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Construction sector firms feature strongly in best employer top 100

An encouraging number of rankings in the Sunday Times ‘Best companies to work for’ list came from the industry. By Ross Sturley

The Sunday Times ‘Best companies to work for’ list was published recently, and contained more property and construction companies than you might have expected. For an industry that generates less than 10 per cent of GDP, to have 20 per cent of the top 100 looks like over-representation.

Top of the pile was engineer Hydrock, at fourth overall, followed closely by Lindum Group (at 13, the highest ranked building company), Drivers Jonas (15, top in property) and Davis Langdon (19, top consultant).

In all, 21 companies from the sector made the top 100.

In fact, if you add in companies such as Hill McGlynn, The Mall, and Mishcon de Reya - recruitment consultants, clients and lawyers who make a significant part of their revenues from the sector, the number rises to 26.

Also interesting was the survey’s conclusion that six of the top ten in ‘Saving the planet’ were construction and property companies: Hydrock, Drivers Jonas and Lindum were joined in that top ten by NB Real Estate, Willmott Dixon and Ramboll Whitby Bird.

Undoubtedly a presence in this listing is a positive for a company - it should make recruitment easier.

And you’d hope the happiness of staff would help retention. That has got to lead to better business.

But the survey also contends that it helps profits and share price - over the five years that it has been running, share performances of companies in the top 100 have outperformed that of the FTSE 100 by 50 per cent.

A boost for recruitment

Yes, the survey is flawed - only 311 companies were considered for membership of the top 100 list and you have to enter to be considered. But even in that number, it is unusual, statistically speaking, to see such a large group from one industry.So is construction great to work in? Are employers in the sector nicer to their staff, or just plain better than in other sectors?

Perhaps the skills shortage is starting to have a positive effect on construction employers. Whatever, this result is certainly interesting, and possibly a real promotional tool for the industry in its quest for 200,000 more employees by 2013.

Ross Sturley, principal of Chart Lane, strategy and communications consultants, is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing Construction Industry Group.

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