LinkedIn Top Companies 2018: Where the UK wants to work now

From banking to tech, retail to automotive, this year’s UK Top Companies come from a wide array of industries. But they all have one thing in common: They’re the companies where UK professionals want to work now.
How do we figure out where people want to work? Well, we get a helping hand from our data. The Top Companies list is based on the billions of actions taken by LinkedIn members and looks at four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. (We exclude LinkedIn and Microsoft from all LinkedIn Lists. You can learn more about our methodology here.)
Share the list and join the conversation using #LinkedInTopCompanies.

Here are this year's top 25 companies in the UK.

A strong performance: While 2017 proved a difficult year for British high street retailers, online clothes and accessories firm ASOS went from strength to strength. In the last four months of 2017, the London-headquartered company’s sales were up 30%and its active customer count reached a whopping 16 million. To support this upward trajectory, ASOS increased its headcount by 30% in 2017 and is looking to hire a further 1,000 employees this year.
Global headcount: 4,057
Encouraging loyalty: Sticking around at ASOS really pays: The firm has implemented “long service awards” – they vary depending on time spent at the company, but employees can enjoy getting a product on the site named after them, a financial reward and extra time off each year.

See more jobs at Asos

Gender issues: It’s been an awkward few months for the public broadcaster due to an ongoing gender pay gap-related controversy. The company’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, stepped down in protest over pay discrepancies and, weeks later, six prominent male BBC presenters agreed to take a salary cut. Nevertheless, the “Beeb” is still proving a desirable place to work and has been winning awards left, right and centre: it took home a record number of accolades at last year’s Baftas.
Global headcount: 21,271
Staff retention: The company only increased its headcount by 1% in 2017, according to LinkedIn data, but once employees join they usually stick around for a while – the average employee tenure at the BBC is 7.4 years.

See more jobs at BBC

Gateway to business stardom: For those looking to rise to the very top, there’s no better launch pad than McKinsey. The prestigious consulting firm is a breeding ground for the Fortune 500 C-suite, counting executives like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and former Boeing CEO James McNerney as alumni. McKinsey is also famous (and, to some, infamous) for its influence within powerful corporations and governments all over the world.
Global headcount: 25,000
Cream of the crop: Getting a spot at McKinsey is no simple feat. The firm is said to receive an estimated 225,000 applicants every year for about 2,000 spots. What are they looking for? “In all 60 countries where we hire, we look for very smart problem solvers,” the company tells LinkedIn. It also doesn’t hurt if you have data science, maths, or design chops.

See more jobs at McKinsey & Company

Luxury retail: The name “Richemont” may not ring a bell, but it’s likely you’ve heard of at least one of the company’s subsidiaries, which include Cartier, Chloé and Jaeger-LeCoultre. The Swiss luxury group is ramping up its retail strategy and earlier this year launched an offer to take full control of Milan-listed luxury e-retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter in a $3.3bn (£2.4bn) deal.
Global headcount: 29,000
Experiencing the craftsmanship: Richemont’s new-starters get to jet over to the firm’s headquarters in Bellevue, Geneva, for a two-day induction that includes a visit to some of its manufacturers and a workshop on watchmaking. The HQ features lush gardens, a 19th-century chalet and sleek glass structures designed by renowned French architect Jean Nouvel.

See more jobs at Richemont

Rising profit: It’s been a bumper year for this international luxury group, too. In fact, Kering – which owns brands such as Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga and Brioni – experienced its most profitable year on record in 2017, with operating profit surging 56.3% to €2.95bn (£2.6bn). To support its growth, Kering increased its headcount by 8% last year, according to LinkedIn data. One cloud on the horizon though: Kering faces allegations that it used a Swiss-based scheme to avoid paying an estimated €2.5bn (£2.2bn) in tax since 2002.
Global headcount: 44,055
HR and IT growth: Sales is the biggest department at Kering, according to LinkedIn stats, but the company had a real focus on boosting its human resources and IT teams in 2017 – it grew headcount across these two areas by nearly 20% last year alone.

See more jobs at Kering

Banking on great tech: America’s biggest bank, JPMorgan has delivered record results seven out of the last eight years. CEO Jamie Dimon attributes the company's success to key investments – in "people, systems, and products". The firm spends billions each year on technology, so while it needs bankers, accountants and salespeople, it also has lots of openings for infrastructure engineers, mobile UX designers and data analysts. Dimon announced earlier this year, though, that the firm may cut its 16,000-strong UK workforce by more than a quarter if financial rules diverge after Brexit.
Global headcount: 240,000
Creative passion: Art buffs will feel at home at JPMorgan – the firm says it has one of the oldest and largest corporate art collections in the world. The JPMorgan Chase Art Program oversees more than 30,000 objects in 450 corporate offices worldwide, with items including the dueling pistols used by American politicians Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.

