In the war for talent, good companies finish first according to a survey conducted by The Good Search, a retained search practice that specializes in recruiting for companies that attempt to do balance the needs of all stakeholder groups. The survey findings also indicate that companies can acquire a competitive advantage by embracing corporate social responsibility.

Nearly all of those polled indicated they would rather work at a good company  (96 percent, consisting of 64 percent who “strongly agree” and 32 percent who “somewhat agree”), and 92 percent say they would be more inclined to trust a “good” employer and that they would feel better about themselves if they were working at a “good” company. But only 36 percent felt strongly that they currently work at a “good company” with stated corporate social responsibility practices. Moreover, 9 percent felt they worked at bad companies with questionable ethics.

A similar majority (91 percent) believes working for a “good” company serves as an extension of their personal branding as a good, ethical person. About two-thirds (68 percent) feel it would be detrimental to their careers to have a bad company their resumes, and conversely, feel it would be beneficial to their careers to have a good company on their resumes. More than half (57 percent) believe that working at a “bad” company raises questions about whether they’re a “bad” person.

When we asked which “good” qualities” are important in an employer, respondents cited positive work environment (92 percent ), family friendly benefits (73 percent), profit-sharing (67 percent), superior wages (59 percent), superior benefits (58 percent) and wage fairness (44 percent). In addition, more than half stated diversity was important (53 percent). A third prefers employers that invest in philanthropy (30 percent), and a quarter prefers employers that encourage volunteerism (26 percent). Positive labor/union relations are important to only one-in-ten respondents.