There’s no doubt that career advancement opportunities are important for both employees and employers. If firms can’t provide staff with ways to grow, then this can have a negative impact on job satisfaction and talent retention. Today, people want to know they will be able to develop their skills and contribute meaningfully to their workplaces.

But job security? The received wisdom is: it’s dead, and story after story heralds its demise. Today, we are often told, gig work is on the rise, employees and employers don’t have much loyalty toward each other, and millennial workers in particular are frequently portrayed as job-hoppers.

But the reality, as always, is more complex. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, only about 10% of American workers were employed in “alternative work arrangements,” a broad category that includes temps, freelancers and people in the “gig economy.” This comes hot on the heels of a 2016 study that surveyed workers across 25 different countries and found that 87% of respondents ages 21 through 36 named job security as a priority, second only to money.

Little wonder: Job security and advancement go hand in hand. It may be true that few people today expect to be with a single company for life, but they do want the ability to advance and “change careers” within an organization, and you can’t feel confident doing that without a sense of security. Rather than declaring the death of one and the triumph of the other, it’s probably more accurate to say that our understanding of these ideas has evolved.

You might also like: 15 Jobs That Will Satisfy Your Wanderlust

To deepen our understanding of what job security and advancement mean today, we analyzed data from over 72 million ratings and reviews listed on Indeed Company Pages to find out which firms are leading the way in making sure their employees stick around and grow.

The top 15 companies for job security

What did we find? Retail stores claimed most of the top five spots, but it was California-based food chain In-N-Out Burger that landed in first place.

Table compiled of Indeed’s 15 top-rated workspaces for job security and advancement in 2018.
This table features Indeed’s 15 top-rated workplaces in 2018 for best job security and/or advancement opportunities, based on employer ratings and reviews on 1) In-N-Out Burger, 2) Costco Wholesale, 3) HEB, 4) Publix, 5) QuikTrip, 6) Kaiser Permanente, 7) Wegmans, 8) C.R. England, 9) FedEx Express, 10) Keller Williams Realty, 11) Southwest Airlines, 12) Network Capital Funding Corporation, 13) Starbucks, 14) UPS, 15) American Airlines

These results are especially interesting in the context of another much-discussed idea: “the retail apocalypse.” And while it’s true that some brick and mortar retailers are facing challenging times, reviews data indicates that employees working in others feel confident about their opportunities for security and advancement.  

To be more specific—certain supermarket chains do especially well, occupying the #2, #3, #4 and #7 spots (Costco, HEB, Publix and Wegmans, respectively). Other industries that make a strong showing for job security and advancement include shipping (FedEx at #9 and UPS at #14) and air travel (Southwest Airlines at #11 and American Airlines at #15).

By contrast, major tech companies are absent from our list, even though on other rankings—such as Top-Rated Compensation and Benefits and Top-Rated Work–Life Balance—we typically see representatives from the tech world placing highly.

What helps a company rise to the top when it comes to job security and advancement? Many of the firms on our list have made training and development opportunities central to their businesses.

For example, Costco affirms a commitment to promoting from within the company on its careers page. According to the site “[t]he majority of our current home and regional office team members are home grown.” In addition, Costco employs “accountants, lawyers, buyers, and human resources personnel who began their careers as stockers or cashiers in our locations.”

Meanwhile, Wegmans not only has a management trainee program, a culinary management trainee program and other development opportunities, but it has awarded more than $115 million in scholarships to employees seeking to further their education.

Similarly, Keller Williams offers up Keller Williams University to help its employees boost their earnings, and Kaiser Permanente has an entire online platform called KP Learn that provides access to courses and mentoring opportunities.

The message? A strategy of treating employees as a resource to invest in for the long term drives job satisfaction and provides firms with talent for crucial roles beyond the purpose of the initial hires.

So what are the best of the best doing right? Keep reading to find out.

The best of the best: What sets the top five companies apart?

1. In-N-Out Burger

Founded: 1948
HQ: Irvine, California
No. of Employees: 10,000+

A California-based food chain with a cult following, In-N-Out Burger is known for its cheeseburgers and a number of items on its (not so) secret menu. And with the company’s recent expansion into the Southwest, the cult favorite is quickly becoming a household name around the country.  

So what keeps the company's employees from being, well, in and out? (Sorry. We had to do it.) It starts with a commitment to training, development and promotion opportunities.

“They treat their employees extremely well,” says one worker. “They hire from within.”

And while many employees say the company’s fast pace can take some getting used to, the flip side is that there are plenty of training and advancement opportunities.

“I loved every minute of working for In-N-Out Burger,” reports another employee. “They were extremely education oriented and promoted advancement to help their associates reach their highest potential.”

2. Costco Wholesale

Founded: 1983
HQ: Issaquah, Washington
No. of Employees: 10,000+

A go-to warehouse club known for bulk food items, deals on electronics (not to mention its signature 100-calorie vodka popsicles), Costco Wholesale also has a reputation for treating its employees well and promoting from within. So it should come as no surprise that it earned the number-two position on our list.

You will not find a more secure job in retail,” one employee says. “They treat it like a union job even when you're not working in a union building.”

Excellent training, benefits, and work environment,” another employee raves. “[The company] promotes from within 95% so there’s excellent room for advancement and growth within the company, whether at an individual location, regional office, or home office.”

3. H-E-B

Founded: 1905
HQ: San Antonio, Texas
No. of Employees: 10,000+

Based primarily in Texas and northeast Mexico, HEB also operates the gourmet store Central Market. H-E-B customers are pretty loyal to the brand and, as it turns out, so are many of the company’s employees, who praise the competitive pay rates and great advancement opportunities.

“H-E-B offers a lot of opportunities to advance in the company. You just have to be willing to do the work to get there,” says one employee.

Another employee praised H-E-B’s diversity, adding, “The training opportunities are the greatest.”

But a third employee sums it up well: “Wonderful benefits, wonderful training, amazing room for advancement, helpful management—all around a clean, friendly, fun place to work.”

4. Publix

Founded: 1930
HQ: Lakeland, Florida
No. of Employees: 10,000+

Operating in the southeastern United States, Publix gives its employees a powerful incentive to stick around: the company is considered to be the largest employee-owned company in the world.

“Pay is better than average for initial employment, hours are extremely flexible and management cultivates an atmosphere of camaraderie,” one employee says. “Good employees receive regular raises and opportunities to be trained up to other positions.”

Another employee adds, “Advancement seems to be open to anyone willing to put in the extra time and effort.”

5. QuikTrip

Founded: 1958
HQ: Tulsa, Oklahoma
No. of Employees: 10,000+

This convenience store and gas station chain is a mainstay on Fortune’s list of the best 100 companies to work for. So what makes its employees want to stick around?

“Hands down one of the best companies I ever worked for,” one employee says. “This company takes care of their people and values them.”

But it turns out that the wonderful work experience and opportunities QuikTrip provides have an unexpected side effect:

“You have opportunities for advancement but it tends to get harder and harder to get promotions as no one wants to leave the company,” another employee says.

However, even though there’s competition to move up, QuikTrip workers seem largely undeterred.

“The work is definitely worth the reward.”