Caring colleges line lists of the 500 best employers in the nation

Forbes highlights the institutions that deliver for employees despite challenges facing the workplace in 2021-22.

Nearly three dozen large colleges and universities—and 19 more midsized higher education institutions—are providing exceptional service and care for their employees and have made it onto the newly released Forbes Top 500 lists of employers for 2022.

Among large employers, Yale University ranked highest in the education category at No. 12, while the University of Michigan (16), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (33), the University of Oklahoma (48) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (51) rounded out the top five from the sector. They beat out the likes of nationally recognized firms such as LiveNation, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Capital One, Ally Financial and Vanguard. Yale ranked higher than Microsoft, LinkedIn and Google.

“We are incredibly proud that OU has been recognized as a top 50 employer in America—a distinction that reinforces our efforts to foster an environment where everyone feels valued and welcomed and a part of our purpose of changing lives,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “This achievement is a testament to the remarkable commitment and care of our faculty and staff, who work hard every day to make the University of Oklahoma such a special place.”

Nearly 60,000 workers at institutions and businesses across the nation took part in the annual surveys from Forbes and Statista to determine the best of the best among those that employ more than 1,000 or more individuals. Five of the top 10 were from the healthcare sector, including No. 1 The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

Duke University and its healthcare system both ranked in the top 100, with the institution placing 61st overall, one spot ahead of Washington University in St. Louis.

“It’s always validating that the work of our faculty and staff in building a supportive and engaging community is on the right path.” Kyle Cavanaugh, Duke Vice President for Administration, said in a statement. “Having this recognition, which cuts across the entire country and across many different industries, bodes incredibly well for our workforce. When, across the nation, there are enormous challenges, it’s gratifying to see the institution continue to be recognized.”

Forbes highlighted the tremendous difficulties and hardships employers and employees have endured during the past two pandemic-weary years. They noted that nearly 11 million jobs still remain open as worker shortages impact many fields. But the work of higher education and business leaders to provide flexible working options for staff and faculty, continued health and insurance coverage, strong leave policies and career development through it all helps set them apart. Employers that did well received high scores from respondents, who were asked to rate them on a 0-10 scale based on compensation, work conditions and training opportunities.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees faced countless challenges and obstacles, yet they came up with creative solutions,” said David Munson, President of the Rochester Institute of Technology, which ranked 231st in the midsized category. “We are deeply appreciative and thankful for all they did and achieved to move RIT forward. RIT’s faculty and staff work extremely hard to provide an exceptional learning environment where our students can thrive. This award is a testament to the passion they bring to the workplace every day.”

Of the midsized institutions, only the California Institute of Technology cracked the Top 50 and did so at No. 7, an impressive ranking that put it in the top 10 with Vera Bradley, FICO and Random House publishing. Here are the two lists:


12. Yale University
16. University of Michigan
33. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
48. University of Oklahoma
51. University of Alabama, Birmingham
54. North Carolina State University
59. Emory University
61. Duke University
62. Washington University in Saint Louis
65. University of Notre Dame
68. University of Wisconsin, Madison
92. University of Maryland, Baltimore
93. University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
95. Rutgers University
100. University of Tennessee
104. Cornell Universithy
106. University of Kentucky
119. Clemson University
120. University of California, San Diego
121. Ohio State University
144. Upstate Medical University – SUNY
149. Purdue University
155. University of Nebraska, Lincoln
158. University of Florida
190. University of Pennsylvania
212. University of Pittsburgh
214. Texas Tech University
222. Pennsylvania State University
246. Arizona State University
261. West Virginia University
275. Temple University
279. University of Texas, Austin
285. University of Washington
296. Johns Hopkins University


7. California Institute of Technology
52. Pima Community College
69. Grand Canyon University
87. Brown University
88. Mississippi State University
101. University of Nebraska, Omaha
136. Loyola University Chicago
144. East Tennessee State University
151. University of North Carolina, Charlotte
160. University of Maine
170. Louisiana State University and A&M College
199. Tarrant County College District
239. Rochester Institute of Technology
249. California State University, Northridge
272. Alabama State University
273. College of DuPage
274. Nova Southeastern University
289. Kennesaw State University
348. Grand Valley State University

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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