Credit: Viaggio Routard/Flickr

Are these really the best companies to work for in Britain?

Google's slipping and Expedia takes the top spot, but why has there has been such a shake-up in the Glassdoor rankings?

by Rebecca Smith
Last Updated: 30 Jun 2016

When asked to think of the most attractive places to work, Google often springs to the forefront of people’s minds with its futuristic offices and long list of employee benefits. But, it looks like the tech giant may have got complacent if Glassdoor’s latest survey of the UK’s best companies to work for is anything to go by.

Google was nowhere to be seen in the top five, toppled from the top spot by travel firm Expedia and falling to eighth place. The jobs website carried ranked firms with more than 1,000 workers on employee satisfaction based on reviews given by its users over the past year. At a minimum, employers considered for the list need to have received just 25 company reviews during the eligibility period, so it’s far from a comprehensive compilation, but it does throw up some interesting findings.

While Google has become renowned for its employee perks (or ingenious methods for keeping employees at work for as long as possible, depending on your viewpoint), Expedia secured its first place rating of 4.4 with praise for its perks including discounts on hotels and deals.

There’s been increasing attention devoted to the discussion of work-life balance but interestingly both Expedia and second-placed Hays secured top scores despite mentions of long hours required by the staff. Perhaps all the perks make up for long hours spent at the desk. 

Thousands of users were encouraged to rate how satisfied they were with their job overall, along with how well they felt their chief executive led the company and whether they would recommend their employer to a friend. Other elements such as career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values and work-life balance were also taken into consideration, with a final score out of five given to the top 25 firms.

The 2015 list saw a considerable shake-up from 2014, with 15 of the 25 firms new to the list for this year, perhaps suggesting it’s easier said than done to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to talent attraction and retention. Or, maybe more simply that more companies are concentrating on it amid fierce competition, so the fluidity of the list is starting to reflect their efforts.

Of course it could also be that more execs are getting wind of the Glassdoor rankings and are dropping subtle blanket email hints to their employees with a link. It’s anonymous feedback though, so you’d have to be pretty confident in your employees' satisfaction to encourage comments on Glassdoor.

As well as Google dropping to eighth place, John Lewis fell from second to sixteenth place. Google also fell out of favour on the equivalent in the US,  where Airbnb took first place, management consultants Bain & Company came second and software maker Guidewire came third.

Back in the UK, it’s been a good year for both Unilever and easyJet. The former came top in MT’s final rankings of Britain’s Most Admired Companies and took ninth place in Glassdoor’s assessment of the UK’s best companies to work for. The airline came in fourth on MT’s list, with CEO Carolyn McCall also picking up the coveted Most Admired Leader award, and came 12th in Glassdoor’s survey.

The top ten best companies to work for in the UK: 

1)   Expedia

2)   Hays plc

3)   AKQA

4)   GE

5)   Schuh Limited

6)   Oxfam

7)   ARM Holdings

8)   Google

9)   Unilever

10) London Underground

Interesting that London Underground features, what with the summer tube strikes and frequent threats of repeats. MT wonders if the rankings might swap around again should the Night Tube ever be rolled out.

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