L.L. Bean and MaineHealth — both employers with Midcoast ties — are among the best places to work in the country, according to a Forbes ranking released earlier this month.

The Freeport-based clothing and outdoor sports retailer L.L. Bean was ranked No. 35 of 500 on Forbes 2022 list of America’s Best Midsize Employers. On America’s Best Large Employers for 2022, MaineHealth – the parent organization of Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick – was ranked No. 13 of 500.

Midsize employers are defined by having 1,000 to 5,000 employees, and large employers have more than 5,000.

According to L.L. Bean Spokesman Jason Sulham, the company has just under 5,000 employees and, as of Monday, 79 open positions. Sulham attributed the ranking, in part, to the company’s prioritization of both traditional benefits — such as an employee discount and 10% bonus in 2020 — as well as employee wellness.

“All year-round employees are given three paid Outdoor Experience days, access to our employee store and equipment use room, a comprehensive physical and mental wellness program and development support throughout their careers,” said Sulham in a statement. “We prioritized employee health and wellness throughout the pandemic through safety protocols, leave of absence, free vaccinations and pandemic pay.”

L.L. Bean also provides fertility and adoption benefits, paid parental leave, flexible schedules and elder care support benefits, Sulham added.


Freeport Economic Development Corporation Board President Mary Davis and Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tawni Whitney both said that L.L. Bean serves an important role in town, both from an economic standpoint and as a community partner.

“There’s two ways that Bean plays in the local economy, one they are a world-wide draw to Freeport,” Davis said, adding “the second thing is that by having them retain their corporate offices here in Freeport, that just means we have many, many employees that are here in Freeport every day, and so that again bolsters our local economy …”

L.L. Bean is the town’s largest employer, Whitney said, adding that the company also plays a role locally through partnerships, with an example being a small park that was created last summer with furniture donated from L.L. Bean.

MaineHeath, a nonprofit healthcare system with 12 community hospitals across Maine and New Hampshire, employs about 22,000 people. Mid Coast-Parkview Health is the local division of MaineHealth, which includes Mid Coast Hospital, Mid Coast Medical Group, Mid Coast Senior Health and CHANS Home Health & Hospice.

As of Monday, Mid Coast-Parkview Health employed 2,152 individuals. Mid Coast Hospital and its departments made up 1,889 of that total.

“Being named to a best employer list begins with hiring the best people,” stated MaineHealth Chief People Officer Scott Ballard in the release. “Our 22,000 care team members are incredibly talented, compassionate and dedicated, and supporting them is fundamental to our vision of working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.”


In 2021, according to the release, MaineHealth invested more than $103 million in pay increases for employees. The nonprofit also provides paid time off and work-life programs. In April 2021, the Press Herald reported that nurses at Maine Medical Center in Portland, which is also part of MaineHealth, voted to form their first ever labor union.

Sally Costello, Brunswick’s economic development director, said in an email that Mid Coast Hospital is a major employer for the town and plays a critical role in the local economy.

“I am not surprised that MaineHealth is being nationally recognized for their excellence as an employer as they are under great leadership here in Brunswick and throughout Maine and continue to provide a high level of transparency, effective communication, and care during this pandemic,” Costello said.

The University of Maine and The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor were also ranked on the Forbes midsize employers list at No. 160 and No. 287, respectively. The state of Maine came in at No. 435 for large employers.

Forbes published the annual rankings on Feb. 10 in partnership with the database company Statista. The lists were independently determined, according to Forbes, and companies do not pay for placement.

Employers were ranked through an anonymous, independent survey of roughly 60,000 U.S. workers at companies or organizations with at least 1,000 people in domestic operations, according to Statista. Evaluations were based on direct recommendation, where workers were asked to rate on a scale of zero to 10 their willingness to recommend their employer to friends and family.

The eight-to-15-minute survey also evaluated indirect recommendations, according to Statista, where participants rated statements on a five-point agree to disagree scale. Examples include statements about working conditions, salary and inclusivity.

A project manager for Statista declined to release further details about individual company results.

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