started trying to compile a list of the best places to work in America back in 1976, some companies didn't have a clue what he was talking about. They sent him data on their year-to-year dividend growth, or their earnings-per- share ratio. "We had to say, 'That's not what we're interested in,' " Moskowitz said.
These days, there's no such confusion.
Moskowitz, an affable 70-year-old Mill Valley business writer, has built a cottage industry and a national reputation out of rating companies based on how they treat their employees.
Executives across America anxiously compete to get their companies onto the list of family-friendly firms that Moskowitz compiles each year for Working Mother magazine. Moskowitz has published similar listings of best workplaces in Mother Jones magazine, and in a book that sold 400,000 copies.
And next January, he'll break into the heart of the established business press -- overseeing Fortune magazine's first-ever list of "best companies to work for."
Some workplace experts question the way that Moskowitz makes his selections, saying he gives too much credit to snazzy-looking programs that may exist only on paper.
But there's no question that Moskowitz and his frequent collaborator Robert Levering have tapped into some of the biggest changes in the American business world -- such as the increased effort to blend family concerns with work, and to seek work that offers personal as well as financial rewards.
"It's very revealing that we are now focusing on the most family-friendly companies, rather than the most powerful," said Elizabeth Perle McKenna, author of the new book "When Work Doesn't Work Anymore." "There's been a huge value shift, where we're start-
ing to recognize that there are some workplace values that are as important as money or status or power."