launches fourth annual Top Employer Awards launches its fourth annual Top Employer Awards which celebrate best practice in smart working and advancing women in the workplace today to mark International Women’s Day.

The Awards, sponsored by last year’s overall winner Unilever [pictured getting their Award], recognise employers both big and small who have embraced the business benefits of flexible working and have been proactive in seeking to recruit and retain talented staff, particularly working parents who want to combine successful careers with being a parent.

They will be announced at a ceremony in Central London in November.

This year there are eight categories open to employers, one of which is also open to employees.

One of the categories – Career Progression – reflects a need to celebrate the raft of new initiatives aimed at advancing women in the workplace in response to pressure over the number of women in the boardrooms of Britain’s top companies.

Since Lord Davies suggested his target of 25% women on boards by 2015 the number of women on company boards has been rising, but critics say almost all the increase is accounted for by non-executive directors.

The Award will reflect initiatives aimed at developing women’s leadership potential, including women’s networks, mentoring initiatives and return to work programmes.

The full line-up of Award categories is:

  • Innovation in Flexible Working Award
  • Career Progression Award
  • Top Employer Award (overall)
  • SME Award [split into sections for companies with under 25 and under 250 employees]
  • Best for Dads Award
  • Talent Attraction Award
  • Family Support Award
  • Working Mums Champion Award

Gillian Nissim, Founder of, says: “Every year we look forward to hearing about the most innovative practice in work life balance issues.

This year we also want to reflect the increasing number of initiatives which aim to build the female pipeline from entry level up to the boardroom. We know that there are particularly bottlenecks at middle management level and that companies big and small are doing fantastic work to address the issues which prevent them making the most of the huge potential which working mums represent in the workplace.”

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 & Consultancy at My Family Care, Dave Dunbar, head of BT Flexible Working Services and Professor Clare Kelliher of Cranfield School of Management. The closing date for entries is 12th July.

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