It’s About the Bottom Line

By Mike Hofman

Originally published on Advocate.com September 10 2008 12:00 AM ET

Google Mountain View, Calif.Financial snapshot: Second-quarter revenue for the Internet search engine giants stood at $5.4 billion, up 39% from the second quarter of 2007.

Following in the footsteps of Ford, IBM, and General Electric, Google has become America’s employer of choice, the firm against which every other boss and pay package is measured. The company’s generous perks are much-discussed in corporate America, as is its stock market performance. For the record, the company’s market capitalization—per-share stock price multiplied by number of shares outstanding—was $148.8 billion as of late August, with shares priced at $473. But Google’s ultimate weapon as an employer is its stability: Cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin—and their progressive workplace policies—should steer the company’s culture for many years to come.

Johnson & Johnson New Brunswick, N.J.Financial snapshot: In July, Johnson & Johnson reported that second-quarter revenue was $16.5 billion, up 8.7% from the comparable quarter in 2007.

Health care and pharmaceutical companies tend to be recession-proof simply by virtue of the business they’re in. Among the major pharma players, J&J has one of the healthiest share prices (it’s been trading between $61 and $71 in the past year), and it’s headquartered in a state with substantial workplace protections for gay people.

Chevron San Ramon, Calif.Financial snapshot: The oil giant reported $6 billion in profits in the second quarter of 2008, up 11% from the same period in 2007.

If working for a company that mints money is one of your objectives, then you should look no further than the industry that spawned the catchphrase windfall profits. Chevron enjoys all of the financial success of its peer group, yet stands virtually alone in terms of its gay-friendly workplace policies, in part because it is based in California, where the laws are on LGBT employees’ side.

Microsoft Redmond, Wash.Financial snapshot: The software maker ended its fiscal year in June, when it reported annual revenue of $60.4 billion, an 18% increase over fiscal 2007.

With considerable grace, Microsoft has made the transition from disruptive innovator to member in good standing of the corporate establishment. Over the past decade its LGBT policies have been tested (remember that Ralph Reed episode?) and have happily endured. A good sign that the company’s pro-gay policies will persist well into the post–Bill Gates era: A transgender executive has blogged openly and without sentimentality about her experiences in the office.

Best Companies smaller (Getty) | Advocate.com

Estée Lauder New York CityFinancial snapshot: The cosmetics company ended its 2008 fiscal year in August with $7.91 billion in net sales, an increase of 12% over 2007.

A gay-friendly company in a gay-friendly industry, Estée Lauder’s stock surged in August thanks to strong international sales. As the dollar regains ground against the euro, sales could stall. But for now the company that owns Aveda, Clinique, and M.A.C. is in a strong position.

Kimpton Hotels San FranciscoFinancial snapshot: The hotel group is on track to gross $600 million again this year.

Another beneficiary of the strong euro, the boutique hotel company plans to open 15 additional hotels in major metropolitan areas in 2009, on top of the 42 properties it operates at present. And unlike some of the employers on this list, Kimpton typically has positions available for workers at all levels in terms of skills and income.

Intel Santa Clara, Calif.Financial snapshot: In July the computer chip maker announced second-quarter revenue of $9.5 billion, up 9% from the second quarter of 2007.

After a few bad years in which its sales and stock price dipped, Intel has been rebounding of late, thanks to strong growth in demand for tiny microprocessors for notebook computers and for mobile devices.

Best Companies smaller (Getty) | Advocate.com

TJX Cos. Framingham, Mass.Financial snapshot: In August the retailer announced that its sales in the second quarter reached $4.6 billion, up 7% from the second quarter of 2007.

At a time when a number of major retailers are retrenching or even fending off bankruptcy, this Massachusetts-based merchandiser, known for its bargain pricing, has kept its finances in order. The company, which is parent to department stores T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, among others, recently sold its Bob’s Stores unit to private equity firms, raising some eyebrows. (Why sell an asset in a down market?) Still, its stock is up, and analysts believe that the company is well-positioned to add customers as long as consumers remain bargain-minded.

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Taylorsville, N.C.Financial snapshot: The privately held furniture company has $100 million in annual sales. Though it does not disclose income, a spokesperson says the business remains profitable despite the current economic downturn.

This upscale furniture retailer is smaller than the other businesses on this list, and it’s in an industry that’s struggling. Still, corporate and retail job openings are listed on its website. And the company boasts a credential of particular interest to LGBT job seekers: two out gay co-owners, a former couple (in a red state, no less) who have run the business for nearly 20 years.

Covington & Burling Washington, D.C.Financial snapshot: This law firm is private and does not disclose gross billings.

A number of white-shoe law firms have received a 100 score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index. These elite firms are usually impervious to economic conditions, and many of them actively recruit gay law students. But just because they treat you fairly doesn’t mean they won’t ask you to sleep on the floor behind your desk once a week. If you have a choice, consider Covington. The firm has clients like Procter & Gamble and IBM, and it got a major lift this summer when Barack Obama tapped partner Eric Holder Jr. to help assemble his vice presidential short list from a suite of offices in Covington’s headquarters at 1201 Pennsylvania Ave.