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For working moms, here's where it pays to work

If you’re looking for some work/life balance, you might want to consider a career in professional services.

Working Mother magazine on Thursday named its best companies to work for in 2011. The top 10 list includes big names in accounting and professional services: KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PWC.

But, in a sign of how things can change in the current economy, Bank of America also was among the top 10.  The banking giant this week announced plans to lay off 30,000 workers over the next few years. That’s on top of the estimated 6,000 people who have already been cut from the big bank’s payrolls.

Carol Evans, president of Working Mother Media, said the magazine does take layoffs into account when formulating its list. But she said the companies had to submit their data for this year’s list months ago, before the Bank of America layoffs were announced.

That means the announcement could potentially impact the company’s rating in 2012, she said.

The job cuts, which amount to about 10 percent of Bank of America’s workforce, mark the biggest layoff announcement by a U.S. company so far this year, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Bank of America isn’t the only company in flux to make the list. Merck, which also has announced plans to cut thousands of workers over the next few years, also was among the top 100 companies.

Of course, in the current economic malaise it’s no surprise that even top-ranking companies would be making cutbacks. Evans said Working Mother has generally continued to see improvement in the types of perks and benefits top companies offer for working mothers.

Still, she said some benefits have been scaled back, such as adoption assistance and lactation counseling, and they could see more cutbacks as the economic weakness continues to drag on.

She sees the hallmarks of family-friendly companies, such as flex time and work-at-home options, as a way to hold onto employees even as they are being asked to do more work.

“In this economy every company wants to get more out of each of these employees,” Evans said. “The programs we have have been proven to increase productivity.”

The list focuses on companies with 500 employees are more. Companies are asked to submit answers to more than 650 questions and the results are then ranked by a points system. Some big companies do not appear on the list because they don’t apply to be ranked, she said. 


The top 10 companies on the list are, in alphabetical order:

  • Bank of America
  • Deloitte
  • Discovery Communications
  • Ernst & Young
  • General Mills
  • KPMG
  • Prudential Financial
  • PwC
  • TriHealth
  • Wellstar