While Facebook has endured its fair share of criticism over the past year, there seems to be at least one group of people firmly in the company's corner: its employees.
Facebook was ranked not only the top tech firm for employees in 2012, but also the top firm in any sector, according to job discussion community Glassdoor's annual list of the "50 Best Places to Work." Facebook's current seat at the top is a small leap up from last year, when it placed third on the list of most desirable employers in the U.S.
To generate its list of the 50 most employee-friendly U.S. firms, Glassdoor collected surveys submitted voluntarily by workers. Respondents rated companies on a five-point scale in various areas, including career opportunities, work-life balance and compensation. Facebook got its No. 1 spot with an average score of 4.7, up from 4.3 in 2011 and 4.6 in 2010. That put it above several other tech outfits famously beloved by their workers, including Google (4.3) and LinkedIn (4.1).
To boot, co-founder Mark Zuckerberg had a near-perfect approval rating. A whopping 99 percent of employees approved of him, certainly making him the envy of less-loved corporate chieftains like Mark Pincus (54 percent), who runs Facebook's gaming partner Zynga, or Microsoft's Steve Ballmer (46 percent). Even Google's Larry Page (94 percent) or Apple's Tim Cook (93 percent) don't get that kind of affection.
That Facebook employees are happy shouldn't be surprising. In October, five months after the company's initial public offering, employees could finally begin selling restricted shares after years owning them. Not to mention, the images we've seen of Facebook's high-end offices and the incredible perks it offers employees ought to make long workdays more enjoyable. And comments left in Glassdoor's survey suggest that Zuckerberg is "a very cool CEO," as one put it, who challenges employees.
"The employees continue to stand by Mark Zuckerberg and the hacker culture there," Glassdoor community manager Scott Dobroski said over the phone.
But one does wonder how the company's rocky IPO affected workers' psyches. Glassdoor's scores are based on surveys taken over the course of 12 months, from November 2011 and November 2012. Since Facebook shares began public trading in May, the company has fallen 27 percent in value, based on Wednesday's closing price. By August, it had shed half its worth before rebounding.
All that happened in the midst of Glassdoor's polling period. Data doesn't seem indicate a dip in employee morale, if one occurred, as the stock price sank. In August, Zuckerberg was compelled to hold a rally-the-troops meeting; he told employees "that the press doesn't know the company's future plans, and if they did, they would have the same faith in Facebook's ability to fulfill its lofty stock-market valuation," as the Wall Street Journal paraphrased.
If employees ever had their doubts about the social network and its leadership, those doubts don't seem to show.