Career

More Than Perks: 20 Seattle Companies With the Best Benefits

Finding a good place to work is about more than a competitive salary and a fancy office space with plenty of free snacks (though those are all great things to look for). When women are searching for a new job at a company that can serve them and their careers, they need to consider the long game. What kind of opportunity is available on day one as well as day 1,000? How do the benefits serve their lifestyle? How many women are in executive positions already, and does the pipeline seem to be open for more?

These 20 Seattle companies are good for women because of their commitment to inclusion and equality through these benefits:

  • Opportunity: Whether it’s an hourly retail job or a salaried position, these companies have shown that they are willing to hire, retain and promote women from diverse backgrounds. This can include expanding the hiring pipeline to include former convicts, women with disabilities, women without college degrees, and women with non-linear career paths.
  • Salary: Many of these companies’ CEOs have spoken out in favor of increasing the minimum wage. They have also put into practice policies that help women reach pay equity, such as wage transparency, automatic raises and increasing women in leadership positions. 
  • Family leave: All of these companies offer paid parental leave, in addition to paid maternity leave. Creating a culture where men and women take time off to care and bond with their children is important to creating equality at home, as well as in the workplace. Many of these companies also offer paid family leave for other reasons, such as taking care of an ill parent.
  • A seat at the table: Through flattened hierarchies and open communication, these companies put women’s voices at the front and center of their company culture.
  • Healthcare, retirement and vacation: These companies subsidize a majority or 100 percent of employees’ healthcare premiums and that of their family members, as well as offering 401k plans, even for part-time workers. They also all offer paid time off, including sick days, and the opportunity to work flexible schedules. 

Here are the best Seattle companies for working women:

1. Costco

Costco consistently ranks as one of the country’s best places to work. It focuses on the basics, with a minimum wage of $15 per hour. However, since the company has a graduated wage program, with automatic raises based on number of hours worked, the average hourly worker makes about $22.50 per hour, with long-time employees making in the mid-$40s to $50 per hour. Working at Costco is a stable job, and it pays time-and-a-half on Sundays. They also offer comprehensive and affordable health care, with dental and vision, for all workers, including those who work part-time.

2. Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream

Molly Moon Neitzel founded this local ice cream chain with eight stores in the area. Neitzel has been committed from the start to pay equity and progressive values. In 2019, on April 2, Equal Pay Day, Neitzel introduced pay transparency, letting everyone in the company see the pay of all other employees, from an ice cream scooper to Neitzel herself. The company has unusual benefits for food service — fully-paid health, dental and vision insurance premiums; 12 weeks paid leave for men and women who are bringing children home through birth, fostering or adoption; and up to 70% paid leave for 12 weeks for other FMLA qualifying events.

3. Starbucks

In 2018, Starbucks introduced sick leave for hourly employees, bolstering its benefits package. Starbucks employees, even part-time hourly workers, already qualified for medical benefits and paid vacation hours. The company offers matching 401k contributions, Starbucks stock and free tuition to Arizona State’s online programs for all workers — a rarity in the retail landscape. For hourly employees, fathers are now eligible for six weeks of paid parental leave, matching the maternity leave policy. For salaried employees, new mothers receive 18 weeks of paid leave, while other parents receive 12 weeks of paid leave.

4. MOD Pizza

Headquartered in Bellevue, this fast-growing pizza franchise is notable for its commitment to diverse hiring practices. MOD Pizza not only hires formerly incarcerated employees, but the company also takes initiative by working with organizations like Pioneer Human Services, which helps people coming out of prison or recovery transition to the working world. These ex-convicts have not only thrived at MOD Pizza; some have been promoted to managerial positions. The company also actively hires non-neurotypical employees, including those with autism and Down’s Syndrome. Plus, half of the company’s employees are women.

5. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

The Gates Foundation has a very strong benefits package for its employees. The premium for comprehensive health, dental and vision insurance is 100% covered by the foundation: This benefit is also extended to spouses, domestic partners and dependent children. In 2019, the company halved its newsworthy 52-week parental paid leave to six months, but added a $20,000 stipend to help with childcare costs. The company offers unlimited paid time off, flexible schedule options and reimbursement for adoption costs (up to $20,000), and encourages volunteer work from its employees.

6. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Founded by Paul Allen, the Allen Institute conducts AI research. The institute is committed to diversity, including encouraging applications from women, non-binary individuals, people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and people with disabilities of any kind. The institute partners with and hires from the Ada Developer Academy, a tuition-free coding school for women. In addition, the institute has a number of short-term programs, including the AI Incubator program, which helps entrepreneurs develop an AI business over the course of a year. Successful graduates from AI Incubator include Blue Canoe Learning, created by Sarah Daniels and Tony Andrews, which was the 2019 winner of Qualcomm Ventures’ Female Founder of the Year Summit.

7. Adler Giersch

Adler Giersch is one of the smallest companies on the list: It’s a personal injury law firm with five lawyers and a total staff of 19. The company is consistently voted as one of the best places to work in Seattle, due to its commitment to supporting its employees and its clients.

Notably, the firm represented Zachery Lystedt, a football player who suffered a catastrophic brain injury, which led to the Lystedt Law in 2006, mandating that youth athletes who suffer a concussion must be removed from the game. The staff also volunteer their time at numerous local organizations, including the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington Legal Clinics. Last year, the entire staff gave all five partners performance reviews, emphasizing the lack of hierarchy at Adler Giersch. 

8. Getty Images

Getty Images is the world’s largest stock photography supplier. As a result, the company shapes the media’s depiction of women through an often-overlooked channel. In 2014, the company collaborated with LeanIn.org to offer more-diverse images of working women. In 2019, the company started Project #Showus with Dove and creative agency Girlgaze. It’s a library of 5,000 new images of women from 39 countries. Under the direction of Rebecca Swift, creative insights director, the company has worked hard to change how women are depicted in media. Getty also offers work-from-home flexibility, paid time off and fully-paid healthcare premiums for employees.

9. Olympia Federal Savings

Lori Drummond, president and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings, started as a receptionist in 1984, eventually rising to CEO in 2008. Women hold 16 out of 25 of management positions at Olympia Federal Savings. Like Drummond, a number of employees have stayed with the company for more than 20 or 30 years, a testimony to the supportive and collegial atmosphere at the company. With a strong benefits package, the company also pays for each employee to volunteer two days a year at local causes.

10. Zillow

Achieving nearly gender parity, 42% of Zillow’s employees are women and 36% of its leadership is women. On average, Zillow’s women employees make $1.01 for every dollar a man makes in a comparable role. The company has partnerships with a number of diverse organizations for hiring, including historically black colleges and universities and Lesbians Who Tech.

In addition to 16 weeks paid maternity leave or eight weeks paid parental leave, the company also pays for free breastmilk shipping and offers nursing mother rooms. Employees can take a “Relax and Reboot” sabbatical (three weeks paid, three weeks unpaid) after working at Zillow for six years. Some parents have taken the sabbatical the summer before their child heads to college — a way to continue the work-life balance even as children grow.

11. PeopleFirm

M. Tamra Chandler founded PeopleFirm, an HR consultancy. It is the 35th largest woman-owned firm in Washington State. As is fitting for a firm specializing in improving work culture, PeopleFirm’s employees (65% of whom are women) love working for the company.

The company does not use a traditional corporate hierarchy, instead developing the company culture around a “Lily Pad Career Development Model.” The idea is that employees can hop from one job in the company to another — PeopleFirm considers the roles at the company a lattice, rather than a ladder. 

12. WE Communications

This woman-owned global PR firm is headed by founder and CEO Melissa Waggener Zorkin. 72% of employees are women. The company acknowledges that different employees may have different needs and a true work-life balance accommodates a diversity of family structures. In addition to parental leave, the company also provides paid caregiver leave for employees who need time off to care for elderly parents or other ill family members. The company also supports paid time off to pursue volunteer opportunities, as well as a variety of flexible schedules including telecommuting and working from home. In addition, the company’s healthcare benefits include benefits for transgender employees, as well as fertility benefits that fit the needs of both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.

