The Top Companies to Work For

Who do actual graduate employees say are the best companies to work for? The Top Companies For Graduates To Work For in 2013/14 is the graduate employer rankings, based entirely on thousands of reviews written on by employees in their first 3 years of work at hundreds of UK graduate employers. Click on the viewer at the bottom of the page to read the full guide or check out the list of the Top 100 companies below.

If you already know who you want to apply to, or you want to see who is recruiting right now, check out the graduate jobs page.

With incredible ratings across the board (culminating in an overall average of 4.74/5) and a top three ranking in five of the ten categories assessed, Microsoft were rated the number one company for graduates to work for, for the 2nd year in a row – an outstanding achievement. With such a strong offering in all areas, it is hard to pick just a few aspects that are stand-out but Training & Support would have to be one of these. Graduates rated this area an incredible 4.94/5, which was by far the highest rating given for any company. Reviewers said that there were a “huge range” of training options available, including “lots of opportunities” to travel to attend courses,”both within the UK and in EMEA and US”...

Graduates on Barratt Developments’ graduate scheme rated their experience an amazing 4.60/5 overall, which put the house builder (an ever present in the Top Companies rankings) into their highest ever position of 2nd in the overall top 100 companies. Unsurprisingly, as one employee put it: “the company are whole-heartedly committed to their employees, I think you’d struggle to find any employees with a bad word to say.” The “phenomenal training” (rated 4.90/5) is the most frequently cited factor in our reviews with one graduate summarising that it was “the best thing about the company”. There is a wealth of training offered to graduates both formally and informally with organised “detailed and challenging training sessions” and on the job training...

“The team I work with, and the people in the wider company, make my days at work fun and interesting.”

4. Sky

“Great culture – can do attitude, lots to get involved in.”

National Grid have had a continual presence in the Top Companies For Graduates To Work For and their achievement of yet another top 5 rating is testament to both the quality and consistency of their graduate offering. This is something that has been recognised widely elsewhere this year as well, with the energy company winning a host of graduate awards including the Association of Graduate Recruiter’s ‘Graduate Development Award’ and ‘Blue Ribbon Award’ for best overall entry, as well as the National Skills Academy for Power’s ‘Power Team of the Year’ in 2012 for the best in class bespoke management performance system....

"Employees are really friendly and relaxed, help is always there whenever you need it.”

Incredibly FDM Group, the IT Services Provider, have never been ranked outside the Top 10 companies in The Top Companies Rankings. According to their graduates, this is because FDM puts their employees (and their clients) “at the top of the priority list”. This comes across in outstanding ratings from reviewers in almost every aspect of their experience. Career Progression is a perfect example of the company’s commitment to its employees. Rated a very high 4.38/5, graduates report that “there is a strong focus on career progression at FDM” with “great opportunities to grow within the company”...

“Relaxed working environment with flexible hours.”

Procter & Gamble have performed extremely highly across the board and are ranked as the 9th top company overall this year. “The company is fantastic and I really feel they have my best interests at heart” are the sorts of comments that P&G employees regularly write in their reviews. “P&G works hard to take care of its people” says another review. The company “view themselves as a place where people are employed for life” and it really isn’t unusual for graduates to stay there for the majority, if not all of their career (hardly surprising when Career Progression is rated 4.50/5)...

10. Mars

“Working for a company with products that everyone knows is good fun, and you have the opportunity to get good chocolate freebies!”

“Great people in Newton – boundless enthusiasm across the company.”

“Great culture, great people, and interesting, impactful work.”

“Sociable company so there are always parties and awards events happening.”

“If you perform well, there is the opportunity to move very quickly through the firm with promotion every 6 months.”

“Excellent training facilities, great treatment from other employees, ‘family’ like firm structure.”

16. Boots

“Supportive environment. Caring company. Lots of training and development opportunities.”

“Fantastic graduate development scheme, great colleagues, good working atmosphere, well developed processes.”

