous companies to do so. Expecting parents can also receive up to $35,000 per adoption or surrogacy event, with a maximum of two events per employee, to help with the costs, along with a lifetime maximum of $35,000 for infertility treatment, including advanced reproductive technology procedures, available under the company’s health plans. Employees also have access to free 24-hour board-certified lactation consultants and free breast-milk shipping while traveling on company business.
12. Kaiser Permanente
Nearly three-quarters of healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente’s workforce is female, making it a good environment for women, according to Fairygodboss. One woman posted on the job reviewing site that the leadership features women, which sets a nice precedent. In fact, 29% of C-suite members for the health plan organization were women in 2016, and Kaiser Permanente’s boards of directors is 36% female. The company has also maintained a 50% representation of women on the executive medical directors group — the highest executive medical group at Kaiser Permanente.
“At Thomson Reuters, we understand the benefits of building diverse teams. A diverse and inclusive workforce is more productive, more engaged and more innovative,” says Patsy Doerr, head of corporate responsibility and inclusion. “Publicly announcing this target helps us move faster and keeps us accountable.”
Additionally, the company has a variety of programs in place for women. Aimed to help women realize their strong suits and goals, the firm’s Emerging Women in Leadership Program picks high-potential, early-career women to take part in this seven-week virtual program to “set them up for continued success and engagement.” Similarly, the company’s six-month Lead’her’ship Program seeks to retain and engage rising women technologists within the company through 40 online coaching sessions to build leadership abilities and confidence. The company also has two additional programs to engage, retain and develop the skills of women in senior roles at the firm.
14. Time Inc.
With 76 brands and thousands of employees, the female landscape at the media company differs from brand to brand, according to Fairygodboss. However, the company has multiple initiatives and community groups, including Women @ Time Inc. and Women in Technology, which are aimed at facilitating career opportunities, coaching and connections for women.
Time Inc. also offers women-centric benefits such as generous vacation and leave policies, an on-site health center, financial incentives for completion of biometric screenings and participation in health coaching, back-up child and eldercare, private wellness suites for nursing moms, and financial reimbursement to defray cost for adoption and surrogacy.
15. Cisco Systems
The multinational technology conglomerate is building what it calls “the future of fairness,” which is aimed at upending traditional policies, practices and programs in favor of an equitable workforce. Cisco has a pay parity initiative that analyzes the company’s employee data to determine pay disparities among gender, race and ethnicity. The company found minor disparities within 2% of its entire U.S. population and remediated it by giving pay adjustments to those employees affected. Cisco also wasone of the 28 founding signers for the White House Equal Pay Pledge and is a member of the Employers for Pay Equity Consortium. “Cisco believes in the power of inclusion, diversity and collaboration,” says Francine Katsoudas, senior VP, chief people officer, of Cisco Systems. “We want to unleash the full potential of our people.”
The company also has a number of programs that aim to build a pipeline for women to succeed. Those include: the Multiplier Effect, which creates opportunities for women to be sponsored and mentored in the technology industry; employee resource organizations; the Development, Authenticity, Readiness, and Excellence workshop to help women focus on visibility, internal politics and positive branding; and Jump, a nine-month nomination program for high-potential, mid-level female employees to focus on authentic leadership, strategic thinking, and increasing impact.
Microsoft strives to be a leader in retaining, recruiting, attracting and developing female talent from around the globe. To execute its leadership role, the technology company begins early by sparking young girls’ interest in tech careers. An estimated 40,000 girls in 16 different countries have participated in DigiGirlz, a Microsoft program that exposes high-school girls to high-tech work to get them excited about technology.
Microsoft also remains committed to supporting women once they do become full-time employees through the Women at Microsoft employee resource group, the Microsoft Women’s Professional Development Series and the company’s Global Women’s Conference which attracts more than 4,500 people. Almost three years ago, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella promised to recruit more diverse employees and ensure equal pay and equal opportunity, a goal Microsoft claims it’s still very much committed to reach today. The company also introduced a four-week family caregiver leave program.
Google continues to make strides at including more women in its workforce. This year the tech giant reported that women now make up 31% of its employees, and 20% of Google tech workers are women, up 17% from three years ago. Additionally, women hold one in four leadership roles at the company. The company also has Women@Google, a self-described global network comprised of more than 10,000 female Google employees, who are “committed to empowering all women at Google by connecting, developing and retaining female talent” through professional development, networking and mentoring opportunities. Likewise, the Google Women in Engineering Network focuses on developing a connected community among women Google engineers worldwide.
17. Bloomberg (tied)
Last year, Bloomberg introduced the Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI), a unique tool that provides investors and organizations with standardized aggregate data across company gender statistics, as well as employee policies, gender-conscious product offerings, and external community engagement and support. The index measures 52 firms based in 17 countries with strong commitments to gender equality.
