As someone happily employed in Des Moines, Iowa, I’d like to know if all other Iowans feel the same way. So I decided to look into some of the best places to work in Iowa, should a friend or I ever want to make a change.
I had to ask myself, “Where are some of the best places to work in Iowa? What makes a company a better place to work than another? What companies separate themselves from their contemporaries in the modern market?”
First of all, there are a tremendous number of great places to work in Iowa. After all, some of the nation’s largest employers in banking, manufacturing, and technology are here or building new facilities in Iowa. These include giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon.
Yet, Iowa is a state driven by small, local businesses. There are very few “conglomerates” that drive Iowa’s economy. It’s the companies with anywhere between 10-1,000 employees who are the cream of the crop, pardon the geographical pun.
So, I am limiting this list to just those companies headquartered in this state.
- Industry: Wholesale Building Materials
- Headquarters: Pella, IA
- Employee Count: 8,000+
Pella Corporation designs and makes both windows and doors for homes and doors and windows for businesses. A guy named Pete Kuyper started the company in 1925, and today, they employ more than 8,000 employees nationwide.
Headquartered in Pella, Iowa, Pella Corporation has 17 production facilities and more than 200 showrooms all over the country. By making energy-efficient products for homes and businesses and taking a comprehensive approach to sustainable manufacturing, Pella maintains a commitment to the environment, its team members, customers, and communities across the country.
GreenState Credit Union
- Industry: Credit Union
- Headquarters: North Liberty, IA
- Employee Count: 855
GreenState Credit Union is sneakily the largest credit union in Iowa (and the 21st largest credit union in the country). They serve over 400,000 members with 33 office locations, and membership is open to all Iowans, and 34 counties outside Iowa in Illinois, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
Iowa Select Farms
- Industry: Food and Beverages
- Headquarters: Iowa Falls, IA
- Employee Count: 1,200
If you’re looking for a place to work that significantly contributes to Iowa’s economy year in and year out, look no further than Iowa Select Farms. With over 1,200 employees and 650 contractors, ISF is amongst the best of the best when it comes to pig farming. This privately-owned business is the 4th largest pork producer in the country, marketing over five million hogs every single year thanks to their 800 farms in 50 counties.
They employ anyone who works in animal science and livestock care, transportation, maintenance and repair, veterinary services, environmental services, IT, construction, swine nutrition, and tons of other roles that are instrumental to their business.
- Industry: Life Insurance, Annuities, & Retirement Investments
- Headquarters: West Des Moines, IA
- Employee Count: 1,371
I’m not going to pretend to know a lot about finances, investments, or retirement plans, and that’s okay with Athene because that’s their job and not mine. Their About page on their website reads, “Athene focuses on retirement savings solutions and has deep expertise in the long-term management of retirement benefits.” Perfect! It’s straight to the point and helpful.
Feeling validated by your work, not just by your boss but by your clients, is one of the most gratifying feelings a career offers. So if you’re inspired by helping others with their long-term goals while also progressing towards your own milestones, then Athene is a terrific place to get a head start on both.
- Industry: Reinsurance
- Headquarters: Grinnell, IA
- Employee Count: 820
Grinnell Mutual is one of the oldest, most successful companies in Iowa. Since 1909, they’ve been thriving as one of the state’s leaders in quality insurance for auto, home, farm, and businesses. They have brokers sprinkled throughout the country (Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin).
They have also been named one of the ten best companies to work for every single year since 2010, according to Top Workplace. If that isn’t a glowing endorsement of their employee’s satisfaction with their employer, then I don’t know what is.
University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
- Industry: Hospital and Healthcare
- Headquarters: Iowa City, IA
- Employee Count: 16,500 team members, including employees, students, and volunteers
As someone who attended the University of Iowa, I was fortunate not to find myself in the
on-campus hospital more than once. But I always felt their presence. Whether it was seeing a doctor strolling through one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country or chatting with a friend in nursing school, I always felt like I was in good hands should anything drastic ever happen.
I love the quote they include on their website in the basic facts section: “On any given day at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, students, employees, and volunteers come together to provide high-quality healthcare and extraordinary service to patients and their families.”
- Industry: IT Services and IT Consulting
- Headquarters: Waukee, IA
- Employee Count: 171
Access Systems is sneakily one of the best stories in Iowa. They began as a tiny company in 1986 and started exploding into a powerhouse in 2005. They’re now recognized as one of the country’s most tenured office technology companies, and their employees have significantly more experience than most IT companies. They’ve also won many awards from Sharp, Ricoh, Top Workplaces, the Better Business Bureau, and Microsoft.
- Industry: Software Development
- Headquarters: Ames, IA
- Employee Count: 2,100+
While most companies in Iowa are trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world, Workiva has consistently demonstrated its ability to stay ahead of the curve. As one of the country’s most integral software development companies, they have to. We all understand that technology doesn’t grow on a straight-line curve but rather an exponential one. And Workiva has grown at a similar rate.
They were founded in 2008 under the name WebFilings, and their goal was to change how corporations were managing and reporting business data. In 2010, they released their initial cloud solution when most corporations were skeptical about trusting the enigma of “The Cloud.” Fast forward to 2022, and Workiva’s cloud platform is used by thousands of organizations worldwide, including over 75% of the Fortune 500.
Principal Financial Group
- Industry: Financial Services
- Headquarters: Des Moines, IA
- Employee Count: 16,000+
With the number of family members and friends working for Principal Financial, you would think they were the most successful cult in Iowa. And they may be! Because every one of them raves about how much they love working there.
The thing I love about how Principal carries themselves is that they make the most complicated things simple. Their mission statement is that they’re bound by one common purpose: to give their customers the financial tools, resources, and information they need to live their best life. It’s simple, sincere, and successful by all accounts.