The company culture at Catlin Group, the global specialist property/casualty insurer and reinsurer was rated an incredibly high 4.82/5 and the praise from its graduates for the “very open and honest company that actually lives by the values that it advertises” is almost unanimous in our reviews. As one reviewer explains, “the company is very caring and always looks out for its employees… this is embodied in its company values (which aren’t just put on the website for show)”. Commitment to these values also leads to a 4.82/5 rating for Environmental & Ethical Awareness, the highest rating in the Insurance sector...

“It is a high performing organisation and will improve your management capabilities dramatically.”

“The ethos and people at Nationwide make it a brilliant place to work.”

Merlin Entertainments, the world’s 2nd largest visitor attraction operator, scored a very impressive 4.25/5 average score (the second highest score in this industry and 21st in the overall Top 100). Unquestionably top of the list of attributes of working for Merlin is just how “fun” it is to work there. With a very impressive average Enjoyment rating of 4.60/5 (the 9th highest score for any company across all industries), it is clear that graduates love their day-to-day job. “The company’s overall mission is to create memorable experiences” explains one reviewer “that in itself makes the job so fun”. “Working for a company which sells fun! Who wouldn’t want to do that!” adds another...

“The culture at the firm really sets us apart. Our offices are all open plan and means the firm as a whole is very non-hierarchical.”

“The training is brilliant. You have direct client contact from day one and are made to feel like a valued member of the team.”

24. Asda

"Amazing culture and team feeling, in each and every store.”

“Always unique things to motivate staff – we even have a morale officer to make sure all the staff are happy all the time!”

Grant Thornton have consistently been rated as the top Accountancy firm for graduates to work for in these rankings and the continued excellence of their graduate proposition seems to largely come down to achieving the perfect balance of being a global organisation with the culture and personal approach that would be expected from a smaller firm. “Grant Thornton are in a unique place in the market”, explains one graduate reviewer, “being large enough to offer exceptional services and global opportunities, but it is small enough that it really values each employee and is dedicated to helping me progress in my career”. As another reviewer puts it: “Grant Thornton is big enough to compete, small enough to care”...

“Good high energy atmosphere. Pride working for the company as it is seen by many as a great e-commerce success story.”

“In my opinion, the training is the best in the industry” is how one trainee sums up the guidance on offer at Freshfields and their colleagues seem to widely agree, rating Training & Support an outstanding 4.78/5 – by some way the highest rating in the industry. “There are trainee specific, team specific and department specific training sessions” and “plenty of it”, with “several lectures and seminars every week on many topics”, as well as “a wide database of other lectures online”. Arguably however, the great Training is not even the best thing about working at Freshfields...

29. GE

“Great people, great company culture, international mindset & business locations!”

One of the great things about working for easyJet is the “fantastic exposure to the business and key stakeholders” that graduates get. This “provides insight into how easyJet works and how senior employees interact with each other” which employees starting off in their career find invaluable. This is part of the reason that easyJet is one of the best rated companies overall for Management (4.41/5 on average). Almost every reviewer highlights the fact that graduates are given “real jobs”, being placed into “value-adding roles that are central to the business”....

“Professional yet relaxed approach. Working for a travel company means people are passionate about what they do!”

32. Intel

“Nice atmosphere, lots of online training available, many initiatives to create a great place to work.”

“Great culture and people, brands which I believe in and plenty of encouragement and support to progress.”

“Fantastic employer who promote work life balance and have good business morals.”

35. BP

“Good benefits package; ample funds available for training; real responsibility as a grad.”

Perhaps the most stand-out aspect of reviews for dunnhumby is how much graduates enjoy the actual work that they do there. With Enjoyment rated a very high 4.19/5, reviewers regularly describe the work in terms such as “challenging”, “interesting” and “fun”. The work is very varied and most graduates say that “every day is different” with time split between the office and out and about at a wide range of top client sites – “from Lego to Sony”. Employees at dunnhumby are passionate about the work that they do so it is common to read comments such as “I love analysing data”. A large part of this is no doubt that graduates are given real jobs with real responsibility. “You are given your own work and projects immediately – you are accountable from the start” explains one graduate....

