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Forbes ranks Salt Lake City as 10th happiest place to work

By Mary Mellor

Published: Sunday, Jan. 13 2013 12:01 a.m. MST

A UTA Trax train travels on Main Street in Salt Lake City Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Simon Pearson loves his job.

"It’s satisfying coming into to work everyday knowing what I do can make a difference," he said.

And according to Forbes, he's not alone. The magazine has named Salt Lake City as the 10th happiest place in the nation to work.

Pearson is a branch manager for Mountain America Credit Union. The credit union was recently honored with the Utah Work/Life Award from the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

“We have good opportunities to advance, grow and develop in our careers,” Pearson explained. “Mountain America has a great training department, great upper management, and a lot of time, money and effort goes into training employees and looking out for our success.”

Another Salt Lake company, Digital Financial Group, received the same honor, naming it one of the top 20 places to work in Utah, and it received the highest ranking of all Utah companies in the area of flexibility and benefits. Tamara Gray, executive vice president of development and public relations, said the company has been “hands down, the best place I’ve ever worked.”

“DFG is a great place to work because the most important thing to our company is a great work-life balance,” she said. “Our approach is that our employees are extended members of our family. We want our employees to feel as valued as we believe them to be.”

Using data assembled by CareerBliss.com, Forbes' rankings were based on survey responses from 36,000 employees across the country. Respondents were asked to rate their workplace happiness on a variety of factors, including environment, relationships with bosses and co-workers, compensation, growth opportunities, job resources, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and control over the work done on a daily basis.

“There is a positive correlation between happiness in the workplace and productivity, which is pretty robust across many studies, many companies and many fields,” said University of Utah business professor Jay Barney.

Employees surveyed in Salt Lake City said that while they were least satisfied with available growth opportunities and the rewards they received, they were most satisfied with the way they work and people they work with.

Recently elected Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said the ranking “solidifies what we already knew — that we have a great quality of life and that the Salt Lake Valley is a great place to work and live."

“There are not many places where you can put in a 40-hour workweek and a 12-hour ski weekend,” McAdams continued. “We have beautiful parks, open spaces, the Wasatch Mountains, and this puts us in the lead for the best place to work and live. It’s a huge selling point for economic development and bringing in new businesses and people to our community.”

Kevan Barney, a vice president at Mountain America Credit Union, said he feels his company has contributed to making Salt Lake City one of the happiest places to work.

“We have a strong commitment to our employees and to our community, which, by extension, is our members,” Barney said. "We do what we can to keep Mountain America a great place to work for our employees. Part of making our employees happy is being a part of the community. We feel like by taking care of our corner of the world and the people involved in it, Mountain America is one of the best places to work.”

Dayton, Ohio, was named the happiest place to work, followed by Knoxville, Tenn;  Honolulu, Hawaii; Memphis, Tenn.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Trenton, N.J; St. Louis; and Salt Lake City.

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