IBM Takes Special Place in Working Mother’s List

Working Mother Magazine’s annual listing of good employers for mothers, which honors 100 companies, is celebrating its 25th year. This year four of the top-10 companies were accounting and auditing firms. IBM received a double honor.

(WOMENSENEWS)–Four of the top-10 companies on Working Mother Magazine’s annual listing of good employers for mothers were accounting and auditing firms: Deloitte, Ernst and Young, KPMG LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The other top-10 winners were University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, WellStar Health System, Bank of America, Discovery Communications, General Mills and IBM Corporation.

The list, which honors 100 companies in all, is celebrating its 25th year.

IBM, the office-services giant with headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., won the double honor of being on this year’s top-10 list and being included in the list of 100 best companies for every year since the start of the list.

Only one other company–Johnson and Johnson, the New Brunswick, N.J., maker of international consumer-health products and pharmaceuticals–has been included in the list every year. IBM and Johnson and Johnson are also routinely cited by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as companies that are friendly to female contractors.

The magazine’s list came under scrutiny earlier this year for its selection process after a federal jury in New York reached a verdict requiring Novartis Pharmaceuticals to pay $3.36 million to 12 former female sales representatives for discrimination in pay and promotions. Novartis had been on the magazine’s top 100 list for the past 10 years but did not make it this year.

The New York federal jury decided in May that the company showed a pattern of discrimination against female employees from 2002 through 2007, after a five-week trial and four days of deliberation. In July, the company settled the case for up to $152 million covering claims made by more than 5,000 women.

Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, explained in a press statement released at the time of the jury verdict that the lawsuit had not barred Novartis from annually appearing in its list of 100 best companies because the “magazine had a different role than the court system.”

She said the magazine’s award was based on programs that Novartis had in place to support working mothers, such as flex-time, telecommuting and paid maternity leave.
‘Working Moms Come a Long Way’

With 70 percent of mothers working–and women outnumbering men in the workplace for the first time in U.S. history–“working moms have come a long way,” Working Mother said in a press statement with the release of this latest list. At the same time, however, the New York-based magazine noted that while companies on its list continue expanding their benefits, that’s not the case at companies nationwide.

All 100 companies on its list offer employees the chance to telecommute but that’s only true of 44 percent of companies nationwide.

Flex time–which gives workers the chance to arrange their own work hours–has fallen in the past year to 49 percent of employers from 54 percent a year earlier.

While 95 percent of the list’s companies offer formal mentoring, that figure shrinks to 17 percent nationwide.

All 100 of the companies cited by Working Mother offer health insurance to part-time workers compared to a national figure of 37 percent.

The companies listed also all offer paid maternity leave, lactation rooms, flex time, mental health consultations and elder-care resources; 98 percent offer health screening and wellness programs, which may be particularly significant in a stress-inducing, poor economy.

In the past 25 years, Working Mother has tracked the following improvements among companies on its list:

Six to 14 weeks of maternity leave at full pay, with pre-maternity leaves and new-mom phase-back versus just six weeks of partially-paid maternity leave 25 years ago.

Seventy-five percent of its winners offer paternity leave versus 4 percent 25 years ago.

Ninety-nine of its companies offer a range of child care services, including backup child care, sick child care, before- and after-school care and summer camps for kids. By contrast only seven of its companies offered on-site child care 25 years ago.

Sixty-three percent of the list’s companies provide fully-staffed medical centers; 78 percent provide fitness centers; and 80 percent offer exercise classes. Twenty five years ago some companies offered only stress-reduction programs.
‘Dramatic Change in America’s Mindset’

“There’s been a dramatic change in America’s mindset,” said Suzanne Riss, editor in chief of Working Mother, said in the statement.

Women with children no longer avoid talking about them for fear of being “mommy tracked” as they did in the mid-1980s.

“Today, moms have photos of their kids on their desks because companies recognize that moms make high-achieving, loyal and ambitious employees. What’s more, other employee groups–including dads and people with aging parents–have benefited from the policies promoted by the 100 Best,” added Riss.

Profiles of the 100 Best Companies, as well as national comparisons, are in the October issue of Working Mother, available at

Companies were selected based on an application form with more than 600 questions on work force, compensation, child care, flexibility programs, leave policies and more. The magazine says it also surveys the usage, availability and tracking of programs, as well as the accountability of managers who oversee them. The magazine said that this year particular weight was given to benefits, flexibility and parental leave.

— Staff of Women’s eNews