“Great work environment with really friendly staff. It’s a successful global company that has a genuine impact on
positive innovative change.”

“Fantastic rotation programme – meeting interesting/intelligent people and great travel opportunities.”

“The company culture is very much one of feeling part of a team. It is friendly and approachable.”

“They give great training, with lots of treats. They are keen to develop and progress you quickly, and are very efficient in making this happen.”

“The scheme is an excellent training & learning mechanism, offering great benefits packages and the rotational element keeps you very engaged.”

42. Marsh

“The graduate programme provides a very structured way to develop skills and abilities in the shortest time frame and for maximum benefit.”

Great atmosphere and friendly environment – everyone is here to help and muck in. There is a superb company culture.”

Graduates say that Unipart Group has a “culture, respect, openness and can-do approach to everything” and that their employer “takes huge pride in their graduates”. This means that graduates get “extremely high” levels of responsibility and “no-one is too ‘junior’ to be allowed to solve a problem”. Responsibility was rated a very high 4.02/5 on average and Unipart reviewers say that “getting such a large amount of responsibility, and being put outside of my comfort zone at such an early stage has been brilliant for my development”. To support this early responsibility there is “amazing investment” in training and supporting graduates. “Brilliant training opportunities” include “emotional intelligence development”, “training relevant to my job” and a strong emphasis on “lean and six sigma” principles, which underpin the ‘Unipart Way’....

45. Next

“I truly don’t believe there could be a better place for training and an introduction to the industry”. Praise for the “brilliant” and “intense” training provided by Next is constant in their reviews and unsurprisingly Training & Support receives a very high 4.25/5 average rating. Next graduates are not only receiving “fantastic formal training” but they are also really encouraged to take on “real responsibility early on” so that they can learn and develop on the job too. The level of responsibility on offer to new recruits is highlighted by almost every reviewer. Then there is the outstanding Career Progression, scored a very high 4.51/5. Next’s commitment to progression is described as “excellent” and reviewers say that the “great progression opportunities” are very clear...

46. Diageo

“Inspirational and innovative business. Exciting working environment. Fantastic sales team, and world-renowned marketing.”

“Varied and interesting work with plenty of time spent away from your desk socialising within the industry or establishing/developing client relationships.”

“Good training provision. Friendly teams. Great office Good salary. High level of responsibility at a junior level.”

“Very friendly firm with lots of responsibilities given to juniors.”

“Fantastic place to work with plenty of training opportunities and a totally unique ethical and community focused organisation.”

Jaguar Land Rover offers graduate programmes in a wide-range of business areas: in everything from Engineering, Design, Purchasing and Finance, to Human Resources, Marketing, Sales & Service and IT and without doubt one thing that all its graduates agree on is that “these are excellent schemes”. First, there is the responsibility. “It’s a real role straight away, not just a graduate role which has great developmental benefits. I have real responsibility” explains one reviewer. “I am given responsibility for my own projects right from the start” adds another. Then there is the “no corners-cut training programme”, which is rated an excellent 4.38/5 average. Graduates note that “the company invests a lot of money and time in you to develop you through training and on-the-job experience” including through professional qualifications and accreditation....

“The atmosphere at Imperial Tobacco is fantastic!” raves one of the company’s graduate reviewers. “The working atmosphere in the office is friendly and relaxed” adds another and, with an average rating for Company Culture of 4.39/5, it is a sentiment clearly shared by the graduate population as a whole. Of course, such successful attributes are multi-faceted in their make-up, but Imperial Tobacco’s company values – focused on working together, continually improving, taking ownership and making the most of every opportunity – play a key role and are frequently praised by reviewers for their pervasiveness throughout the business...