13. Accolade

Accolade is a company that helps employers navigate healthcare solutions. The company offers fully-paid healthcare insurance premiums, as well as a fully-funded HSA. And in addition to nine weeks of maternity leave for birth moms, the company also offers nine weeks of bonding time that birth moms can take in addition to maternity leave. Nine weeks of paid parental leave are also available to fathers, partners or adoptive parents. New parents also can have four weeks to transition back to work, by working part-time or other flexible schedules.

14. Edifecs

Edifecs, a healthcare software company, has a strong benefits package, including five weeks of paid vacation from day one. The compensation is competitive — the median salary is $133,816. Edifecs offers flexible work schedules and telecommuting options. And for those who work in the Bellevue headquarters, there’s an on-site wellness center with yoga classes, fresh-squeezed juice, bikes for commuting and more. The company also sponsors the #WhatIRun campaign, started by Janet Hohmann, Edifec’s senior director of communications, which helps elevate the visibility of women in healthcare and STEM.

15. Convoy

Convoy, a company bringing trucking, shipping and freight into the digital age, is working to be a leader for gender equality in two male-dominated environments (tech and trucking). Chief sales officer Melissa McCann-Tilton and VP of operations Kristen Forecki are two of the women in the company’s upper echelons who serve as mentors. Convoy is also committed to easing the return-to-work process for new mothers, with mother’s rooms on each floor, outfitted with medical-grade breast pumps, as well as paying for traveling nursing mothers to ship breastmilk home.

16. Gravity Payments

Back in 2015, CEO Dan Price made headlines for his announcement that Gravity Payments would provide a $70,000 minimum annual salary for all employees. The policy, which was gradually phased in, has significantly changed the lives of his employees. In the year after the policy was announced, there was a Gravity office baby boom — instead of one or two employees expecting new babies, ten employees welcomed new babies. Many employees moved closer to the office, decreasing their commute time and improving their quality of life. And the decision helped profits as well, which nearly doubled from $3.5 million to $6.5 million from 2014 to 2015.

17. Outreach

Two out of five executive leaders at Outreach, a sales software company, are women: COO Anna Baird and the chief marketing officer Margaret Arakawa. The company’s parental policies were developed with the goal of attracting and retaining women employees. New mothers receive two weeks of paid leave before delivery and 10 weeks after birth. Fathers receive four weeks of paid leave. During the first eight weeks of returning to work, the office allows for flexible work schedules, including working from home, and pays for the cost of a night nurse Monday through Friday and dinner delivery twice a week.

18. Limeade

A company focused on improving the employee experience, Limeade tries to live its philosophy in its company benefits. 51% of the company’s employees are women and 52% of the employees are parents. The company gives four weeks PTO and 30% work remotely. Limeade gives the same amount of paid parental leave, eight weeks, to both mothers and fathers. The company also has supports LGBTQ+ employees and people of color. The culture is to focus on the “whole employee,” including personal and professional development.

19. Payscale

Payscale, a compensation technology company, has, unsurprisingly, robust benefits as part of their compensation for employees. The company pays 100% of medical, dental, vision and prescription premiums, as well as offering unlimited paid time off. The company offers a fairly standard 12 weeks of maternity leave, but it does offer seven weeks of paternity leave, as well as immediate vesting for 401k match. There is a dedicated mother’s room. There are some unusual perks as well, including “Fido Fridays,” or bring-your-dog-to-work days on the first Friday of every month. 

20. Expedia 

Expedia’s new waterfront headquarters just opened for the company’s 4,500 Seattle-area employees. The company emphasizes downtime, with a use-it-or-lose-it policy for employees’ three weeks of PTO, encouraging employees to make full use of their vacation and an annual vacation stipend of $250. (At five years, employees get four weeks of PTO and $500, and after seven years, five weeks of PTO and $750). Expedia encourages employees to craft out-of-office emails so that they will truly be off of work while away. The company also has a solid parental leave policy, with birth mothers receiving 18 weeks of paid leave and fathers and adoptive parents receiving 12 weeks of paid leave. 

Claire Lui is a design, business and culture writer.