Top 5 Best Retail Workplaces for Women

We can all probably think of multiple attributes of what makes a great workplace, but there are distinct features or combinations of people that make a workplace particularly well suited for women. What are those features and where can they be found? Fortune set about to find out with its Best Workplaces for Women survey, which it conducts with research partner Great Place to Work.

The survey measures the extent to which women report their organizations create a Great Place to Work For All — for example, whether people trust each other and employees are able to reach their full human potential, no matter who they are or what they do. Fortune analyzed whether different identities women hold change their experience of the workplace, analyzing those patterns relative to each organization’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. It also considered employees’ daily experiences of innovation, the company’s values, and the effectiveness of their leaders, to ensure that they are consistently experienced.

The survey analyzed feedback representing more than 4.6 million U.S. employees, and the final report included the 75 companies that represent the best large workplaces for women. We’ve highlighted the top 5 retailers out of the group below.

The majority of the ranking is based on what women themselves report in a 60-question Trust Index© survey about their workplace, and how fairly those experiences compare to men’s reports of the same workplaces.

Fifteen percent of the remaining rank is based on how well represented women are in the workforce and throughout management, taking into account industry trends. To be considered, at a minimum, companies need to employ at least 50 women, at least 20% of their non-executive managers need to be female, and at least one of their executives needs to be female.

  1. Wegman’s: (No. 3) If working at Wegman’s is anywhere nearly as delightful and delicious as shopping at Wegman’s, it’s got to be good, and it must be to have clinched the No. 3 ranking in Fortune’s overall survey. The $8.7 billion grocery chain, whose workforce of almost 48,000 is 54% female (27% in executive roles), has been in business for more than 100 years, pursuing its mission to help people live healthier, better lives through food. How do you know it’s a good place to work? Fourteen percent of Wegman’s employees have been there for 16 or more years, 96% of employees identify management as honest and ethical in its business practices, and 96% say they are given the resources and equipment they need to do their jobs.
  2. Publix Super Markets Inc.: (No. 11) Everyone knows you should put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others, and that’s an analogy that works across multiple events and professions. This southeastern grocery store chain based in Lakeland, Fla., must have that philosophy down well, as its store associates are always friendly and willing and never fail to greet customers and offer help, wherever they are on the retail floor. Known for its inclusive hiring policies and great customer service, the $34 million business that employs more than 193,000, 49% of which are women, invests heavily in its employees, providing the training they need to advance in the company. Ninety-three percent of employees say they feel good about the ways they contribute to the company, and 88% say it’s a great place to work.  
  3. Burlington Stores Inc. (No. 39) A full 75% of the more than 35,000 employees at this $6 billion, Burlington, N.J. clothing retailer are women, one of whom says that the company hires because of your potential. “They don’t care what preference you have in your personal life, or gender, or nationality. They recognize you as a good employee and encourage you to keep growing with the company.” Indeed, 87% of employees say, “I can be myself around here.” That’s transformative, but that’s not surprising from a company that started out as The Burlington Coat Company selling just outerwear and has transformed itself into a value department store retailer, selling a wide array of clothing for men, women, children and babies as well as a wide range of other merchandise.
  4. Sheetz (No. 58) The $6.5 billion convenience store retailer encourages its more than 16,000 employees — 63% of which are women, including 10% in executive roles — to be active participants in the communities in which it operates. They do that in a variety of ways, including through organizations such as the Special Olympics, youth sports groups and For the Kidz, a foundation Sheetz started for needy children. So it’s no surprise that 92% of employees say they feel good about the ways they contribute to their communities, or that 88% say Sheetz is a great place to work.
  5. Cumberland Farms Inc. (No. 73) The other convenience store chain on the list, the Westborough, Mass., retailer celebrates its 80th anniversary in business this year. The company employs more than 8700 and operates more than 575 stores in eight states with a mission to deliver the friendliest, cleanest and most convenient guest experience by first focusing on being the best place to work for its employees, 58% of whom are women. So it makes sense that 92% of employees say that customers would rate the service they deliver as ‘excellent.’ Another feather in its cap: a full 90% of employees say they are treated as a full member of the organization, regardless of their position.