When employees look for opportunities in Alberta's oil patch, wages are a big motivator.

But despite the appeal that comes from reaping the benefits of Alberta's black gold, arguably not all oil and gas employers are created equal.

Now, however, thanks to a list released this week and compiled by Canada's Top 100 Employers, at www.canadastop100.com, prospective job seekers can see which are the best energy companies in Alberta to work for and why.

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  • Bonavista Energy Corporation

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-bonavista-energy-trust" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut: </a> Invests in ongoing employee development development with tuition subsidies for job-related courses taken at outside institutions (to $2,000), online training programs and subsidies for professional accreditation. Helps employees save for retirement with generous contributions to a matching RSP plan (to 9% of salary). Offers additional financial benefits including referral bonuses (to $1,500), year-end bonuses and a share purchase plan available to all employees. Manages a flexible health benefits plan which allows employees to customize levels of coverage according to their needs -- unused credits may be transferred to salary or savings plan or be used toward additional time off. Provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks) and offers extended health benefits coverage throughout the duration of their leave.

  • CEDA International Corporation

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-agrium" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> Provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 70% of salary for 6 weeks). Helps employees balance work and their personal life through flexible work hours, compressed work week option and a formal earned days-off program. Supports ongoing employee development through subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation, in-house and online training programs, formal mentoring and in-house apprenticeship opportunities.

  • ConocoPhillips Canada

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-conocophillips-canada" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> New employees start at three weeks of paid vacation allowance and receive additional paid personal days-off which can be scheduled throughout the year. Supports continued skills development through in-house and online training programs, formal mentoring, leadership training and subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation. Encourages children of employees to pursue post-secondary education through a generous academic scholarship program (to $10,000 per child). Provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for 8 weeks) and offers extended health benefits coverage throughout the duration of their leave Helps employees balance work and their personal life through flexible work hours, shortened work week option and a formal earned-days off program.

  • Enbridge inc.

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-enbridge" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> Provides generous vacation and time-off programs, with new employees receiving three weeks of vacation to start, as well as one paid personal day off each month (depending on location) -- and considers previous work experience when establishing vacation entitlements for experienced applicants. Offers great financial rewards including signing bonuses for some, referral bonuses, year-end bonuses, and a share purchase plan available to all employees. An "Imagine Canada Caring Company" that donates one percent of its annual pre-tax earnings every year and also encourages its employees to volunteer in their communities through a generous employee volunteer program that donates $500 to charitable organizations where employees volunteer at least 40 hours a year offer new parents maternity top payments (to 100% for 6 weeks) and manages a post-secondary academic scholarship program that's available to older children of employees (to $2,100 per child). Encourages ongoing development of employees with generous tuition subsidies, in-house apprenticeship and skilled trades opportunities, career planning services as well as an extensive in-house training program hosted within an impressive training facility A downtown head office that features a range of onsite amenities including an employee lounge, quiet room for reflection and prayer, a nap room and shower facilities for bicycle commuters Helps older employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, contributions to a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan (depending on employee group) as well as a health benefits plan that extends into retirement (with no age limit).

  • Encana Corporation

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-encana" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> New employees start at three weeks of paid vacation allowance, moving to eight weeks for long serving employees. Encourages older employees to prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and helps them save for the future with employer contributions to a matching RSP or defined contribution pension plan. Provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks) and offers extended health benefits coverage throughout the duration of their leave. Supports children of employees who pursue post-secondary education with an academic scholarship program (to $2,500 per child). Helps employees balance work and their personal life through flexible work hours, telecommuting, shortened and compressed work week options and a formal earned days-off program.

  • Hallmark Tubulars Ltd.

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-hallmark-tubulars" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> Offers great financial benefits including referral bonuses (to $1,000), year-end bonuses for some employees and a profit-sharing plan that is available to all employees. *Provides maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 75% of salary for 6 weeks) and offers extended health benefits coverage throughout the duration of their leave. *Supports a variety of local, national and international charitable initiatives each year and provides employees with paid time off to volunteer with their favorite community organization. *Invests in continued skills development with in-house training programs, formal mentoring, tuition subsidies for job-related courses and subsidies for professional accreditation. *Helps employees save for the future with contributions to a matching RSP plan (to 6% of salary).

  • Keyera Corporation

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-keyera-energy-management" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *New employees start at three weeks of paid vacation allowance and also receive paid time off during the holiday season as well as personal paid days-off which can be scheduled throughout the year. *Encourages ongoing employee development through a range of in-house training programs, subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, financial bonuses for some course completion and leadership training. *Offers maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks) as well as extended health benefits coverage during their leave. *Helps older employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and contributions to a defined contribution pension plan (to 6% of salary).

  • Nexen Inc.

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-nexen" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Helps employees balance work and their personal life through a variety of alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting, shortened and compressed work week options and a formal earned days-off program. *Is a strong supporter of continued education and development with generous tuition subsidies for job-related courses (to a maximum of $35,000), financial bonuses for some course completion and even manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who attend post-secondary institutions (to $2,000 per child). *Offers compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a loved one (to 100% of salary for 6 weeks). *Employees at the head office can stay in shape using an impressive 7,000 square foot onsite fitness facility that features free membership, treadmills, stationary bikes, stairmasters, rowing machines and large change rooms with shower facilities. *Dedicated to increasing Aboriginal representation in the workforce, the company established an Aboriginal partnership strategy and assigned personnel to manage Aboriginal recruitment initiatives.

