Engineers aren’t just flocking to Facebook for a potential blockbuster IPO payout — apparently the social network is also a great place to work. Glassdoor.com announced that Facebook is debuting at the top of its third-annual list of 50 best places to work, beating out last year’s No. 1, Southwest Airlines. Technology rivals Apple (s aapl) (#20) and Google (s goog) (#30) are further back in the pack along with Adobe (s adbe) (#39), Salesforce.com (s crm) (#41) and Intel s (s intc) (#45.)
Meanwhile, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, fresh off his relatively polished 60 Minutes interview, got a 96-percent approval rating from his employees, better to or equal than all but four CEOs — including Steve Jobs, who got a 97-percent rating. The recognition by Glassdoor, a job-seeker and career community, suggests that Facebook is not only firing on all cylinders but also keeping its employees happy. How much of that is tied to an eventual stock payoff is hard to say, now that the company is worth more than $50 billion by one measure. But it seems as though there are many reasons why Facebook is luring so many top engineers away from local tech companies, not just the promise of money.
Facebook earned a 4.6 rating out of 5 points, which is derived from employee surveys on eight categories: work/life balance, career opportunities, communication, compensation and benefits, fairness and respect, employee morale, recognition and feedback, and senior leadership. Facebook’s appetite for workers, especially employees from rival Google, has been fodder for tech pundits, especially after Google reportedly offered $3.5 million to keep an employee from switching sides. Om wrote about the issue back in October when Lars Rasmussen, the co-creator of Google Maps and Google Wave jumped to Facebook. Om wondered if Google had grown so big, it was getting hard to get things done, something Facebook with its smaller staff didn’t have to deal with as much.
A thread on the question-and-answer site Quora about which is better to work for brought a response from Facebook engineer David Braginsky, also an ex-Google employee. Braginsky said Google is technology driven and capable of using its size to tackle big problems, but he praised Facebook for being a cozier and more casual place, where workers can have more of an impact. Whether Facebook or its CEO can remain as popular with workers as the company grows up is an open question — but for now, the company is proving again that it is the darling of Silicon Valley.
A companion report on 2010 tech company ratings also yielded some interesting results, particularly about CEOs. Carol Bartz, the embattled head of Yahoo (s yhoo) , got a 56-percent approval rating, better than Jerry Yang’s 34 percent when he stepped down. Microsoft’s (s msft) Steve Ballmer and Michael Dell (s dell) got 49 and 51 percent respectively. EBay’s (s ebay) John Donahoe received a 30 percent rating while Level 3 Communication’s (s lvlt) CEO Jim Crowe got a 22 percent.
At the high end, Steve Jobs led the way with 97 percent, ahead of Zuckerberg and Google’s Eric Schmidt, both tied for 96 percent. Salesforce’s Mark Benioff earned a 91 percent while Paul Otellini of Intel got 84 percent. And Oracle’s (s orcl) Larry Ellison got a 78-percent rating.
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