Best Private Colleges and Universites to Work For 2013

Private colleges and universities can vary greatly from institution to institution, and so can the values of their employees. This list attempts to give prospective employees a good idea of the types of universities that are out there — large, small, religious, secular — and what employees find appealing about each. We considered typical employment packages, working environment, and employee satisfaction.

#1. University of Pennsylvania


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Location: Philadelphia, PA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The University of Pennsylvania offers strong benefits, competitive pay, a collaborative environment with numerous faculty, staff, and researchers at the forefront of their field. The CEO has a 96% approval rating according to employees surveyed by Glassdoor, which is rare at universities with many opinionated faculty.

Notable Perks: The comprehensive health insurance benefits offered cover medical, prescription, behavioral health, dental, and vision.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Researchers earn an average of $43,000 per year, Research Associates earn an average of $50,000 per year, Assistant Professors earn $111,000 per year on average.

#2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology


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Location: Cambridge, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Good pay and strong benefits are two of the reasons why MIT employees have it good. However, the most common reason to work at MIT is the prestige of the university. This affords employees a chance to work with some of the top people in mathematics, engineering, and the sciences in the world.

Notable Perks: MIT is a large school that manages to maintain a close knit community. The school prioritizes the families of its faculty and staff. MIT offers employees top notch child care, backup child care, and referral services for elder care, making sure that the families of their employees are well looked after.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Associates earn $44,500 per year on average, the average salary for research scientists is $66,800 per year, the average assistant professor at MIT earns $108,200.

#3. Cornell University


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Location: Ithaca, NY


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Compensation goes a long way, especially when paired with the low cost of living afforded residents of Ithica, New York. Ivy league professors are often renowned in their field, and student employees, postdoc researchers and grad student employees are afforded very strong networking opportunities in addition to good pay and high caliber education.

Notable Perks: In addition to strong insurance benefits some interesting perks to Cornell faculty and staff are on campus banks with particularly good deals for faculty and staff, on campus dry cleaning facilities, and a meal plan designed specifically for Cornell faculty and staff.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Associates earn $41,000 per year on average, Research Associates earn an average of $49,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $95,500 per year.

#4. Brigham Young University


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Location: Provo, UT


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees appreciate the commitment to academic excellence, and tight knit community of scholars both of which encourage professional and personal growth. Out of 217 reviews on Glassdoor, the CEO has a 98% approval rating and 94% of employees would recommend BYU as a great place to work.

Notable Perks: The benefits package includes an extremely affordable and comprehensive insurance plan that includes Medical, Dental, Term Life, and Disability Insurance all rolled into one package.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors earn an average of $78,000 per year, Postdoc Researchers earn an average of $36,000 per year, Research Assistants earn an average of $34,000 per year.

#5. Boston College


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Location: Boston, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees cite a plethora of different reasons that make working at Boston College great. Reviews on Glassdoor indicate that strong benefit programs, an inquisitive and academically focused culture, and diversity of thought are high on the list of key components in employee satisfaction.

Notable Perks: One of the strongest paid vacation day accrual policies around at every level of employment.

Average Salary: Assistant Professors average $106,000 per year, Research Associates average $43,000 per year, Associate Professors average $88,000 per year.

#6. Carnegie Mellon University


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Location: Pittsburgh, PA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Employees of Carnegie Mellon University enjoy the extremely focused and academic nature of the culture and are afforded the opportunity to work with some of the best minds in the world. 97% of the 119 employees surveyed by glassdoor approve of the CEO, and 90% would recommend CMU as a great workplace.

Notable Perks: CMU offers employees many perks but the one that best demonstrates CMU’s desire to encourage employee loyalty is the Hannah Gold Advantage program which gives employees cash back rewards on selling or purchasing homes, and contributes money toward closing costs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Fellows earn an average of $51,000 per year, Graduate Research Assistants earn an average of $24,000 per year, Hourly Student Researchers earn an average of $15.00 per hour.

#7. Brown University


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Location: Providence, RI


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The intellectually stimulating work environment, great pay, and fantastic benefits are all key reasons behind job satisfaction at Brown University. 67% of the employees surveyed by Glassdoor approve of the CEO, 87% would recommend Brown to a friend.

Notable Perks: Fantastic insurance plans including health, dental, and vision.

Average Salary: Postdoc Research Associates earn an average of $43,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $88,000 per year, Hourly Research Assistants earn an average of $12.63 per hour.

#8. University of Southern California


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Location: Los Angeles, CA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: Friendly, easy going administration and co-workers committed to academic excellence are one of the key components of job satisfaction at USC. Administration embraces an entrepreneurial mentality and encourages initiative among employees.

Notable Perks: While none of the perks necessarily stand out in and of themselves. USC offers employees extremely strong benefit options across the board designed to meet a multitude of needs.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $46,000 per year, Research Associates earn an average of $44,000 per year, Assistant Professors earn an average of $107,000 per year.

#9. Endicott College


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Location: Beverly, MA


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: This college places a great value on the insights and contributions of its staff and shows it through collaborative governance, which is a key factor in employee satisfaction at this school.

