Seattle has a strong economy built by diverse industries. Long known in the field of aerospace because of Boeing, Seattle is now the home of numerous tech companies as well as Starbucks and Amazon. Forbes Magazine listed Seattle as the best city for real estate investment, based on the strong job market and stable employers. The headquarters of Microsoft has brought other tech firms to the area, such as Google and RealNetworks. Costco, rated one of the best employers has its headquarters here as does T-Mobile, Nintendo and Nordstroms. With many top employers to choose from, the Seattle job seeker has many options.
Starbucks made Fortune Magazine's list of best companies to work for in 2008 (at #7) because of its benefits package and corporate culture. Even part-time employees are eligible for full benefits. Their mission statement is to "provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity."
Google topped Fortune's list of best companies in 2008. It is famous for its lavish benefits. From on-site medical, car washes and laundry, to the free food in the cafeteria, Google finds that keeping their employees happy and on-site makes them more productive. Seattle Google is not the headquarters, but they have a large presence in Seattle. They offer stock options to 99% of their employees. The encourage their employees to have fun and change the world.
Nordstroms, long known for its excellent customer service, also made Forbes's list. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store for gold miners, Nordstroms now has a nationwide chain and is on the cutting edge of men's and women's fashion.
Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods is headquartered in Austin Texas, but they are expanding numerous new stores in the metropolitan Seattle area. They subsidize gym membership for their health-minded employees. Their motto "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet" describes the interest that they have in supporting health for their customers and their staff.
The Microsoft campus takes up over 5 million square feet of office space and created over 3,000 new jobs last year. Their companies vision is "A PC on every desk and in every home." They offer many college internships and financial incentives. Microsoft benefits include adoption assistance, tuition assistance, and financial planning along with a 401(k) plan.
Costco salaries are 42% higher than its rivals, and their health plan is extensive. They offer on-site childcare. Costco was named one of the top three companies to work for in the state of Washington by Washington CEO Magazine.
Premera Blue Cross
Premera was named Best Healthcare Employer by the Seattle Times for two years in a row. Employees comment that they feel cared about and appreciate the companies flexible schedules. The company is one of the best as giving back to the community. Premera has been recognized as a Start! Fit Friendly Company by the American Heart Association for promoting a culture of health in the workplace
Recreational Equipment Coop has long been one of the best employers. And voted 100 Best Companies to Work For, for eleven years. Created in 1938, REI has grown to a consumer network of over two million. REI's passion for the outdoors leads to stewardship as well as environmental education. Most of their jobs (80%) are in their numerous retail stores.
What makes a great employer is one that is the best fit for you, where your work is appreciated and meaningful and where your work is enjoyable. Corporate cultures vary as much as individuals but all of the above companies are sensitive to their employees and offer numerous benefits and perks. To find the best fit for yourself, visit the campus and talk to other employees, if you can. Don't limit yourself to the larger companies as some people enjoy working in a smaller community. Seattle's corporate companies offer varied jobs in numerous fields. With the local job market expected to continue to grow, these local companies will continue to offer the benefits of their corporate culture to those new job seekers.