announces shortlist for 2018 Top Employer Awards

A range of innovative returner programmes have been shortlisted as part of’s ninth Top Employer Awards.

Top Employer Awards 2015


The Best for Returners Award is a new award this year and celebrates the flourishing of programmes aimed at supporting those who have taken a career break back into work.

It is one of eight categories in the Top Employer Awards. Twenty-nine of the most progressive employers and their representatives have been shortlisted across the categories which include SMEs, Family Support and Career Progression.

The Awards will be announced at a ceremony in London on 6th November, which will involve a keynote address by Labour MP Gavin Shuker, member of the Women and Equalities Committee, as well as networking sessions and a Q & A with a panel of experts, sponsored by Pearson.

The ceremony celebrates companies who are leading the field in developing innovative ways of smart working suited to today’s world and who are tackling the barriers to women’s career progression.

The Awards recognise employers of all kinds who are progressive in their flexible working practices and proactive in seeking to retain talented staff, particularly working parents who want to combine successful careers with being a parent.

The sectors represented in this year’s shortlist range from engineering, finance, construction, housing and hospitality to transport, technology and media.

The shortlisted companies are:

Best for returners

Sponsored by the Government Equalities Office

This is a new award this year and recognises organisations which demonstrate they have stand-out programmes or initiatives aimed at returners – those who have taken a career break and are looking to get back into the workplace.

Shortlisted:  Deloitte, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, UBS, Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure, FDM Group and Lloyds Banking Group.

The SME Award

Sponsored by L&Q

For small companies who demonstrate a real commitment to work life balance practices which specifically help working parents, such as flexible working, support on return to work from maternity leave and career development for women.

Shortlisted: BetterPoints Ltd, Cuttsy + Cuttsy, Parental Choice, MUTU System Limited, Radioactive PR, Currency UK, Known Four, Blueprint, The Chartered Insurance Institute and The Berkeley Partnership.

Innovation in Flexible Working

Sponsored by McDonald’s

To be eligible employers needed to demonstrate specific policies and practices related to flexible working which are truly innovative and break new ground, whether that be in a particular industry or in general.

Shortlisted: Atkins and Civil Service Human Resources

Family Support

Sponsored by Virgin Atlantic

For organisations who demonstrated policies and practices which aim to make it easier to balance work and family life.

Shortlisted: L&Q, Unilever and Morgan Sindall Construction and Infrastructure

Talent Attraction

Sponsored by CA Technologies

For organisations who demonstrate that their recruitment process openly promotes flexible working.

Shortlisted:  Roche, The Berkeley Partnership, Surrey County Council and Known Four.

Career Progression

Sponsored by AT Kearney Ltd

To be eligible employers should demonstrate initiatives aimed at developing women’s leadership potential, including women’s networks, mentoring initiatives and return to work programmes.

Shortlisted: Virgin Atlantic Airways, Sky, Balfour Beatty, Lendlease, FDM Group and McDonald’s Restaurants Ltd.

Working Mums Champion

Sponsored by M&G

This Award is for stand-out individuals whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in their workplace.

Shortlisted: Julianne Miles, Women Returners; Clare Woods, Tearfund; Carolanne Minashi, UBS; and Chris Gillam, L&Q.

An overall Top Employer will be chosen from the winners of each category.

Gillian Nissim, Founder of, says: “We are delighted at the broad range of sectors represented in this year’s shortlist and in the quality of entries.

Our new award, Best for Returners, has attracted a wide diversity of different approaches which all provide inspiration for other employers. The aim of these Awards and our Best Practice Report which features our winners is to spread the word about the innovative practices these organisation employ. The shortlisted employers fully understand the business case for good flexible working and provide strong examples for others looking to benefit.”

The Awards will be judged by an expert panel made up of Gillian Nissim, founder of; Andy Lake, editor of; Jennifer Liston-Smith, Director/Head of Coaching and Consultancy at My Family Care; Dave Dunbar,  Head of Digital Workspace at the Department of Work and Pensions; and Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management.

The judges will take part in the Q & A Panel and there is also a networking session for attendees.

*A copy of the Best Practice Report based on the 2018 Top Employer Awards is available here.

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