People & Human Resources

The top 25 places Australians want to work revealed: How to make your business more attractive to staff

Dominic Powell /

Accounting firms and financial groups have taken out the top spots on LinkedIn’s 2017 list of the top 25 companies Australians want to work at, and experts say SMEs can learn a thing or two from their tactics.

The list is compiled from data gathered from Australian LinkedIn members and engagement with individual companies, including the number of job applications, employee engagement, and employee retention.

Accounting firms PWC and KMPG took out the top two spots again this year. Both of these companies have big employee bases, with each employing between 6500-7000 Australian staff.

LinkedIn believes the focus on employee wellbeing and flexible work at the two consulting firms makes them a regular favourite for job-seeking Aussies.

Banks Westpac and Commonwealth took out the third and fourth spots, while retail conglomerate Wesfarmers and airline giant Qantas took out the next two places.

Rounding out the top 10 is engineering company CIMIC Group, big four accounting firm Deloitte, financial company Macquarie Group, and telco giant Telstra.

After making the top 10 last year, companies UGL and Lion being booted to lower rankings.

Director of talent and learning solutions at LinkedIn ANZ Jason Laufer said in a statement the companies on the list feature a “strong employer brand” which is crucial to their recruitment.

“We know that a company’s culture and purpose are key drivers for attracting great talent, but also retaining employees,” Laufer said.

“Companies that are developing and sharing content through their employees’ networks are actively demonstrating their employer brand to potential candidates.”

What SMEs can learn from the big players

Human resources expert at HR Staff’n’Stuff Danielle Stone believes the top 25 companies share a number of themes which make them attractive to potential employees.

These include an efficient on-boarding program, work flexibility offerings, a focus on wellbeing, and beneficial leave programs.

LinkedIn’s analysis is only based on companies with more than 500 employees, so the large majority of SMEs would be ineligible to make the list. However, Stone believes there’s a number of ways small business owners can take a leaf out of the big end of town’s book to make their workplaces desirable to new candidates.

“It’s relatively simple for SMEs to adopt some of these sorts of principles to ensure employee engagement and make the business a place that people are proud to work at,” Stone says.

“For instance, every business should have a well-planned induction program for all new employees, even if it’s only for their first day.”

In Stone’s opinion, it’s all about SMEs thinking outside the box when it comes to attracting future employees, noting most small businesses don’t have the resources to put a concentrated focus on employee engagement strategies.

“It’s about looking at the culture you’re trying to create and doing everything you can to try and attract the right sort of people to keep building that culture,” she says.

However, she warns business owners shouldn’t always take these tasks into their own hands, advising businesses to speak to their staff about what they want, and use that as a basis to build their strategy.

“Some business owners try and determine what the staff want and come up with all these ideas which invariably miss the mark,” she says.

“Doing a simple employee engagement survey and finding out what’s important to staff and employees is where business owners should start.”

The full list of LinkedIn’s top 25 Australian companies are below.

1 PwC Australia 13 Scentre Group
2 KPMG Australia 14 Downer
3 Westpac Group 15 Lendlease
4 Commonwealth Bank 16 REA Group
5 Wesfarmers 17 AMP
6 Qantas 18 Vodafone Australia
7 CIMIC Group 19 National Australia Bank
8 Deloitte Australia 20 Origin Energy
9 Macquarie Group 21 Cotton On Group
10 Telstra 22 Lion
11 Virgin Australia 23 Woolworths Group
12 Suncorp Group 24 BHP
  25 Bank of Queensland

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is a journalist at SmartCompany and a tech and music geek. When he’s not writing, you can find him reading or browsing record shops.

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  • Jeff Hunt

    Great article! One of the ways to make your organization more attractive to employees is to simply define what’s important, then have managers take interest in progress. As CEO of a performance management software company (GoalSpan), many of our clients have done this successfully by… 1) discussing, clarifying and documenting organizational and individual goals, 2) managers holding frequent 1-to-1 meetings to discuss goal progress, and 3) posting meeting and goal progress notes into our software (using email). Then there’s a pre-written progress summary goal achievement which can be tied to incentive-based compensation. When managers simply take interest in employee progress, they have won half the battle.

  • jamesr

    its great to talk about the most attractive places to work, although wonder what this survey really tells us. If “number of job applications, employee engagement, and employee retention” is part of the calculation then no SME can qualify. Would be more interesting to see a ratio of job applications to employees (higher could be a rough proxy for attractiveness).

    • Michael

      I agree with James because that is a seriously boring list….