Fiona Smith Columnist

Fiona writes on workplace issues, including management, psychology, workplace design, human resources and recruitment. She is a former Work Space editor at The Australian Financial Review and has also covered property, technology, architecture and general news.

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Australia’s 20 most popular places to work

Published 07 December 2012 05:31, Updated 10 April 2013 07:40

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Australia’s 20 most popular places to work

RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson has managed to present her company as a fun place to work – a tactic used as marketing gold by companies such as Google, online retailer Zappos and Adidas. Photo: Rob Homer

Some companies are talent magnets. While other organisations scramble around trying to find talent, others are deluged by good people who would drop everything for a chance to get on staff.

Google is one of the biggest employment brands in the world. It is said the United States-based company receives one million job applications a year and the recruitment process is one of the toughest.

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So, when BRW looked at data from this year’s Great Place To Work survey, it was no surprise to find that the local operations of Google topped the Top 20 list of talent magnets.

Google has only 600 employees in this country, but it received 58 more job applications than there are workers.

The second company on the list makes the process of looking at popular companies interesting. It is RedBalloon, a relatively small Sydney company that sells experiences online to companies and individuals.

With only 54 employees, RedBalloon receives 55 times more job applications than it has workers.

When you think about the difference in marketing budgets between the ubiquitous Google and the tiddler RedBalloon (which squeezes its operations into a Pyrmont terrace), it appears that the experience company is doing a good job at promoting its employer brand.

RedBalloon employee experience manager, Megan Bromley, says all the job applications are funnelled through the company website and, in her five years at the company, only a handful of jobs have been filled by recruitment companies.

So the company has managed to become a talent magnet without the advantage of a recruitment campaign.

Like many of RedBalloon’s employees, Bromley says she was working happily at another company, but when using RedBalloon to buy a present for her brother skipped onto the company recruitment page and saw a job that suited her.

“I thought that opportunities like this don’t come up very often,” she says.

The founder of RedBalloon, Naomi Simson, is also a good promoter and has managed to present her company as a fun place to work – a tactic used as marketing gold by companies such as Google, online retailer Zappos in the US and the third-placed company on our list, Adidas.

Simson has also recently been chosen to be a LinkedIn “thought leader”, which means she contributes blogs that are promoted internationally on the site. Since those articles started appearing, even more applications have come through the website, especially from overseas, Bromley says.

Although the company does pay referral bonuses of $1000 for each successful hire that comes through an employee’s suggestion, Bromley hasn’t had to pay many.

“It’s a tough recruitment process to go through,” she says. The company is very careful to make sure new hires fit into the vibe.

Adidas and stationery retailer kikki.K, are popular with job seekers who love their products and want to be associated with the brands. Overall, however, there is a preponderance of IT companies in the top 20, with a smattering of recruitment, marketing and training businesses.

The Talent Magnets list is drawn from the 291 companies entered and 68,005 employees who took part in the Great Place To Work Institute’s annual survey. The top 20 Talent Magnets on the list are as follows:

  1. Google Australia: Information technology, 600 employees, 58 times more applications than jobs in the company.
  2. RedBalloon: Experiential gift retailer, 54 employees, 55 times more applications than jobs.
  3. Adidas Australia: Sports apparel and merchandise, 484 employees in Australia and New Zealand, 53 times more applications than jobs.
  4. Employment Office: Staffing and recruitment, 38 employees, 53 times more applications than jobs.
  5. Marble Group: Recruitment, 46 employees, 37 times more applications than jobs.
  6. E-Web Marketing: Digital marketing agency, 35 employees, 31 times more applications than jobs.
  7. C3 Business Solutions: Information management and business intelligence, 69 employees, 29 times more applications than jobs.
  8. Solentive: IT and software, 35 employees, 28 times more applications than jobs.
  9. Adconion Media Group: 76 employees, 26 times more applications than jobs.
  10. Atlassian: Software development, 253 employees, 25 times more applications than jobs.
  11. kikki.K: Stationery and gifts, 670 employees, 21 times more applications than jobs.
  12. Sentis: Education and training, 89 employees, 18 times more applications than jobs.
  13. Ikon Communications: Media agency, 183 employees, 18 times more applications than jobs.
  14. Silver Chef: Financial services, 119 employees, 15 times more applications than jobs.
  15. McAfee Australia: Information technology and software, 133 employees,15 times more applications than jobs.
  16. Altis Consulting: IT consulting, 78 employees, 14 times more applications than jobs.
  17. JDS Australia: IT consulting, 51 employees, 14 times more applications than jobs.
  18. Kiandra IT: Information technology, 57 employees,14 times more applications than jobs.
  19. MRWED Group: Education and training, 35 employees, 13 times more applications than jobs.
  20. Nova Group: Professional services, consulting and engineering, 225 employees,11 times more applications than jobs.

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