Tech giants dominate most recommended UK companies list

8 Sep 2017 By Emily Burt

Employee voice now a crucial part of modern recruitment, say experts

Tech firms dominate the 2017 list of most recommended UK employers, with Facebook grabbing the top spot, in a Glassdoor survey released today.

Analysis of data from former and current staff members, who voluntarily reviewed and rated the companies they work for, revealed that 90 per cent of Facebook employees would recommend the company to a friend. Computing and technology company Arm took second place, while Google, Microsoft, Expedia and Cisco Systems also made the top 20.

Fiona Mullan, international vice president of HR at Facebook, said the organisation worked hard to give its employees a sense of fulfilment in their jobs, citing their “open, social and inclusive” workplace culture.

David Whitby, UK country manager at Glassdoor, added that employee recommendations and references made a significant difference in attracting informed candidates to the right jobs. “You wouldn’t eat in a poorly rated restaurant or stay in a hotel that didn’t have good customer feedback, so why apply for a job at a company that isn’t strongly recommended by the people who already work there?” he said. “[Glassdoor’s] recommend to a friend rating is a bit like a net promoter score, but for employees, so it can make a big difference to recruiting informed candidates.”

Helen Pritchard, managing director of social media marketing agency Blue Sky Digital, told People Management: “Employee voice gives candidates a real sense of what it’s like to work for a company, and their stories are most likely to resonate with a candidate on a much deeper level than a line manager selling the company… But this is also about being a great employer from start to finish, and making employees feel valued over and above their salary.”

As recruitment becomes increasingly social, experts warned that organisations must work harder to attract top talent, making employee experience a business priority.

"Jobseekers are now 'job shoppers', and businesses are at the mercy of the talent pool,” Richard Hanwell, associate director at recruitment agency The Sterling Choice, said. “Employer branding is paramount when recruiting innovative new talent; they want to work for firms that are proven to be aware of their staff's needs and catering to them, providing an unrivaled employee experience.

“Even with clever marketing messages and a huge marketing budget, a recommendation or bad review will take precedence: because it will be a first-hand account, derived from experience, and others are more likely to trust this account than a message or promise from a company. An employee can let others know if you are living up to your claims, or if a firm is simply paying lip service.” 

While tech companies may have taken the lead in employee recommendations, they have also found themselves under the spotlight for their HR practices in recent months. In a survey of 50,000 employees from workplace feedback platform ViewsHub, published last month, HR departments in technology companies were given an average effectiveness score of 2.66 out of five, falling short of the 3.45 average across 11 surveyed sectors.

Google has come under fire in recent months for its handling of a gender pay case, while rows over taxi app Uber’s workers’ rights will head back to court soon, with an Employment Appeal Tribunal hearing due later this month.

Hanwell warned that the speed at which information travels in the digital age means employers must now be more careful than ever in their treatment of staff. “The wealth of information that can be accessed from our fingers at any time, in any place, means that companies are vulnerable, not only to bad reviews from previous employees, but also unfavorable mentions on social media that can be picked up in internet searches,” he said.

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