The top 50 most valuable companies | brands in the UK

14 June 2018

With a brand value of almost £40 billion, Shell is the UK’s most valuable company, while the closes runner up BP saw oil and energy firms dominate the top table of business in Britain. With Vodaphone, HSBC and EY also making the top five, the updated figures saw just one new entrant in the top 10.

Brand loyalty is no longer enough to guarantee continuous revenue flows. With increasing competition for space in the UK market, thanks in no small part to a number of new, agile market disruptors challenging established names by using innovative technologies, major brands are keen to do whatever it takes to cement their market share. 

Brand Finance has conducted its annual study illustrating the most valuable company brands in the UK. As of 1st January 2018, these brands have seen an increased value of 3%, from $327 billion to $337 billion over the previous year, despite uncertainty as the Brexit negotiations moved forward. This is a key improvement on last year’s performance, when British brands faced an overall 6% decline in value. The significant drop in brand value had posed a threat for the British policy-makers, brand owners, workers and consumers, however with less than a year to go until the conclusion of Brexit negotiations, the picture seems significantly rosier in 2018.

The UK remains one of the most popular places to buy brands, the world centre of the marketing and advertising industry, and also the most attractive place for brand creation, while London saw the most arrivals of new brands of any European city last year. The UK subsequently provides its people with opportunities and options, occurrence of regulatory scrutiny of takeovers is relatively rare, and workforce restructuring is considerably straightforward, particularly when compared with its European counterparts.

Top 20 most valuable brands in the UK

Commenting on the favourable results, David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance said, “Project Fear predicted that Brexit would be the end of the world as we know it, with catastrophe for UK businesses and UK brands. It is becoming clear that the UK economy is far more resilient than predicted and that UK brands are responding well to the challenge posed by Brexit. Demand is high for British brands, both by B2C consumers, B2B customer trading partners, and as takeover targets. Brexit will only increase this frenetic activity of world-beating UK brands.”

The top five brands in Britain were largely unchanged, except for a reshuffling in order. With a brand value of £39.4 billion, Shell is the UK’s most valuable company, while the closest runner up BP increased its value by 4% to hit £19.6 billion. Vodafone and HSBC both retained their places in the list despite drops in brand value, while Big Four professional services firm EY boosted its own by 28%, to £17.1 billion.

Indeed, many of the top performers were unchanged from last year, with BT, Tesco and Sky all returning to the top 10. One of the most marked shifts in gear in the list comes from the UK’s automotive sector. Land Rover is the only brand to have driven its way into the top brands of 2018, with a brand value now standing at 11.8 billion, following a 64% increase.

Elsewhere in the top 50, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Mini, Jaguar all saw a boom in brand value. Standing out from the fleet, James Bond favourite Aston Martin posted the largest of such increases in the top 50, as a 268% boost pushed its brand value to £3.6 billion.

Rounding off the top 20, telecommunications firms O2 and 3 Mobile were joined by banks NatWest and Lloyds, retailers ASDA and Sainsbury’s – who are presently locked in merger negotiations – insurance firm Standard Chartered, broadcaster BBC, and international mining giant BHP.

The top 21-50 most valuable brands in the UK

Global insurance conglomerate Aviva followed, alongside cosmetics firm Dove, telecom group EE, fashion label Burberry, and Prudential. Closing out the top 30, Dutch-British consumer goods group Unilever – which is currently unifying its headquarters in the Netherlands – was joined by Nationwide Building Society, whiskey maker Johnnie Walker, Rolls-Royce and retailer Marks & Spencer.

BAE Systems, which is currently reforming its cyber intelligence division, ranks 31st, on par with Scottish energy company SSE, and just ahead of Aston Martin and broadcaster ITV. Also valued at £3.5 billion, the brand of British Airways ranks next, ahead of banker Halifax, and MINI, on £3.4 billion.

Retailer Morrisons is positioned 38th, with a brand value £3.1 billion following the strongest growth in said value out of any of the ‘Big Four’ supermarkets in the UK. Concluding the top 40, mining company Rio Tinto and consultancy Willis Towers Watson both post a brand value of £3.1 billion.

Finally, automotive firm Jaguar, at a brand value of £3 billion, is joined by consumer goods producer GlaxoSmithKline at the same level, followed by Virgin Media and the multifaceted outsourcing firm Compass Group. Following insurance and professional services group Aon, food and drinks firm Lipton, Legal & General, automotive firm Bentley, Costa Coffee and insurer Scottish Widows conclude the top 50.


Six attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

23 April 2019

Consulting firms dominate the 25 companies named by LinkedIn as the most attractive organisations to work for in Britain. JLL, Engie, CBRE, Atkins, Schroders and GE each made the grade, with the professional services sector putting in the strongest showing of any industry in the UK.

Each year, the editors and data scientists of social business platform LinkedIn examine which firms are the most attractive to job seekers, as well as which are the best at retaining their talent. Utilising information gathered from billions of actions taken by more than 433 million members, LinkedIn leverages a data-driven approach to consider what members are doing – not just saying – in their search for fulfilling careers. The result is the Top Companies list, an annual ranking of the most sought-after companies – now in its fifth year.