“We hope the BFGEI encourages more firms to disclose and discuss gender equality in the workplace,” says Bloomberg L.P. Chairman Peter Grauer. “Better support for female employees is crucial to building and developing a diverse workforce - and it’s key to remaining competitive in today’s global business environment.”
Grauer has been a huge proponent of gender equality. He holds the position of Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club, an organization of business leaders dedicated to reach a better gender balance throughout their companies. Additionally, the media and data firm has the Bloomberg Women’s Community, which serves to support and connect employees through gender-awareness, building relationships and career development opportunities. This resource group for employees makes global efforts to attract female talent to increase leadership development in order to drive business impact through client engagement.
19. McKinsey & Company
The global consulting firm puts an emphasis on both women in the organization and the research it conducts. Since 2007, McKinsey’s Women Matter research has explored the role women play in the global workplace, their experiences and impact in senior-executive roles and the performance benefits that companies gain from gender diversity, according to the company. The firm has also entered a five-year partnership with LeanIn.org to conduct a study on the state of women in corporate America.
Internally, the firm offers birth parents 16 weeks of paid leave and eight weeks of paid leave to non-birth parents; McKinsey’s health insurance plan provides reimbursements for breast pumps and covers breast milk shipping for firm members traveling for work in the United States. Adoptive parents and parents using a surrogate also get eight weeks of paid parental leave. Like PwC, the firm offers a Ramp On Ramp Off program, which supports employees who take an extended leave of absence. McKinsey’s program is usually tailored to women taking maternity leave, but any employee taking a leave longer than six months is eligible.
The consulting firm was an early advocate for the United Nations’ HeForShe Campaign, which engages men as agents of change for gender equality. The firm was also ranked as one of the top 50 places to work overall, according to Glassdoor.
KPMG is another Big Four firm that is developing women-centric benefits. In spring 2014, the firm launched its New Parent Career Coaching program, which helps any employee returning from parental leave transition back into the workforce. KPMG says the program supports parents to enhance their experience at the first and retain them for the long-term.
Globally, 47% of employees are women, and women make up 29% of KPMG’s Board of Directors. The percentage of female partners, principals and directors at KPMG has risen to 22% in 2016, from 19% in 2013. In 2016, the firm hired 4% more women than men at the entry level, creating more opportunities for women to build careers in professional services.
Fifteen years ago, this Big Four firm had a nearly 15% gap in retention rates between women and men. Now, EY has mentorship and flexibility efforts to help close the gap. It seems to be working. The firm retains more women at a slightly higher rate than men.
Overall, nearly 30% of the firm’s new partners around the world are women. In fiscal year 2015, women made up 26% of new partners globally. Women also comprise 25% of EY’s Americas Board and 33% of EY U.S.’s Board.
22. Wells Fargo
The bank, which has more than $330 billion AUM, offers family-friendly benefits to its employees. In addition to the FMLA 12 weeks of unpaid leave, Wells Fargo provides up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave for a primary caregiver. The bank also provides up to $5,000 for adoption costs.
“Our company values and promotes diversity and inclusion in every aspect of our business and at every level of our organization” says Diane Evans, head of Wells Fargo talent planning. “Our commitment to diversity, including gender diversity, starts with our board where 33% of our directors are women. We have a strong record of recruiting, developing and promoting women at all levels of our company. As a result, a large percentage of our team members, our officer and managers are women.”
23. Goldman Sachs
A number of resources exists at Goldman Sachs to empower and benefit its female employees. The multinational finance company sponsors women’s networks at the firm-wide, divisional and regional levels. The firm-wide Goldman Sachs Women’s Network serves to enhance the workplace experience for women by fostering a stronger interaction among peers as well as the broader community; it also puts on events and conferences which concentrate on professional development and retention.
“Our success depends on our ability to attract and develop a diverse employee base at all levels, and we actively look to enhance how we recruit, retain and advance our female talent,” says Leslie Shribman, vice president of media relations.
Goldman Sachs’ Women’s Career Strategies Initiative is a six-month, cross-divisional, global career management program that is formatted to provide developmental opportunities to a select group of women to assist them in managing their career advancement. There’s also an enhanced maternity training program to support parents and provide them and their managers with resources for a smoother transition.
Many women also participate in the firm’s 10-week “returnship program,” where employees who have taken a career break can strengthen their technical skills, adventure down a new career path and gauge their ability to move back into the workplace full time.
24. JP Morgan Chase
Half of employees at JP Morgan Chase are women, and women represent 30% of the chairman and CEO’s direct reports and senior leadership globally. Women at the bank also head major functions, and make up 30% of the operating committee, including roles such as asset & wealth management CEO, general counsel and chief financial officer. JP Morgan Chase has two women on its board.
