Internet behemoth Google is America’s happiest company to work, edging out thousands of well-known firms and smaller businesses for the top spot on CareerBliss’ ranking of the 50 happiest places to be employed in 2011.

Rounding out the top four are 3M Company, DTE Energy and Qualcomm. At No. 5 is the U.S. military, which BusinessNewsDaily reported in October as ranking above Disney and Microsoft in a different list that identified the most “blissful places to work.”

[Related: Military Beats Out Disney as Happy Place to Work]

CareerBliss, an online career-guidance tool, used more than 91,000 confidential employee reviews to evaluate companies based on opportunities for growth, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security and whether the employee would recommend the company to others.

“This data is invaluable to job seekers, competitors, employers and to human-resources professionals who are trying to not only attract top talent but retain their best employees,” said CareerBliss CEO Heidi Golledge.

Sample employee reviews of the top 10:

  1. Google: “Google is the place to be. There are smart people everywhere. Google and innovation go hand in hand.” – Media coordinator
  2. 3M Company: “Great company with good management, but advancement is rare.” – Corporate electrical engineer
  3. DTE Energy: “Great working environment with a lot of great mentors.” – Peaker engineering Co-Op
  4. Qualcomm: “Qualcomm is an extremely great employer for experienced individuals.” – Engineering intern
  5. Military: “Good benefits and training available to advance in future careers.” – Data chief
  6. LSI Corporation: “Cutting edge technology frim with room to grow.” – Process development technician
  7. Charles Schwab: “It's a great company with great benefits and a focus on clients.” – Financial consultant
  8. PricewaterhouseCoopers: “Opportunities to advance to a higher level.” – Senior associate
  9. TRW: “Good to work in TRW. Excellent environment and excellent teams.” – Acting lean promotions office manager
  10. Johnson & Johnson:“In my tenure at Johnson and Johnson, I have developed a proven track record of success and gained skills that can be transferred to many other sales settings.” – Pharmaceutical sales representative

To see which other companies made the top 50, click here.

Although Google landed at No. 1, the company didn’t go unscathed. It ranked on top in growth opportunities and career advancement, but employees graded their benefits lower than most companies on the list.

One company – at No. 6 – consistently rated high among all categories: LSI Corporation, a California-based provider of silicon and software technologies.

“Job satisfaction is very important in attracting and retaining the best employees,” said Gautam Srivastava, senior vice president of LSI’s human resources. “Our combination of benefits and challenging work in a fast-paced industry provides employees with an environment in which they can thrive.”

At least 20 employees from a company had to submit reviews for it to be eligible for the rankings. Golledge said this list differs from others rankings because it uses confidential, independent reviews from employees.

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