See more jobs at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Read more: Amid Brexit and unprecedented industry transformations, five financial institutions made the LinkedIn Top Companies list in the UK this year.Find out why.
Endless expansion: Seattle-headquartered Amazon announced plans last year to open a giant new warehouse in Bristol, creating more than 1,000 permanent jobs in the region. In 2017, the retail giant also announced its $13.7bn (£9.94bn) purchase of Whole Foodsand a move into cashier-less stores, called Amazon Go. Stubbornly frugal, Amazon still sits many employees at bare-bones desks made out of wooden doors – but they now can be powered up to standing-desk height.  
Global headcount: 566,000
Can we patent that? Amazon’s inventors have won more than 2,300 patents in the past year, covering everything from Kindle cases to predictive restaurant ordering. Company founder Jeff Bezos is a co-inventor in at least 15 filings.

See more jobs at Amazon

Hiring drive: The professional services giant was on something of a hiring spree in 2017, bringing on nearly 80,000 new staff members globally, including 4,225 in the UK. The firm also launched a global network of growth and innovation centers, called EY Wavespace. The aim? To help clients get to grips with the latest innovations in technology, enabling them to move with the times.
Global headcount: 250,000
Encouraging flexibility: The company prides itself on the fact it offers – and actively encourages – flexible working, with employees able to work at EY’s offices, at home, on the move or at client spaces.

See more jobs at EY

Streamlining: From a finances point of view, 2017 was a great year for the high street bank: it recorded pre-tax profits of $17.2bn (£12.3bn) – an increase of 11% on the previous year. But this financial success was partly due to cost-cutting measures, which included redundancies. While some employees lost their jobs in 2017, the firm says it actually filled 50,000 roles last year, and is planning to fill as many in 2018. The bank has however made headlines recently for its gender pay gap – at 60% it’s the largest reported by a major company in the UK so far.
Global headcount: 230,000
Open about mental health: During the month of October, HSBC highlights mental health awareness globally. “We share stories of colleagues who have been affected in some way by mental illness. Most importantly we make sure everyone knows where to go for support,” the company told LinkedIn.

See more jobs at HSBC

A global force: This American worldwide management consulting firm has 90 offices in 50 countries, including four locations within London alone. It’s been putting a particular focus on expanding its IT, human resources and business development teams over the past year, with the number of IT roles advertised in 2017 increasing 56% on the previous year.
Global headcount: More than 14,000
An active events calendar: The firm has a Social Activities Committee, which is responsible for putting together a year-round programme of events. Locally planned events include office-wide retreats, family fun days, sports and fitness competitions, and community service projects. The firm said taking part in such activities “sparks creative solutions, ignites collaborative opportunities, and creates better and deeper insight”.

See more jobs at Boston Consulting Group

Record profits: High-end department store Selfridges announced in October an 18% increase in annual profits, which reached a record £180m. “This wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of our teams, and last year we gave everyone an extra day’s holiday in celebration,” said the firm.
Global headcount: 7,500 across its multiple stores
Overseas opportunities: Selfridges isn’t the only department store owned by Selfridges Group; there’s also Brown Thomas, Holt Renfrewn and de Bijenkorf. “Often people don't know that we are part of a larger group of companies with sister companies based in Ireland, Canada and the Netherlands, which gives some people the opportunity to move internationally,” the firm told LinkedIn.

See more jobs at Selfridges Group

Spaceship has landed: As the world's most valuable brand, Apple also seems to be the world's most scrutinised. Last year, much attention was focused on the roll-out of the £1,000 iPhone X, but headlines were also grabbed by the firm’s glassy new circular headquarters in the US. In January, HMRC revealed it was forcing Apple to cough up £137m in extra tax after it conducted an extensive audit into the company’s UK operations.
Global headcount: 123,000
Apple sauce: There’s a range of benefits on offer for Apple employees, including a 25% discount on the company's devices, free gym membership, a generous health/dental insurance package and Apple will even pay to freeze female employees’ eggs if they're looking to defer parenthood.