  • Shell Canada Limited

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-shell-canada" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Encourages ongoing employee development through tuition subsidies for job-related courses, formal mentoring, career planning services and subsidies for professional accreditation. *Helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning workshops and defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans -- retiring employees may also take advantage of a health benefits that extends into retirement, with no age limit. *Offers exceptional financial rewards, including a share purchase plan, generous year-end bonuses, discounted financial services through the Shell Credit Union, and even discounts on gasoline purchases at the pump. *A great community citizen that ranks among Canada's leading corporate donors, supporting approximately 800 charitable initiatives last year and providing employees with up to three paid days off each year to volunteer with their favourite charities. *A diversity leader that consulted employees, religious leaders and architects to help create a unique meditation and reflection centre that is designed to meet all its employee's religious and spiritual needs.

  • Suncor Energy Inc

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-suncor" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments, extended health benefits coverage during their leave and manages an onsite daycare facility which they can take advantage of upon their return. *Invests in ongoing employee development through generous tuition subsidies (to $5,500), formal mentoring, in-house apprenticeship programs and in-house and online training options. *Manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who are pursing post-secondary education in Canada (to $1,800 per child). *Helps employees balance work and their personal life through alternative work arrangements including flexible hours, telecommuting and shortened work week options, and offers over ten personal paid days-off which can be taken at the employees' discretion. *Let's everyone share in the company's success with profit sharing and a share purchase plan option available to all employees.

  • Syncrude Canada Ltd

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-syncrude-canada" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Encourages older employees to prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and contributions to a defined benefit or defined contribution pension plan (depending on employee group). *Invests in continued skills development with in-house apprenticeship opportunities, formal mentoring, leadership training and tuition subsidies for job-related courses. *Encourages children of employees to pursue post-secondary education with an academic scholarship program (to $2,400 per child). *New employees receive three weeks of paid vacation allowance to start as well as additional personal paid days-off which can be scheduled throughout the year. *Offers compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a loved one (to 100% of salary for 1 week).

  • TAQA North Ltd.

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-taqa-north" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Offers compassionate leave top-up payments to employees who are called upon to care for a loved one (to 100% of salary for 17 weeks). *Provides new employees with an industry-leading five weeks of paid vacation allowance, in addition to personal paid days-off which can be scheduled throughout the year. *Supports a variety of local charitable initiatives each year and provides employees with paid time off to volunteer with their favorite community organization. *Invests in ongoing employee development with subsidies for job-related courses and professional accreditation and even manages an academic scholarship program for children of employees who pursue post-secondary education (to $2,000 per child). *Lets everyone share in the company's success with year-end bonuses and a profit-sharing plan available to all employees.

  • TransCanada Corporation

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-transcanada" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Encourages older employees to prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and contributions to a defined benefit pension plan or matching RSP, depending on their position. *Manages a flexible health benefits plan that allows employees to customize levels of coverage to suit their personal needs -- unused credits can be transferred to salary or savings plan. *Offers maternity leave top-up payments to employees who are new mothers and provides a subsidy for in vitro fertilization (IVF) when needed -- also follows up with flexible work options for when they are ready to return to work. *Offers great financial rewards including year-end bonuses for all employees, referral bonuses (to $2,000) and lets everyone share in the company's success with a share purchase plan available to all employees. *New employees start at three weeks of paid vacation allowance and receive additional personal paid days-off which can be scheduled throughout the year. *Manages a generous academic scholarship program for children of employees who pursue post-secondary education (to $6,000 per child).

  • Trican Well Service Ltd.

    <a href="http://www.eluta.ca/top-employer-trican" target="_hplink">Why it made the cut:</a> *Supports employees who are new parents with industry leading maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers and adoptive parents (to 100% of salary for 52 weeks) and new fathers (to 100% of salary for 37 weeks). *Invests in ongoing employee development with subsidies for tuition and professional accreditation, in-house apprenticeship opportunities, career planning services and in-house and online training programs. *Lets everyone share in the company's success with profit-sharing and a share purchase plan available to all employees. *Helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance, phased-in work options and contributions to a matching RSP plan (to 5% of salary).

The editors at Canada's Top Employers have sifted through the details and named Alberta's 60 Top Employers of 2013, with 14 oil and gas companies making the cut.

RELATED: The Best Paying Jobs In The Alberta Oil Patch

In making their decision of who should be recognized as a top employer in Alberta, editors and researchers looked at the physical workplace offered by the companies, work atmosphere, health, financial and family benefits, vacation and time off, employee communications, performance management, training and skills development, and community involvement.

"Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs," states Canada's Top Employers list backgrounder.

"The special designation recognizes the Alberta employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work."

Click through the slideshow above to see the Alberta oil patch's top employers of 2013.

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