The bank offers a myriad of women-centric benefits such as a fully-equipped pumping room for new mothers, 16 weeks of paid parental leave, free back-up daycare, flexible work arrangements and adoption assistance. Employees of any gender also are able to take advantage of the bank’s ReEntry program, which allows employees to take a voluntary career break and re-enter the workforce up to a decade later; upon return, the 14-week program offers a re-introduction to corporate life, allowing program fellows to update their skills and re-engage their careers. The bank also offers programs that help women find mentors, exchange ideas around career development and receive hands-on training.
25. Target (tied)
Known for cute décor and clothes on a budget, among many other goods, Target engages women in both its stores and corporate offices. About half of Target’s 1,800-plus U.S. stores are run by women, and the company’s leadership team is 42% female. Also, Target’s board of directors is 38% female, compared to about 20% for Fortune 500 companies. The company is committed to pay equity, and is one of more than 100 employers to sign the White House Equal Pay Pledge.
The retailer also has a women’s business council to engage female employees through mentorship and career counseling. Through the council, Target offers two programs to engage and advance women in STEM through their careers. The first is Target Women in Science and Technology, an internal organization that fosters connections, inspiration and knowledge sharing. The other is Women in Engineering and Science, a program that launched in 2016 to encourage connections within the female tech community and organizations near its Minneapolis headquarters. .
25. The Home Depot (tied)
The home improvement retailer might not be the first company that springs to mind when it comes to employing and supporting women. However, women make up three of the seven members for the company’s executive leadership team and three women are on the 13-person board of directors.
“We work hard every day to live our inclusive values, so what’s most rewarding is that our own associates are saying that our efforts are paying off for them,” says Chief Diversity Officer Bea Rodriguez.
Almost as long as IBM has existed, the company engaged and treated women in highly valued roles. In 1899, IBM hired its first employee and in 1934 recruited its first female employee. In 1935, it created its equal opportunity policy nearly 30 years before the United States passed the Equal Pay Act. Now, the company is led by its first woman CEO, Ginny Rometty. Speaking with CNBC’s Jim Cramer in June, Rometty shared a few words on women employees. “You’ve got to keep women in the workforce, whether it’s through having children, caring for elder parents, all the things,” she says. “Not that husbands and spouses and partners don’t do those things too, but it’s often what takes them out, and then to get them back in is hard.”
While there are generous maternity leave, childcare and eldercare benefits for women, that’s not all the company has to offer. IBM offers development courses targeted to increase and retain the number of women on track to obtaining executive positions and seeks to develop the pipeline of women technical leaders by attracting mid-career professional women back to a technical career path, both inside and outside the company.
28. Dow Jones
In a letter to employees last year, Dow Jones CEO William Lewis said the publishing and financial information firm would take a more aggressive approach to ensuring a more diverse candidate pool for job openings. He also said the company was seeking to close existing pay gaps between men and women. Dow Jones is known to offer generous adoption assistance and the option to transfer to part-time following maternity leave. Dow Jones has a formal Work Anywhere policy where many employees can opt to work remotely, making it convenient for working moms.
29. Liberty Mutual Group
The insurance group has diversity and inclusion efforts to cultivate a varied workforce. Employee resource group WE@Liberty + Allies aims to empower women and engage men to create a culture of open communication and inclusiveness.
Like Accenture, Intel is focusing on achieving full representation of both women and underrepresented minorities in its U.S. workforce by 2020. In the meantime, the manufacturing and technology company has added programs to help its employees feel nurtured. Based on the Lean In mentoring framework, Intel’s Pay It Forward program is a group mentoring initiative focused on handing down relevant information from our senior leaders who have already benefitted from mentoring experiences and are now willing to “pay it forward” to 1,400 mentees, according to the company. Intel also offers a protégé program for professional development, internal communities for mentorship and sponsorship, and a first-of-its kind event called the I3 Leadership Symposium to drive inclusion and strengthen connections between senior women, senior underrepresented minority employees, male allies and diversity leaders.
Intel also offers flexible scheduling to help all employees feel supported in maintaining healthy work-life balance. The company provides maternity leave as part of its short-term disability coverage, where qualifying employees can get up to 26 weeks, with the Intel Bonding Leave of eight weeks provided as an additional option for both male and female employees. Intel also removed the medical diagnosis requirement for fertility benefits, making conception services available to all employees, including same-sex couples.
As many as tens of millions of women may never return to the labor force, even after a vaccine is found. Altogether, global gross domestic product could be $1 trillion less in 2030 than it would be without a gender unemployment gap.
By Olivia Rockeman, Reade Pickert and Catarina Saraiva