See more jobs at Apple

A long history: Barclays traces its roots to 1690, starting as a goldsmith banking business in London. Today, the company has more than 1,400 branches across the UK, more than any other bank, according to research from UBS. While it faces serious charges from UK fraud regulators over a $3bn (£2.2bn) loan to Qatar, it has continued to recruit talent, growing its finance, business development and sales teams in 2017.
Global headcount: 120,000
Reducing interview jitters: Last year, Barclays launched a campaign to give graduates a helping hand ahead of their job interviews at the firm. It provided city-centre apartments in London, Birmingham and Manchester for free for up to two nights to reduce costs for cash-strapped graduates and remove some of their worries ahead of their big day.

See more jobs at Barclays

Modest beginnings: Now the world’s largest cosmetics firm, L’Oréal had modest beginnings, starting in 1909 when a young French chemist developed a new hair dye formula. Fast forward to 2018, and the company has employees across 60 countries and filled over 13,600 positions last year. L'Oréal has made a concerted effort to increase diversity in its adverts and made history early this year by casting a hijab-wearing model in one of its major hair care campaigns.
Global headcount: 82,606
What’s in a name? L'Oréal doesn’t give two hoots about job titles. Employees have both a flexible job title and job description which, the firm says, enables people to “go above and beyond” in their roles. “For us, flexibility is key to innovation.”

See more jobs at L’Oréal

Fighting rogue drones: Founded in London 26 years ago, Vodafone now predominantly operates in Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania, with networks in 26 countries. The telecoms giant has been working on some interesting and perhaps unexpected projects – last year it tested technology designed to track and control rogue drones to prevent them from getting in the way of aircraft and to stop them hovering over “no-fly zones” such as prisons.
Global headcount: 120,000
Back to work: Vodafone runs a programme called ReConnect, encouraging people to join the workforce again after a career break. It means that, for a period of six months, women returning to work after maternity leave will receive full pay while working four days a week.

See more jobs at Vodafone

Brexit impact: Finance giant Goldman Sachs is currently building its new European HQ in London. Plans for the building have been on the drawing board since 2012, but employees aren’t expected to move in until 2019. Goldman boss Lloyd Blankfein said last year that, due to Brexit, the firm was suspending plans to shift some of its operations from New York to London. More recently, he tweeted an aerial shot of the new HQ alongside the words “expecting/hoping to fill it up, but so much outside our control”. Earlier this month, the firm announced a gender pay gap of 55.5%, meaning men at Goldman Sachs earn more than twice the average hourly pay of women.
Global headcount: 34,400
Ms. management: This year Goldman Sachs celebrates the 10th anniversary of its 10,000 Women initiative, which has helped women entrepreneurs in 56 countries with business training, mentoring, and access to capital.

See more jobs at Goldman Sachs

UK expansion: Facebook opened a new office in London in December and said it would create 800 new jobs in the capital over the following 12 months, increasing its UK workforce by more than 50%. (Though, the good employment news may have been overshadowed by other headlines, from its alleged mishandling of Russian ads and potential misuse of member data to an announcement that it will overhaul its News Feed.) The firm has had offices in the UK for the past decade, but the new site will enable it to increase its headcount here to more than 2,300 people. The new London office will be Facebook’s biggest engineering hub outside the US, with more than half of those based in the new site set to focus on engineering.
Global headcount: 25,100
Expanding benefits: Facebook extended its bereavement leave policy last year to up to 20 days, a policy developed after Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg suddenly lost her husband.

See more jobs at Facebook

Changing times: In order to adapt to changing customer behaviour (more people banking online, fewer going in-branch), Lloyds has made a series of branch-closure and job-cut announcements over recent months. In February, the UK lender said it planned to axe 930 jobs, but in more positive news, said it also intended to hire an extra 465 people across its various business lines.
Global headcount: 75,000–80,000
Focus on diversity: Lloyds has a detailed inclusion and diversity strategy, which has helped the group gain a place on the Stonewall list for its inclusiveness of LGBT people, a gold standard from the Business Disability Forum for its approach to disability and a 2017 Top Employer award from workingmums.co.uk.

See more jobs at Lloyds Banking Group

Future-focused: A global management consulting firm with clients in 120 countries across more than 40 industries, Accenture sees its role as helping the world's biggest companies with their biggest problems. To make sure its employees are up to that challenge, Accenture spent over £700m last year in instruction and professional development to help its workforce stay on top of areas such as cloud, robotics and A.I. It also acquired 37 new businesses, including firms with expertise in information security and Agile development.
Global headcount: 411,000
Game on: To better acquaint new hires with what it does, Accenture developed a 25-level video game app, Sky Journey, in which players run an airport using real business solutions developed by the firm.

