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John Lewis is voted the best place to work

Workers have voted high street retailer John Lewis as the company they would most like to have a job within the UK.

The department store chain was considered the most attractive employer for long-term job security, a pleasant working atmosphere and a good work/life balance. These were among the top motivating factors considered by workers after money concerns.

John Lewis narrowly beat off competition from BMW and British Airways, winning 69% of the vote, compared to 57% and 55% respectively.

The accolade was announced as part of the 2015 Randstad Award – an independent poll of 11,000 working-age adults from across the UK. The Award is the world’s largest study into employer attractiveness and branding, surveying workers across 23 countries on what they want from their ideal employer.

Ruth Jacobs, managing director of Randstad Business Support, said: “They say money isn’t everything and they’re right. Financial gain is the hallmark of the key players in the Randstad Award but ultimately not the alpha and omega of a desirable employer. People don’t see a career at John Lewis as a place to earn investment banker money; they see it as a great place to work in a much more holistic sense, as an employer that meets their needs as people, not just employees.

“Job security, a positive atmosphere and a good work/life balance come together to provide an enviable lifestyle for many. Working in recruitment, we’ve learned that money might be the most common driving factor for seeking new employment – but for a lot of people, it can’t compensate for the slightly less tangible elements of a working environment.”

The research revealed that for 20% of respondents, money was the dominating factor when looking for a job and 62% listed it in their top five important considerations. However, 54% listed long-term job security as a major motivating factor, 49% looked for a pleasant working atmosphere, 45% sought good work/life balance and 44% wanted interesting job content.

However, although John Lewis was crowned the overall winner it didn’t make it into the top three employers for men, indicating a gender split over which was the most attractive employer.

John Lewis more attractive to female workers

John Lewis was very attractive for workers aged 25 to 65 but for those under 24 a career in professional services and the possibility of higher salaries was more appealing.

Ms Jacobs said: “John Lewis is attractive to people of all ages but particularly to women. The department store chain is well known for its flexibility towards parents and helping them to progress their careers. There are many employees who have taken a career break to raise children but have been able to return to a more flexible role and continue to climb the career ladder.

“John Lewis lets them move up at pace which suits them which is a very compelling proposition for many workers.”

Retail sector facing new challenges

John Lewis was the only retailer to make it into the top five of the 2015 Randstad Award, compared to two retailers in 2014. The others in the top five all hailed from engineering and technology fields.

Ms Jacobs added: “The Award is great news for John Lewis but not for retailers in general. There has been a shift away from retailers towards engineering, automotive and technology fields indicating that other retailers are not doing enough to attract and retain staff. They are perceived to be less attractive.

“John Lewis works particularly hard to create retail excellence in a sea of engineering. They have a unique partnership structure which places the emphasis on the employees’ thoughts, suggestions and well being. It is a structure other companies have tried and failed to copy.”

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