Notable Perks: None that stand out in particular but strong benefits policies across the board. Rated one of the best to work for in the compensation and benefits category by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Average Salary: The average salary per year for an assistant professor is $61,000, the average salary for associate professors is $70,700 per year, the average full professor earns $81,000

#10. Rice University


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Location: Houston, TX


Why It’s a Great Place to Work: The multicultural diversity lends itself to a pleasant and challenging academic environment that many employees find satisfying. 91% of 65 employees surveyed by Glassdoor would recommend Rice as a great place to work.

Notable Perks: Rice offers employees tuition remission plans for dependents and reimbursement plans for those that desire to attend other institutions.

Average Salary: Postdoctoral Research Associates earn an average of $43,000 per year, Graduate Student Researchers earn an average of $23,000 per year, Assistant Professors average $79,000 per year.


Glass Door was used primarily for salary information, and to gather an understanding of employee values and regard for the institution based on employee reviews.

Chronicle of Higher Education was used for salary information in some cases, and their “best colleges to work for honor roll” was taken into consideration when deciding which aspects of the university to focus on when considering employee satisfaction.

Other information was obtained direction from college websites.

The Top 10 Best Colleges and Universities to Work For

is university of kansas a good place to work
The University of Kansas: BRG’s #1 Best College or University to Work For

In the Academic field it is easy for professors to feel as if they are just one among thousands, a cog in the machine of the modern education system. It is difficult to feel valued in an intellectual field when your input isn’t taken under advisement. These universities do an excellent job of involving their faculty in decision making and curriculum design. These universities recognize that university faculty is at its best when there is room for innovation. Not only do they allow for this, but they actively seek out faculty members who want to be a part of an active intellectual community committed to developing strong education strategies and changing the face of modern higher education. This makes these universities some of the strongest choices for those seeking institutions where their voice is valued and they are an integral part of the decision making process.  This article is part of our feature on The Top 100 Best Companies to Work For in the U.S.

Ranking the Best Colleges and Universities to Work For

1. The University of Kansas

This university places a high value on the input of its faculty in the decision making process and internal communications. Ideas from faculty members are regularly bounced around, debated and tweaked before being implemented. This combined with an emphasis on work-life balance that allows faculty and staff to manage their day to day personal responsibilities in conjunction with their work responsibilities makes this one of the best universities in the country to work for.

2. Iowa State University

This school offers strong benefits including child care subsidies and a strong tuition reimbursement program, generous vacation and sick days accrual. The university also boasts strong relationships between administration and faculty in which strong, unique teaching methods are encouraged.

3. Brigham Young University

At Brigham Young University the employee comes first and there is a strong emphasis on  real work-life balance. The college focuses on developing mutual respect and trust between faculty, staff and students. BYU offers strong benefits, with an emphasis not just on the commonplace insurance coverage, but also offering a tuition benefit that allows eligible employees to take six credits per semester, a wellness program and cross-campus employee discounts. BYU places emphasis on being a fantastic place from which to launch a career.

4. Georgia Institute of Technology

There are many amenities involved with working at Georgia Tech including discounts on everything from recreation center memberships to the university vision center. The University offers flexible work arrangements a child care center, employee assistance program, employee banking, and discounts on athletic events. Employees also enjoy free access to the Georgia Tech transportation services and the stingerette escort service (which provides safe transport of students, faculty and staff after hours).

5. Brown University

Brown University sports a wide array of benefits including strong educational benefits including an employee education program and a tuition aid program. Child care and backup child care services are also very convenient offerings. All of this combined with an intellectually rigorous and stimulating environment make Brown a strong choice in the higher education field.

6. Michigan State

MSU was named one of the top family friendly colleges in the country and it is readily apparent why. The Family Resource Center is extensive and provides employees with nearly every imaginable service to make life more manageable. One of the focus areas of the Family Resource Center is in supporting families going through life even changes, whether it be the loss of a loved one or the addition of a new loved one to the family through birth or adoption, the Family Resource Center is readily available to help employees manage the transition.

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT was recently distinguished as one of the top 50 places to work in Massachusetts. MIT has a reputation for attracting some of the greatest minds in the world, and keeping them. This is done through a combination of great benefits, working conditions and an academic culture that lends itself to employee satisfaction.

8. Cornell University

Winner of the Alfred P. Sloan Award for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility, named on the top Adoption Friendly Workplaces list by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and considered one of the best employers for working mothers, the list of awards and recognitions of Cornell for being an amazing place to work is long. The college offers great benefits and a supportive, flexible workplace that inspires employee loyalty like few institutions can.

9. University of Pennsylvania

With awards ranging from a Healthy Workplace Award, to being considered one of the top universities for a working parent to work at, or one of the top IT employers in the country, UPenn’s devotion to excellence is clearly not limited to its academic standards. The institution is devoted to offering a quality, caring workplace with excellent benefits.

10. North Carolina State University

This large state university distinguishes itself amongst other large universities in that employee satisfaction and the benefits offered are above and beyond that of most large universities. They host special employee events such as the Employee Appreciation Tailgate for which employees sign up and tailgate for one of the university’s football games and also get tickets to said game.

About the Author

Andrea Harper, editor of the website Best Liberal Arts Colleges, contributed to this article.

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