See more jobs at Accenture

Island life: Cloud-based business software giant Salesforce encourages employees to partake in its "Ohana" culture, which means “family” in Hawaiian. “When you’re only focused on the product and not on the culture and not on your community, that’s when you can have a problem,” CEO Marc Benioff says.
Global headcount: 30,000
Taking responsibility: Benioff has been described as “woke" and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. He’s called for more government regulation of tech and social media, comparing the industries’ addictive wares to cigarettes. And rejecting what’s become a modern cultural norm with companies boasting beers on tap in break rooms – Salesforce banned office drinking, calling alcohol a drug whose presence is unfair to some employees.

See more jobs at Salesforce

A thwarted acquisition: The UK's largest pay-TV broadcaster made headlines in January after a UK regulator put the brakes on Rupert Murdoch’s £11.7bn bid to take full control of it. Meanwhile, it’s been business as usual at the firm’s HQ in west London, which has a hanging glass box at the centre that’s home to the Sky News studio.
Global headcount: 30,000
Talent search: The telecoms giant, which hired 9,000 people last year across the UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria, plans to hire another 9,000 this year and is particularly on the lookout for data scientists and digital marketers. Employees at the firm have some interesting and rather unusual job titles, from Jedis and OTT persistence leads to magic developers and scenic carpenters.
The behemoth: Few companies carry the reach of Google, the largest Alphabet division. As journalist Charles Duhigg recently wrote: “Google has succeeded where Genghis Khan, communism and Esperanto all failed: It dominates the globe.” The company controls the market for search, and alongside Facebook, much of digital advertising, too. Not even an internal culture war seems to have dissuaded jobseekers. Google receives 1.1 million applications annually and finally started work on its new British headquarters in London in November, years after it was first announced.
Global headcount: 80,110
Who’s near the boss? In a sign of its influence, the team that now sits closest to Google CEO Sundar Pichai at headquarters is Google Brain, the A.I. research lab that could power Google’s next advancements, the New York Times reports.

See more jobs at Alphabet

Track record: While Virgin now has thousands of employees spread across 35 countries, the firm famously began with just two men: Richard Branson and Nik Powell, who formed a small, independent record shop way back in the 70s. The group now owns over 60 businesses, ranging from space travel to healthcare, and mobiles to books, boasting a massive 60 million customers worldwide.
Global headcount: 75,700
Failure’s not always bad: Virgin has an interesting take on success. The company said it’s not a fan of “over-complicating things with too many rules”, encouraging employees to try new things and not fear failure. “It's a great place to be if you're comfortable with autonomy, can dream big, work hard and are resilient to the unexpected!”

See more jobs at Virgin

A rollercoaster few years: Volkswagen is still dealing with the ramifications of the emissions scandal of 2015, in which 11 million cars worldwide were fitted with software intended to give false readings during emissions testing. Regardless, the German automaker’s sales have continued to motor ahead, with sales rising 4.3% last year. Volkswagen Group has over 950 permanent employees based at its UK headquarters in Milton Keynes.
Global headcount: 650,000
Petrol-heads’ delight: All permanent VW employees get a brand new car every four months – they’re able to order the specific make and model they desire and it's delivered to them here in the UK. “It's a great perk and allows our people to experience our wonderful products day in, day out,” the firm told LinkedIn.

See more jobs at Volkswagen

Still scrappy: Though Dell Technologies was founded in 1984 by 19-year-old Michael Dell, the company still sees itself as a startup. Just a very large one – one that generated $74bn (£53bn) in revenue last year through its operations in 180 countries. Dell likes to fill positions internally, but looks for a love of innovation and technology in new hires. The company invests $4.5bn (£3.2bn) in R&D each year. The result? The company has 22,275 patents or patent applications under its belt.
Global headcount: 140,000
Flexibility first: The Connected Workplace Program, Dell’s highest-rated perk, allows employees to work where and when is best for them, focusing on the value of results. The company’s goal is to increase participation to 50% of its workforce by 2020.

See more jobs at Dell Technologies

Additional reporting by: George Anders, Bruce Anderson, Chip Cutter, Susy Jackson, Lorraine Lee and Scott Olster.
LinkedIn data sourced from LinkedIn Premium Business Insights. Photo credits: Getty Images.
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