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Working Woman Gives Universal Top 100 Nod

Workplace: Studio's inclusion on magazine's list of best companies to work for is a first. Four Wall Street firms also named.

September 12, 1997|From Associated Press

At least one corner of Tinseltown is helping reel life adapt to real life.

For the first time, a major Hollywood studio, Universal Studios, has made Working Mother magazine's prestigious list of the best 100 companies to work for.

The number of Wall Street firms on the 12th annual list, released Thursday, doubled to four from last year--another sign of the growing influence of work-family concerns in industries once overwhelmingly dominated by men.

"Even these male bastions are changing and opening to work-family," said Working Mother's editor in chief, Judsen Culbreth. "It's becoming more mainstream."

The New York-based magazine chooses the companies based on pay, advancement opportunities for women, child care, flexible hours and family-friendly benefits such as adoption aid and elder-care resources.

Nearly 20% of Universal's senior and executive vice presidents are female, and 42% of employees are women, said Working Mother. Top women at Universal include marketing executives Buffy Shutt and Kathy Jones, and Nikki Rocco, head of distribution.

The company also has an on-site day-care center for 120 children and offers financial help with adoptions.

The studios "have been an old-boy's network, but we've seen change in the last several years," said Ellen Fallon, a San Francisco-based work-family consultant for WFD, one of the largest work-life consulting firms. Studios "are not only willing to talk more about it, but to implement work-family programs," she said. "It's changing, but it's slow."

Ken Kahrs, senior vice president of human resources at Universal, said the industry had a reputation for excluding women in the past. But he said Universal is trying to send a different message.

"I take a lot of pride in the representation of women in our executive ranks," he said.

The Wall Street firms J.P. Morgan and Salomon Bros. made the list for the first time, and Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bankers Trust made the list for a second consecutive year.

The magazine doesn't rank the companies but notes the 10 best. They include Allstate Insurance of Northbrook, Ill.; Barnett Banks of Jacksonville, Fla.; NationsBank of Charlotte, N.C.; and manufacturer Fel-Pro Inc. of Skokie, Ill.

Also on the top 10 list are Glaxo Wellcome's U.S. unit; Merck & Co.; Johnson & Johnson; SAS Institute; IBM; and Xerox.

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