The Sunday Times has unveiled its 2016 list of Best Companies to Work For. Twenty firms active in the professional services industry have made the prestigious list – four consultancies have been recognised as a ‘Best Big Company’, while six made the ‘100 Best Companies’ list and ten have been named a ‘Best Small Company to Work For’.
Every year The Sunday Times assess the quality and popularity of workplaces in the UK. Now in its 12th edition, the ‘Best Companies To Work For’ ranking celebrates the cream of Britain’s employers across four different categories: small companies (SMEs with staff of 50-250), mid-sized firms (staff of 250 - 3,000) and large companies (staff of 3,000+). The fourth category focuses on the public-sector bodies, charities and housing associations, recognised in the ‘Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For’ list.
Places in the rankings are determined by the results of a staff survey. As well as aspects like pay and benefits, and work-life balance, the survey covers topics such as whether employees believe they can make a valuable contribution to their firm’s success, how proud they are to work for their company and whether they think their organisation gives something back to their local community*. A total of 241,361 employees from 925 firms filled out questionnaires for this year’s lists, making it widely acknowledged as the most extensive research into employee engagement carried out in the country.
The ’Best Big Companies’ ranking is led by car retailer Inchcape UK, up from 8th spot last year, followed by Sytner Group, holding second spot, and financial services giant Nationwide Building Society, jumping three places this year. Among the 25 recognised organisations are four advisory firms: Accenture, breaking into the list as a new entry at #12, Big Four giant EY, placed at #13 (up one position), engineering consultancy Atkins at #17, while accounting and consulting firm Deloitte rises two places compared to last year at #20. Last year both EY and Deloitte also made the prestigious list.
“Being named one of the top ‘Best Big Companies to Work For' is certainly a highlight of the year for the firm. It is a sure sign that we are continuing to create a positive working environment where our people feel empowered to achieve their personal and professional ambitions,” comments Steve Varley, UK & Ireland managing partner.
The ‘100 Best Companies’ list is led by new entrant Simply Business, a London-based online insurance firm, with telecoms reseller Chess and Red Carnation Hotels exchanging spots two and three. The positions four and five are also held by new joiners into the ranking: marketing firm MVF, and travel comparison website Skyscanner. The highest ranked professional services firm is Peninsula Business Services, an employment law consultancy headquartered in Manchester with around 800 employees, ranked 27th, while Cambridge Consultants, a subsidiary of Altran, scooped 38th spot. Alan Richardson, CEO of Cambridge Consultants, says he is “delighted” with the result, adding: “As we continue our ambitious expansion plans (the company has doubled in size over the past four years) we are determined to preserve our unique working culture. It’s a vital element of what makes us the employer of choice for truly talented people – and it’s great to see it reflected in these results.”
Accounting and advisory firms Bishop Fleming (based in Exeter) and Anderson Anderson & Brown (located in Aberdeen) hold 49th and 52nd spot respectively, with Wilmslow-based Citation (a business services firm) and Penna (a London-based HR consultancy with nearly 400 professionals) also heralded as a ‘Best Company to Work For’.
The ‘Best Small Companies to Work For’ includes ten advisory firms, with Q5, a management consultancy with approximately 100 people located in offices in London, New York & Sydney, ranking highest (#35). Risual, an IT consultancy from Stafford, booked an improvement of 10 spots to #32, while Project One Consulting, a business consultancy with a team of around 100 across the UK, holds 43rd position. Lee Hecht Harrison, a global firm specialised in talent development and transition, Penta Consulting, established in 1998, and two market research consultancies – Marketing Sciences and eDigitalResearch – follow suit at #54 and #58.
Other professional services firms named a best employer are Bluefin Solutions (a company that specialises in IT consulting, in particular SAP services), PKF Cooper Parry (business advisory firm with a staff of 230) and Kantar Health (a consulting and market research firm with a focus on the pharmaceuticals & life sciences industry). Parry Ade Cheatham, CEO of PKF Cooper Parry, reflects: “We are thrilled to have been singled out for our outstanding employee benefits and office atmosphere. We work around an ethos of making sure each and every team member feels fulfilled, inspired and motivated at all times – which has shone through in these accreditations.”
* The categories assessed are Leadership, Wellbeing, Giving something back, Personal growth, My manager, My company, My team and Fair deal.