Among those landing on Forbes’ annual Top 500 Employers list were REI, W.L. Gore, Lululemon, Garmin, Foot Locker, Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Eddie Bauer and Adidas America. See where they landed!

Writer: Tom Ryan

Among firms in the active lifestyle space, REI, W.L. Gore & Associates, Garmin and Lululemon Athletica topped Forbes’ annual list of the 500 best large employers.

REI, marking its first appearance on Forbes’ list, ranked three. W.L. Gore & Associates landed at 32; Garmin, 46; Lululemon, 76; Hanesbrands, the parent of Champion and Gear for Sports, 110; Equinox, 149; Nike, 155; and Eddie Bauer, 183.

Further down the list but still making the cut were Columbia Sportswear, 319; Buckle, 321; Newell Brands, which last year acquired Jarden Outdoor, 404; Foot Locker, 421; Adidas America, 467; and VF Corp., the parent of The North Face, Vans and Timberland, 497.

The overall top-ten large employers were Costco, Google, REI, Memorial Hermann Health System, United Services Automobile Association, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Penn Medicine, Mayo Clinic, City of Austin and Wegmans.

To compile the rankings, Forbes split employers into two groups, mid-sized — companies with 1,000 to 5,000 employees — and large employers — companies with 5,000 or more employees. Firms in the active space making the list of 300 mid-sized employers were L.L.Bean, 15, and New Balance, 93.

For the survey, Statista surveyed 30,000 American workers to gather their opinions of their employers. On a scale of zero to ten, it asked how likely they were to recommend their organization to friends or family. Those results were the most important factor in determining a company’s ranking on this list. Statista then asked employees to recommend other companies outside of their own. Those ratings also informed the ranking, but to a lesser degree.

For the 20th consecutive year, REI also landed on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list. REI was ranked number 28 and is one of 12 companies to be included since the annual list began in 1998.

“This is an amazing honor and we are all very proud to be recognized for 20 straight years,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI CEO and president, in a statement. “At REI, we put our purpose above profits and I think that’s a huge reason why people love working here, stay here for a long time and do such great, impactful work. Our employees have had a passion for the outdoors since our founding in 1938, and that passion continues to unite and inspire us, giving each of us a strong sense of what matters most, no matter where we live or work.”

Others making Fortune’s Top 100 list included W. L. Gore & Associates, 52; and Nordstrom, 94.

Fortune’s best companies are based on feedback from more than 230,000 people. Factors taken into the score are the quality of each company’s leaders, support for their personal and professional lives and their relationships with colleagues. Compensation and benefits, hiring practices, recognition, training and diversity programs are also taken into account. Fortune’s top-ten employers were Google, Wegmans, The Boston Consulting Group, Baird, Edward Jones, Genentech, Ultimate Software, Salesforce, Acuity and Quicken Loans.

Fortune also breaks down its employer lists into a few categories. Foot Locker was the only firm in the active space to land among the 50 Best Workplaces For Diversity, at 38.

REI also landed 39 on Fortune’s 100 Best Workplaces For Millennials with Nordstrom at 88 and Clif Bar & Co. at 92. Among the 100 Best Workplaces For Women, REI ranked 67 and L.L.Bean, 79. Patagonia landed at eight on Fortune’s 50 Best Workplaces for Giving Back and at 29 for the magazine’s 50 Best Workplaces For Parents.

Photo courtesy REI