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Which Industries are Best for Your Career and Your Family?

which industries are best

When you’re starting out, it’s about getting a job, preferably one related to the degree you just earned.

We all just want a gig in our field, a salary we can live on—and oh yeah, maybe a few basic benefits, too.

A few years in, however, that quiet approach to career and life grows into a melody that includes a desire for paid time off, workplace flexibility, mentoring, and maybe even tuition reimbursement to advance your skills.

And then the symphony really gets going as your world gets even more complicated, bringing with it a need for paid leave, child care, the opportunity to advance and—eventually—career flexibility.

Also read: 4 Things You Need to Consider to Uncover Your Dream Job in a New Field

Knowing that your needs will expand beyond the post-college pay-your-bills level, what fields are best for a young person looking for long-term satisfaction and opportunity? Working Mother 100 Best Companies has the answer—and a list of best benefits offered across 15 industries. For 31 years, we’ve asked companies to compete on hundreds of metrics designed to serve not only working mothers, but all employees. To that end, some industries have risen to the occasion higher than others.

Here’s what you need to know to make the best choice for your career and family.

  • Need a career that comes with flexibility?

Every Working Mother 100 Best Company offers some form of work flexibility. However, professional services, management consulting and accounting firms report the highest use of flextime (93 percent) and telecommuting (83 percent) among the 15 industries represented by the Best Companies. (Second place for flextime use goes to pharmaceutical as well as science, technology, engineering, aerospace and medical device industries; the science sector ranks second for use of telecommuting as well.) Also notable: hospitals/healthcare, insurance and consumer products companies each report that every manager is trained on how to implement and manage flexible work.

Also read: How to Get a Job With Flexible Work Arrangements

  • Thinking of getting pregnant?

The average number of fully paid weeks of maternity leave offered across the 100 Best Companies is now nine, up from eight last year. Again, professional services firms lead the way, offering 11 weeks, on average, to new moms.

Also read: Before You Go: Maternity and Paternity Leave Checklist

  • Want to get ahead?

Among the Best Companies, the hospitals and healthcare sector employs the most women overall (71 percent), as well as in positions of manager and higher (57 percent). No surprise, then, that this sector also leads in the share of managers (91 percent) trained to advance women. In second place for most female employees at all levels is financial services (52 percent); for second-most female managers and executives it’s media, internet, and advertising (49 percent); and for managers trained, consumer products (86 percent) is the runner-up.

  • Need childcare help?

Every pharmaceutical and insurance company on the list offers a backup childcare option, while 91 percent of hospital/healthcare companies do. Meanwhile, across the Best Companies, 30 percent offer subsidized on-site childcare, while 17 percent offer subsidized near-site childcare.

So if you are considering a job change, or are thinking about your future, check out the full list of companies here to see what employee-friendly programs and policies each offers.

About the Author

Jennifer Owens is editor of Spring.St, the place for smart women. Formerly, she was editorial director of Working Mother magazine & founding director of the Working Mother Research Institute, home to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies and Best Companies for Multicultural Women, among other initiatives.