launches its 10th Top Employer Awards

Entries open for’s 10th Top Employer Awards.

Top employer awards, smart working’s Top Employer Awards have opened for entries and are celebrating their 10th anniversary of sharing best practice in flexible working and workplace equality this year.

The Awards ceremony will take place in Central London in November and will include a networking session and an in-depth Q & A session with leading experts in diversity and flexible working.

This year’s ceremony will focus on the future of work and on the work lifecycle. The keynote speaker will be Caroline Waters OBE,  Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Vice President of Carers UK and Founder and CEO of CW Consulting Box.

Seen as one of the most influential senior leaders and practitioners in the original movement to create new ways of working and a leader of the nascent flexible working agenda in the 1990s, Caroline works with a wide range of stakeholders and clients to build new ever more inclusive approaches to people, space and productivity.

The Awards recognise employers, from micro businesses to corporates, who have embraced the business benefits of flexible working and have been proactive in seeking to recruit and retain talented staff, particularly those who are looking to combine successful careers with being a parent.

Award Categories

There are seven categories for employers and a Working Mums Champion Award for an outstanding individual, male or female, whose efforts have made a big difference to working mums in their workplace.

An Overall Top Employer will be chosen from the winners of the other categories. The 2018 overall winner was FDM Group, who the judges praised for implementing progressive policies to women in the technology sector, for its return-to-work programme and its levels of female representation at senior levels of the business.

The seven categories include Best for Returners, in its second year. It celebrates innovation in returner policies.

Other awards include for Recruitment & Talent Attraction, which aims to highlight employers who recognise the huge benefits of going the extra mile to ensure they reach candidates with years of experience who are looking for flexible roles, and Career Progression, which highlights actions taken to enable more women to get into senior positions, an issue which is a key focus of the gender pay audits.

The full line-up of Award categories

  • Overall Top Employer
  • Innovation in Flexible Working Award
  • Career Progression Award, sponsored by A.T.Kearney
  • SME Award [split into two groups: one for SMEs with fewer than 26 employees and one for those with 26-250 employees]
  • Best for Dads Award
  • Recruitment & Talent Attraction Award
  • Family Support Award
  • Best for Returners
  • Working Mums Champion Award

All the Award winners are profiled on and feature in our Best Practice Report which aims to share best practice as widely as possible and to inspire other employers.

The 2019 Report was published in March. has also followed last year’s Awards up with a series of roundtables with employers. The most recent roundtable was on returners and the next, in June, will be on women in technology.

Gillian Nissim, founder of, says: “This year is our 10th anniversary and so it is the perfect opportunity to look forward to the issues which are likely to emerge in the next years with regard to equal parenting and working. This year has been an exciting one for us.

In January we launched our new site and we will be looking to build on this and develop more resources, particularly for older workers with caring responsibilities, connecting the dots between all stages of the work lifecycle. We are therefore delighted that Caroline Waters – who has done pioneering work in this area – has agreed to be our keynote speaker.

“Every year we are inspired by the entries we receive from a wide range of employers, whether small start-ups or large corporates. Our aim is to spread the word on what these employers are doing and encourage others to see how understanding the pressures on employees at all stages of their careers benefits both employers and employees.”

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

The closing date for entries is 19th July 2019.

Click here to find out more.

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