“A brilliant entrance into the charity sector, helping build an extensive network of people throughout the sector.”

54. Danone

“Inspiring – Danone is such a wonderful company to work for. It is easy to be proud to work here.”

55. Nestle

“It’s a dynamic, collaborative and buzzing environment. The majority of people love what they do.”


“There is real interest in developing you as a person and managers are keen to develop people in their teams into future leaders.”

“Excellent opportunities to get involved in challenging work. Superb support from all colleagues and line managers.”

58. Tesco

“Lovely colleagues who live the values, graduates are well-supported but also get given jobs of responsibility and lots of training is provided.”

“Great company, great opportunity, real responsibility, good quality training and varied experiences.”

“Great graduate scheme. The drive and enthusiasm from the training and talent team seems to far exceed that of other companies.”

61. GVA

“Hugely varied work with many interesting and high profile projects/client that are engaging to work on.”

“Excellent training opportunities, good work culture, a good mix of social activities, interesting work and a dedicated graduate team.”

“Everyone is very friendly and there is a very good team atmosphere throughout the whole company.”

“TJX Europe is a great company to work for, with an enjoyable working environment and they are very supportive of personal and career development” is how one reviewer sums up his experience as a graduate with TJX Europe, the company behind TK Maxx and HomeSense, the leading off-price apparel and home fashions retailer. This hugely positive view is just one of many, with the environment and attention to development and progression appearing frequently as topics for praise. First, the Company Culture. Rated an excellent 4.31/5 on average, the company culture is highlighted as “very open and honest… which ensures an honest company-associate relationship”. Reviewers say that they love working in a “really dynamic, flexible working environment” which is also described as “fast-paced” and that the ‘no walls’ policy ensures that “there is no hierarchical feel”...

“The atmosphere is really friendly, and most importantly CHP believes in giving employees the responsibility they are looking for.”

66. Adobe

“Interesting, challenging and rewarding, with the opportunity to interact with extremely smart people from different companies worldwide.”

“Very interesting and exciting work at the forefront of future UK energy.”

“The graduate scheme is a really well established affair, with the chance to work on relevant and challenging projects.”

“Interesting and varied work, with a lot of freedom and autonomy right from the start. Relaxed and friendly working environment.”

The “excellent opportunities for rapid advancement” at PA Consulting mean that Career Progression was the top rated aspect at the Consultancy, with an outstanding rating of 4.52/5. Most graduates reported in their reviews that PA is a company that gives its employees control over their careers and rewards them with excellent progression based on the work that they put it in. The company achieves an excellent balance of pushing its graduates to progress while “supporting you very well”. The result, say reviewers, is that PA is a company where “you can achieve what you want to achieve”. The “supportive” and “friendly” Company Culture is scored an excellent 4.12/5, while graduates rate their colleagues an average of 4.48/5. As one reviewer summarises: “I work within a fantastic team of people who are keen to help me develop both personally and professionally (which sounds like a line but I promise it’s not!)”...

“Everyone who works here is extremely dynamic, young and fun but driven to work hard and be successful.”

72. Delcam

“Relaxed atmosphere and working conditions. Interesting problems to solve.”

“The business is truly interested in my career progression and really sees its graduates as the future of the business.”

“The work is challenging and rewarding which makes it enjoyable.”

“The training is fantastic, there are plenty of opportunities to grow within the organisation.”

76. E.ON

“I have been able to do everything I have wanted to do” says one graduate in their review of working at E.ON and this sentiment is by no means unique. Our review writers rave about the ability they are given to “steer their own careers” – mostly through the “freedom to select placements in areas of interest” and the secondment abroad which most of the schemes offer. Graduates feel that the opportunities both internationally and nationally within the company are “endless”, leading to an excellent 4.01/5 average rating for Career Progression. They also feel that they get “fantastic networking opportunities”, including meetings with the Board during induction and working on “high profile projects with senior stakeholders”...

