Business

'Perks are epic' at SAS

Posted January 20, 2011 6:58 a.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2011 6:49 p.m. EST

— SAS is the best company to work for – again.

Fortune magazine puts SAS at No. 1 on its "100 Best Companies To Work For" list in a repeat of an honor bestowed on the Cary-based company last year.

"This year, strong employee feedback sent its numbers even higher," the magazine said in its report, which was issued Thursday.

Employee Ashley Prince said she loves the on-site pre-school and health care offered by SAS. She said she can have lunch with her son and take him for a quick check-up if he's not feeling well without missing much work.

"I’ve been here for nine years. I’ve spent almost my entire career here," Prince said. "They definitely want to compensate people, and the benefits – that’s an added something they do on top.”

SAS had made the list of top workplaces in each of the 14 years Fortune has compiled it. As Prince noted, the privately held company's many benefits being among the reasons.

"Its perks are epic," Fortune wrote, listing unlimited sick days, childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning and beauty salon.

"It’s all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison," the magazine wrote.

Gale Adcock, SAS' director of corporate health services, said providing employees easy access to medical care for them and their families allows them to focus on their work.

"You can leave you office and come right to us on campus and come here for 15 minutes and be back in your office within 30 minutes," Adcock said.

Jim Goodnight, chief executive officer and co-founder of SAS, takes great pride in the company's work force, calling them "the lifeline of our success."

"You have two choices," he said. "You can spend money on employees or headhunters and training, and it's about the same amount of money. So why not spend it on the employees?"

SAS on Thursday reported a record $2.43 billion in sales last year, up more than 5 percent from 2009.

The company boasts that its employee turnover rate is 2.6 percent, compared with the software industry norm of 22 percent. It employs about 11,500 people worldwide, including 4,600 on its 21-building campus in Cary.

Goodnight said SAS plans to hire about 300 people this year.

The Fortune report is compiled in partnership with the Great Place to Work Institute, which conducts work force surveys. More than 300 companies participated this year.

Two thirds of a company's ranking is based on the employee survey.

The remaining third is based on company data provided to the Great Place to Work Institute's Culture Audit.

Two other companies with presences in the Triangle made the top 10.

NetApp, which operates a major campus in Research Triangle Park, placed fifth. Google, which has a software operation in Chapel Hill and maintains a huge data center in Lenoir, placed fourth.

Cisco Systems, one of the world's biggest networking companies, which has about 3,400 workers in the Triangle, ranked 20th. Biotechnology company NovoNordisk, which has workers in Clayton and Morrisville, ranked 47th.

The top 10 companies:

1. SAS
2. Boston Consulting Group
3. Wegmans Food Markets
4. Google
5. NetApp
6. Zappos.com
7. Camden Property Trust
8. Nugget Market
9. REI
10. Dreamworks