Goldman wins respect of staff

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The offer of stock options to all staff, and strong respect for ethical business practices, weighed heavily in Goldman's favour. Some 97% of employees who responded said that the firm is 'honest and ethical in its business practices', a figure that Fortune points out is above average for its list.

US employees were also partial to the firm's on-site fitness centres, medical centres and 24-hour concierge services. Solicitude for the family was evidenced by the availability of same-sex domestic partner benefits, back-up child and elder care, generous maternity and adoption leave, and the offer of paid time off for family obligations.

However, it is Goldman's emphasis on co-operation that seems to have made the crucial difference to the firm's ranking. 'Employees talked a lot about the team work environment. One of the problems in other banks is that there is a lot of internal competitiveness. At Goldman Sachs there really seems to be the feeling of a team in which everyone is working together,' says Robert Levering of the Great Place to Work Institute, which managed the survey.