Department store John Lewis has come out top in a survey of the best companies to work for. Almost 11,000 adult workers were asked who they most wanted to work for in the UK for the Randstad 2015 Awards, the world’s largest study into employer branding. The popular department store came out top with 59% of workers voting for them, narrowly beating off competition from BMW at 57% and British Airways at 55%. It is the fourth consecutive year John Lewis has been named in the top three, indicating a consistently strong employer brand with high awareness and high attractiveness to employees.
Money important but not the only consideration for the most desirable employer
Twenty per cent of those asked listed salary and benefits as their top factor when considering where they wanted to work and 62% cited it in their top five criteria for job selection.
However, this wasn’t the only consideration with workers when considering John Lewis’ attractiveness as an employer. 54% said long-term security was important, 49% looked for a pleasant working atmosphere, 45% wanted a good work/life balance and 44% also wanted interesting job content.
While research carried out by Randstad as part of the award showed that salary and employee benefits dominated the most important aspect of employment for respondents when looking for a job – money led the way with 20% of respondents listing it as the single most important factor and 62% giving it a place in their top five – John Lewis’ attractiveness was based on a combination of long-term job security, a pleasant working atmosphere and a good work-life balance – the three categories most likely to appear in respondents’ top five motivating factors after monetary concerns.
Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Business Support, who’s specialisms include retail, said: “John Lewis clearly offers employees much more than good remuneration. They know they won’t be earning investment banker money there but that’s not what they’re after. Instead, they get a sense of belonging, they know it is a good place to work and that John Lewis is an employer who rewards its staff not only financially, but holistically too.
“Money is a great motivator but it isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to job satisfaction. As experienced recruiters, we have seen time and again that whilst money is often the driving force behind looking for a new job it isn’t the only thing. A great atmosphere, job security and a good work/life balance can mean the difference between an average employer and a brilliant one and as much as the financial reward is nice, it doesn’t always override those other elements.”
John Lewis more popular with women than men but offers wide appeal for all ages
Although overall John Lewis was seen as the most attractive employer it didn’t make it into the men’s top three with most men preferring to work for BMW. The Award research also found that John Lewis was particularly attractive to workers aged 25-65 but held less appeal for 18-25-year-olds.
The survey result showed younger people were more attracted by higher salaries in professional services companies such as accountancy or consultancy firms.
Ruth Jacobs said: “John Lewis is particularly popular with women, an indication perhaps of the positive work it has done in helping women by offering them flexibility, especially if they are working parents.
“John Lewis is well-known for consulting its staff and for allowing employees to move at a pace that feels right for them. Rather than dictating their promotions, career moves and so on, John Lewis encourages and supports them on career breaks, allows them to return to more flexible roles that promote positive work/life balance and helps them to secure promotion when it feels right. For women who may have encountered inflexible attitudes with other employers it is a very attractive proposition.”
A challenging year for retail
John Lewis was the only retailer that made it into the top five with the rest of the 2015 Randstad Award key players hailing from the technology and engineering fields, compared to 2014 when two retailers occupied the top positions
Ruth Jacobs concluded: “John Lewis’ unique Partnership structure is much admired by other companies but not often emulated. Yet, it puts the focus firmly on their employees and their value to a company. This positive approach to staff treatment has led to them being a beacon of retail excellence amongst a raft of talented and attractive technology and engineering firms.
“John Lewis has bucked the trend as the retail sector as a whole continues to face difficulties. What workers want from an employer is changing as shown by the shift away from retail to other sectors in the Randstad Award. Retailers need to make sure they take on board this change if they want to continue to attract the best and most talented staff.”