The best companies to work for in the UK including Google and Apple
What makes a company great to work for? We all want good pay, sensible management, and great culture — though benefits like employee discounts and in-office yoga don’t hurt, either. To help you decide where to send your CV, here’s a selection of five of the best tech companies to work for in the UK, compiled using data from Glassdoor and LinkedIn.
The best companies to work for in the UK:
Google (or Alphabet)
If you can get a job at Google, or its parent company Alphabet, you may want to nab it: staff working at the tech behemoth rate it well on Glassdoor, where it was named 2018’s best place to work. On LinkedIn it was rated at 22nd, after fellow tech giants Facebook and Apple, but still among the top companies in the UK. On the workplace rating site, 89% of staff would recommend it to a friend and 94% approve of CEO Sundar Pichai.
But why is Google so popular? Staff praise the “fun culture”, free food and “baristas in every building”. Oh, and there’s also the privilege of being “surrounded by smart people”. There are complaints about internal office politics, as well as differences of opinion with the Silicon Valley head office, and long hours, with some staff saying they work well into the night. Pick a job that’s at the level you’re happy working at as well, as reports suggest progression can be slow.
Famous for its brightly coloured offices, Google has new headquarters stretching out behind Kings Cross station in London, with plans for an indoor sports pitch, rooftop park with running track, and massage rooms. In the UK, Google focuses on both sales and engineering, so there’s plenty of tech jobs available. If you’d rather opt out of Google, also consider Apple or Facebook — both rank highly, too.
Call it the distortion field, pin it on an obsession with being the next Jony Ives, or perhaps its the prestige associated with the iPhone — whatever the cause, Apple continues to be a popular place to work for Brits. The phone, tablet and laptop maker squeaked into Glassdoor’s top ten ranking at ninth place — up from 41st in 2017 — where 79% say they’d recommend working there to a friend, and just missed the top ten on LinkedIn.
Why is Apple so popular then? Glassdoor reviewers report Apple has great benefits and a “super fun work environment”. An iOS specialist in Birmingham described the leadership team as “awesome”, saying the company puts nearly as much effort into making staff happy as it does customers. Plus, you can be both customer and staff: there are big discounts on Apple products, so you’ll always have the latest iPhone at a cut-rate price.
Reports on work-life balance are mixed; some projects see long hours. And be warned: one reviewer said Apple can be “very American”, complaining there’s “too much clapping” and can “seem like a cult” — as one put it, “everyone drunk on the ‘KoolAid’.” If that doesn’t put you off, head here for Apple’s jobs in the UK.
Not a fan of applause or cultish enthusiasm? Head to a different tech giant, with both Google and Facebook ranking highly.
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LinkedIn ranked ASOS, the online clothes shop as its best place to work in 2018 and over on Glassdoor, three-quarters of staff would recommend working at ASOS to a friend. If you’re eager to land a job there, handily, the company has said it’s planning to hire more staff this year across its Watford and London offices.
Alongside one heck of an employee discount and weekly sample sales, ASOS also offers long-service awards. Staff report on Glassdoor that the company offers plenty of holiday time, short Fridays with 3pm finishes during the summer, and onsite yoga – which should help your balance, as well as your work-life balance. Others repeatedly note ASOS has great summer and Christmas parties, though there’s a few concerns about drinking culture, too.
For tech workers in particular, reviews describe it as having “lots of opportunities to develop yourself”, as well as plenty of changes to “work on the latest technologies”. According to an ASOS reply on Glassdoor, the company has a secondment scheme within its tech department to help employees try new roles and develop skills.
There are a few red flags, including complaints about management’s “top-down decisions” and calls for “better communication…as the technical team are very unhappy”, but frankly find us a company where front-line staff don’t say the same. Another staffer complained about the “macho” IT department; ASOS noted it has a “very active” women in technology group, which offers mentorship and leadership development.
Boston Consulting Group
Rounding out the top ten on LinkedIn’s ranking of the best companies to work for in the UK is Boston Consulting Group – a massive management consultant firm that’s investing heavily in IT, reportedly increasing by half the number of roles it advertised last year. While it didn’t make Glassdoor’s ranking, it’s well reviewed: 86% of staff on the site said they’d recommend it to a friend, with 93% approving of CEO Rich Lesser.
What’s so appealing about building IT for management consultants? The company is big on social activities, and plans retreats, family fun days and volunteering projects. Reviewers cite active corporate efforts to encourage work-life balance and a laid-back culture. However, as the work is often project based, others point out it’s not always nine-to-five — you may be working late if clients demand it.
Not keen on heading to Boston, Massachusets? Don’t worry, they have offices in the UK, too. Boston Consulting’s job listings are here. Like the idea of helping clever sorts get their work done? LinkedIn and Glassdoor also rate accountancy firm EY and rival consultancies Accenture or McKinsey and Company.
It may not be as sexy as Google or Apple, but Salesforce has higher approval ratings over on Glassdoor, where 88% of reviewers would recommend it to a friend and 97% approve of CEO Marc Benioff. With those scores, the business-tech giant picked up the fifth-place ranking on Glassdoor, and also made LinkedIn’s top 20.
Why is Salesforce so popular? Its office culture is famous: employees are urged to consider themselves part of the “Ohana”, a Hawaiian word for family that includes the idea of being responsible for each other. Benioff picked up the idea while on sabbatical in Hawaii, bringing the idea back with him when he founded Salesforce a few years later.
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What do the Salesforce Ohana over on Glassdoor say? They praise the company for good benefits, allowing remote working, and having a “great atmosphere” with “lots of opportunity to learn and grow“. On the downside, the company is growing and expanding so quickly, there are complaints that it’s hard to keep up, with a “dizzying array of communication channels to deal with” and so much information that it’s “too much to handle it properly”.
And, if you’re not a fan of office drinking culture, it’s worth noting that the tech firm banned booze from the workplace. Last year Benioff said it was “unfair to the Ohana who either do not want it or are intolerant of it” — contrary to plenty of other tech firms that have in-office taps of free beer. Don’t worry, Salesforce staffers can still go to the pub after work, they just can’t keep a keg in the break room.