What are the characteristics of a good employer? Do they need to provide a competitive compensation plan and salary? Should the company offer development programs and dynamic training? Forbes partnered with Statista and surveyed over 150,000 executives and professionals for the current list of Best Employers to find out what employees value in companies. A wide variety of characteristics were proposed to respondents, who rated how vital that area was to them in an employer. This data was analyzed and included in their list.

Executives and professionals rated the top five Best Employers: are Samsung Group, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, and Apple. Alphabet, Dell Technologies, Huawei, Adobe, and BMW Group complete the top ten companies. The report also revealed many similarities between the predominant generations in the workforce. Baby boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials all selected Samsung Group as their top Best Employer. IBM, Microsoft, and Amazon were included in each group’s ranking of the top five companies. When it comes to specific characteristics, securing a competitive salary, having access to quality health benefits, and having the opportunity to do meaningful and exciting work were the most important. Here are some differences in generational priorities and characteristics of a good employer.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers place more emphasis than other generations on employers providing interesting and meaningful work and maintaining a good reputation. They didn’t seem interested in career advancement and promotional opportunities as younger generations. We can deduce that this is because they are more established in their careers and probably work at higher levels within their companies. 74% of boomers believed team dynamics were necessary, and 70% indicated that company culture was influential. However, when comparing those aspects to best employers, only 50% of baby boomers consider that to be a strength of Best Employers organizations.


Gen-Xers tend to share some preferences with Baby Boomers and Millennials regarding employment. Opportunities for promotions and career advancement are essential to Gen-Xers and Millennials, which could be seen as being in their primary earning years. 78% of Gen-Xers said that health benefits are imperative (the same percentage as boomers), but only 56% think this is a characteristic of a good employer. Many Gen-Xers are caring for older relatives and raising families so that health benefits could be a natural priority. 71% of Gen-Xers said that benefits towards retirement were significant, a higher percentage than other groups.


Millennials ranked having promotion opportunities higher than other generations, with 81% saying it was necessary. This is probably due to high student loan debt prevalent within the generation and their younger age. Despite the desire for internal advancement, only 49% of Millennials view this as a characteristic of a good employer. As a generation, Millennials also valued training and development programs, with 69% indicating their importance. In contrast, only 45% of Millennials think top organizations have these programs in place.

As executives and professionals describe, the 2021 Best Employer Report lists the most desirable organizations to work for. There were many differences and similarities highlighted among generations. Surprisingly, all generations ranked Samsung Group as their Best Employer based on various characteristics. The same four of the top five companies ranked among baby boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials. Differing preferences regarding the importance of certain aspects between generations can be attributed to the stage of career and life. There were also significant disparities between the importance of certain factors and those same factors being seen as characteristics of a good employer. What is the biggest difference you’ve noticed between generations at work? 


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Porschia Parker-Griffin

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Professional Coach, Business Consultant, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. When she is not coaching, Porschia enjoys traveling, cooking, and working with animals.
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