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Published 21 June 2012 07:19, Updated 22 June 2012 05:18
Big Australian employers have not fared well in BRW’s Best Places to Work 2012, particularly when compared to a similar list of US employers compiled by Fortune. Photo: Michele Mossop
Big businesses looking to the next wave of talent may want to take a page out of the books of the small Australian companies that have dominated this year’s BRW 50 Best Places to Work.
Australia’s largest company’s were notably absent from the 2012 list, out Thursday on newsstands and brw.com.au, and only one of business with more than 1000 employees in Australia made it into the top 50, as decided by the Great Place to Work Institute.
Instead, rankings are dominated by companies with fewer than 200 employees (34 of the 50 places) and businesses with 50 or fewer employees were well-represented, taking out 13 of the top 50 spots.
The result stands in stark contrast to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, which featured more than 30 companies with over 10,000 employees, including four with more than 100,000 workers.
All companies that made the top 10 and disclosed headcounts have 600 or fewer employees and five of the 10 employ under 50 people. The largest employer in the top 10 is Google Australia, which came in at No. 3.
The only top 10 best place to work that did not disclose its headcount is Salesforce.com.
But while the nine top 10 companies that disclosed their Australian headcounts employ just 1650 people between them, they received more than 48,327 applications from prospective employees in the past 12 months, including 35,106 for Google and 6240 for No. 9 ranked Atlassian.
The largest Australian employer in the top 50 is Ernst & Young (No. 33), which has a domestic workforce of 4652 people and attracted 40,306 applications from want-to-be employees in the past year.
E&Y’s people leader for Oceania, McGregor Dixon, attributes the company’s success as an employer to its lack of a “command and control” structure.
“Attracting and retaining of our staff happens at the level of their relationship with the partner they actually work for,” Dixon tells BRW.
“If we’re successful in instilling in our partners what we call our ‘spirit of partnership’, then they all start to lead in a consistent way, making sure their people feel recognised, are excited about a career path here and are not afraid to ask about flexible work arrangements like job sharing.
“There’s a million other things you can do but if you get that right, things like perks start to take a lesser focus.”