Each of the previous incarnations of the list has seen a strong showing from the UK consulting industry, with its contingent including McKinsey & Company, EYBoston Consultancy Group and Accenture in 2018. This year has seen the sector continue to see its stock rise, with the diversity of the sector’s workload buoying six professional services firms which were not on the previous ranking to prominence.

Analysing the anonymised actions of British-based LinkedIn members, the company determined which firms were the most attractive through four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. As a result of this, real estate professional services firm JLL was found to be the most attractive consulting firm to LinkedIn members in the UK.

Six most attractive professional services firms to work for in UK

Ranked sixth in the overall list of companies, 2018 saw the commercial real estate services consultancy expand its London-based Ratings practice in anticipation of growing demand for real estate valuations in the UK. JLL, which boasts a global headcount of 82,000, holds UK locations in London, Norwich and Manchester, and the firm was recently named one of the world’s most ethical companies for the 12th year in a row by The Ethisphere Institute. 

Sitting 10th in LinkedIn’s ranking, Engie is a French multinational professional services firm, headquartered in La Défense, Courbevoie. While the firm primarily operates in utilities – specifically in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, natural gas, nuclear, renewable energy and petroleum – its investment in cleaner tech has also seen it come to offer a host of engineering consulting services, including feasibility studies, engineering, project management and client support. The firm’s 19,000 UK staff work from offices in London, Leeds and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

With a global headcount of 90,000, CBRE, which was ranked 13th by LinkedIn, is a real estate advisory firm, with UK offices in London, Birmingham and Glasgow. The firm oversaw the sale of a number of major locations over the course of 2018, including a key residential site in North Leigh, and an office belonging to the British Steel Pension Fund.

Atkins, which was listed 23rd, is a British professional services firm which was purchased by the SNC-Lavalin Group for £2.1 billion in 2017. With 7,300 employees in the UK, Atkins operates from locations in London, Bristol, Kingston-upon-Thames, and offers services in engineering, operations, programme and project management. Late in 2018, the firm was named one of the top employers in the UK for working mothers, receiving plaudits for its innovation in flexible working from

Schroders, a global asset management firm with UK offices in London, Bromley, Chelmsford, ranked 24th. Asset management is a fast-expanding segment of consulting, and according to LinkedIn, 43% of the professional services firm’s staff have been at the company for at least six years, while nearly a third of UK roles were filled with internal candidates in 2017. Schroders boasts a global headcount of 4,600.

Finally, multifaceted professional services firm GE was ranked 25th. The engineering, operations, information technology and advisory firm has its hand in everything from energy to health care – where it was recently nominated for a prize at the 2019 Management Consultancies Association Awards. The long-standing conglomerate said 2019 is set to be a “reset year”, while it seeks to revamp its power-related businesses at the same time that it builds on strong growth within the aviation scene.

Other sectors

Elsewhere, the financial services industry saw a high level of representation in LinkedIn’s ranking. JP Morgan was listed in second place, while Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Aviva also made the grade. This represents a decline of one listing since 2018’s figures, perhaps reflecting the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s financial sector, amid the continued twists and turns of the Brexit saga.

Retail saw a slight rebound on its decimation in last year’s ranking. Having seemingly fallen out of favour in 2018, Sainsbury’s returned this year, sitting in third place. It was joined in the top 25 by fellow ‘Big Four’ supermarket Asda – though the news that some 60,000 Asda staff could be in line to lose their paid lunch breaks under new contracts could well see the company drop off the list in 2020. Marks & Spencer also made the list. The historically up-market supermarket now runs a work-placement programme called Marks & Start, which helps single parents, people with disabilities and the homeless to build careers within the company.

Healthcare and pharmaceuticals saw three entrants in the list too. Britain’s 50 fastest-growing privately-owned pharmaceutical companies have all increased sales by at least 10% in each of their last two financial years, facing down headwinds such as Brexit and NHS spending pressures to deliver rapid growth. GSK represented the pharmaceutical sector in fourth place, while Bupa and Johnson & Johnson stood for the healthcare and hospital industry in fifth and 16th respectively.

While the technology sector ultimately hosted the ranking’s top performer, Amazon, the only other sector incumbent was Google parent company Alphabet, in 19th. Salesforce and Dell Technologies, meanwhile, dropped off the ranking, having both been present in 2018.

The oil and energy sector’s representation is supplemented by hybrid firm Engie; however, the sector only fielded two pure-play members. BP, in eighth, and Shell, in 11th, have both spent time attempting to diversify in recent years, prompted by public image crises relating to the negative impact of fossil fuels on the planet, as well declining oil prices and the rising demand for renewable energy. These dynamics have, in turn, led to new skills coming into demand within the companies. 

Finally, the list was rounded off by singular representatives of five separate industries. Representing leisure in 12th was TUI, followed by food producer Associated British Foods (17th), building materials firm Travis Perkins (20th), telecommunications giant BT (21st) and utilities firm Centrica (22nd).