“Excellent schemes with outstanding training and development opportunities for each division.”

78. Amey

“High level of training, allow varied experiences and responsibility, expanding and forward thinking organisation.”

“I really appreciate the ‘work hard play hard’ mentality – you are rewarded for what you achieve, but you have plenty of free time.”

Almost every reviewer praises the fact that Mindshare is a hugely social company with “great people” (Colleagues are rated 4.33/5) and an “amazing atmosphere” (the Company Culture is rated an extremely high 4.58/5). Extensive social events such as an annual ski trip, numerous sports clubs and a free company bar once a month all help with the sociable feel to working at Mindshare. As one graduate describes it, it is a “big company with a small company feel”. “Great employee benefits” and perks such as subsidised gym membership, “lunches & numerous free parties” and massages ensure an impressive average rating of 4.04/5 in the Compensation & Benefits category, one of the highest ratings in the industry...

“They really care about developing every individual and giving you the tools you need to succeed.”

“Willing to develop people into roles of responsibility, open to ideas and innovations, strives to be cutting edge.”

“Very welcoming and open company. All colleagues are dedicated to their jobs and there is a real drive for success.”

“Interesting matters, constantly learning on the job, great team, great support and varied work.”

“The graduate scheme is managed extremely well over the four years, with the ultimate aim to guide you towards chartership.”

“A great company culture and working environment and freedom to work in a way that suits you.”

“Great working environment- everyone is really supportive and you will learn a huge amount from seniors and managers around you.”

“Friendly people, good level of responsibiltiy, lots of good networking drinks/lunches.”

89. Ogilvy

“Great colleagues, good training opportunities, fun events, relaxed atmosphere.”

Graduates at InterContinental Hotels Group rate the organisation an outstanding 4.63/5 for Career Progression – one of the highest scores for any company. They explain that this comes from an impressive combination of factors, including “excellent exposure to all departments”, “great training and development opportunities” and “gaining quick responsibilities – including managing teams”. Primarily however, graduates note that IHG is a meritocracy where “if you are good, you have the opportunity to move up rather fast”. Many reviewers also emphasise that the company gives its graduates “room to be yourself” and “room to grow” which both aids progression and demonstrates the success of IHG’s “great philosophy” – the ‘Winning Ways’ values...

“The training programme which Deloitte provides is exceptional. The staff support is excellent and I am constantly learning on the job.”

“There is a friendly and social atmosphere. Good internal training courses and real opportunities for progression once you qualify.”

93. AXA

“Good benefits, friendly working atmosphere, good training levels, good level of responsibility.”

“I’ve found that if you’ve got something to say here, people will listen to you, even if you’re much their juniors”. If you are looking for responsibility from day one Steer Davies Gleave’s eighteen month graduate programme may be the place for you. Without fail almost all graduates at the transport consultancy mention “significant amount of responsibility early on” they are responsible for “producing pivotal analytical work” and “already meeting clients and managing projects after just six months”. While there is clearly “Massive responsibility from the start” graduates also feel they are “given plenty of support and training through this” with Training and Support receiving a very impressive 4.36/5 rating...

“Good office atmosphere everyone is really friendly – and everyone has real passion for the brands they work on.”

"Arcadia was always my dream company to work for. I love the variety of brands and the opportunity for development within the group. Everyone I have met is lovely and I feel like we all have a mutual ambition and want to work for such a great company." Graduates at Arcadia are consistent in their praise for the "amazing" and "fun" company culture...

“Challenging work, great exposure to the business and the markets, excellent teammates.”

“Great people, good working hours, great training, great level of expertise, great brand, supportive colleagues, numerous opportunities.”

“The training and responsibility given to graduates at BAE Systems has exceeded my expectations.”

“Very friendly and supportive team. Excellent training and I love that it is not just  a desk job.”