Awards 2003: Employer of the Year

This was a chance for voters to either get back at their employers or tell them what they were doing right. PricewaterhouseCoopers stormed to victory measuring satisfaction over categories from training to gym provision.

Readers were asked to score their employers on the basis of 11 different criteria, where a score of one was very poor and five was excellent. PwC had a particularly high score over all 11 areas measured by the survey, but it was providing those little extras for staff that really swung the vote.

One area where PwC stood out was child-care provision, where it scored almost double the average.

As a further sign of just how much the extras count, the firm notably won just as much praise for its healthcare benefits.

But PwC proves that flexibility is not just a buzzword.

Time and again comments from voters showed that making more provision for work to fit in with the demands of personal life, is a big winner with employees.

Asked what was the best thing about where they work, responses included: ‘Flexible working, trust and letting employees take control of how they do things.’

‘Flexible benefits package and flexible working,’ said one employee.

Providing flexibility creates goodwill. ‘Senior PwC management trust us to do the job and we are judged based on outputs. This allows a fun work atmosphere and great flexibility,’ explained one PwC respondent.

It’s doing the things that take the grind out of the nine to five.

‘Freedom to manage own time and work from home if necessary,’ added another accountant.

What makes winning the award all the more impressive for PwC is that it is the biggest of the Big Four.

When asked what the worst thing about PwC, responses included: ‘The firm is so big, you can sometimes feel like a needle in a haystack and it can take a while to find the person you are looking for.’

Pointing to the increasing importance employees place on leisure time as well as salary, an accountant at another of the Big Four firms revealed: ‘I only get 20 days annual leave plus bank holidays.’

Sense of belonging emerged as one of the most important factors for respondents.

This was an area where BDO Stoy Hayward scored particularly well.

‘Colleagues are friendly and supportive, which generates an excellent working environment,’ explained one BDO respondent.

‘There is an open working environment that encourages discussion between colleagues regardless of seniority,’ said another.

But, on average,it was location that got the highest score for all the firms on the shortlist.

Locating in city centres close to the train station can make all the difference when workers have a tough commute. ‘I have a daily commute that amounts to three hours,’ said one.

Other shortlisted candidates:

  • BDO Stoy Hayward
  • Deloitte
  • KPMG.

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