These 25 companies are the best in Australia at attracting and keeping top talent, according to LinkedIn data. Read on for how they do it.
Explore jobs at KPMG
KPMG’s workforce has never been larger — now at close to 174,000 people globally. Last year, the audit and consulting company hired 24,000 new college graduates, a record, and created the largest partner class it’s ever had, promoting roughly 650 employees into that coveted role. So when it notes that “talent has never been more important to our business,” you get the sense it’s not corporate bluster. The company told LinkedIn that employees stay happy with stretch assignments and global placements; last year, 2,500 KPMG’ers participated in the company’s “global mobility program,” allowing them to work internationally. Want a job there? KPMG says it prizes agility in candidates, looking for those who can connect “issues that may not have been obvious before.”
Explore jobs at PwC
The Big Four firm last year adopted what may be the ultimate professional perk — total flexibility — in extending its “all roles are ‘flex’” policy to its 6,000 Australian workers. That’s not just corporate speak. Some employees are scheduling four longer days instead of five regular ones. Others prefer perhaps three days in the office and two from home. PwC’s OK with them all. The idea is that managers embrace custom schedules, instead of employees having to beg for them. Another plus: the chance to work on significant projects. In its 2015 survey of its global workforce, 79 percent of PwC employees reported they get to work on challenging assignments that help them grow.
Explore jobs at Commonwealth Bank
- Commonwealth Bank
- Financial Services
The bank, the largest in Australia, employs more than 52,000 and has a customer base of 15 million. It’s invested billions in its technology in recent years to stave off fin-tech rivals. That technology extends to jobseekers, too: applicants can download a virtual-reality app to experience its workplace. CEO Ian Narev embraces a bottoms-up approach to ideas, saying he doesn’t buy into the “Steve Jobs model” that brilliance comes from the top. Internally, the bank’s focus is on productivity, automating and improving processes (like verifying contracts) so employees can focus on high-value work. Narev wrote to investors that the aim is not “short-term cost cutting initiatives, redundancy plans or offshoring Australian jobs,” but instead, “a cultural focus on simplicity and continuous improvement.”
Explore jobs at Coles
The supermarket chain is so in-demand that it told LinkedIn it receives more than 400,000 job applications every year. The company employs about 100,000 across its grocery stores, distribution centers and home office, and says its benefits (in-store discounts) combined with flexible work policies keep jobseekers lining up. Some employees stick around for decades; Coles devotes the penultimate page of its annual report to tell capsule stories of its longest-serving workers (“Graeme started at Coles in 1965 – a time when bread was just 20 cents a loaf!”) and says there remain lots of opportunities to progress. What it’s hiring for now: data scientists (to work on its loyalty program), buyers (to help it select products) and finance professionals (“to drive profitability”).
Explore jobs at Deloitte
- Management Consulting
Deloitte receives 1.9 million applications annually. One simple — but important — reason so many employees want to join? “Our people are challenged by interesting work,” it told LinkedIn. The 225,000-employee firm is known for its accounting, consulting and tax services. But its scope, coupled with its use of emerging technologies like data analytics and AI, has attracted many employees with STEM backgrounds. Deloitte invests heavily in its employees, offering various training as well as education reimbursement. It also encourages employees to give back: In the 2015 fiscal year, employees spent 340,000 hours on pro-bono assignments and more than 820,000 hours volunteering.
Explore jobs at Westpac
CEO Brian Hartzer wasted little time in outlining his vision for the bank’s future, citing his desire for it to become “one of the world’s great service companies,” on par with the likes of Ritz-Carlton. To do that, he’s said the company must become a “talent factory,” nurturing its staff. It recently launched a learning portal for leaders and has been experimenting with “agile working.” In multiple offices now, employees aren’t assigned desks but “neighbourhoods,” and can work wherever best suits them: whether that’s a standing desk or a conference table. The bank’s 40,000 employees also enjoy enviable perks: flexible schedules, up to 12 weeks of additional leave each year, plus discounts on mortgages and more, it told LinkedIn.
Explore jobs at Qantas
- Qantas Airways
Working for an airline brings one obvious thrill: heavily discounted flights. Qantas’s employees enjoy reduced-rate airfare, plus other perks, such as 12 weeks of paid maternity leave or two years’ unpaid leave. Those who make it through the recruiting process find themselves in a company on a roll: Qantas is reporting its best profits in years. The airline is in the midst of a three-year “transformation” meant to slash $2 billion in costs and find more innovative ways to operate. Already, it’s being hailed as the “biggest turnaround in Australian corporate history.” As CEO Alan Joyce wrote on LinkedIn, employees are experimenting with everything from hackdays to new cloud-based models for determining flight routes. Even crew uniforms are getting a stylish refresh.
Explore jobs at Lion
- Food & Beverage
The beer, wine and milk giant, a unit of Japan’s Kirin Corp., told LinkedIn it fosters an “achievement culture” among its 6,700 employees in Australia and New Zealand. Some of those achievements include a reformulation of its dairy products and the opening of new venues like the James Squire micro-brewery in Circular Quay, Sydney or the Petaluma Winery in the Adelaide Hills. All Lion employees get two days of annual leave to volunteer, and in May 2016, the company re-launched its flexibility policy, giving workers “freedom to choose where, when or how” they want to work, it told LinkedIn. The initiatives seem to be paying off; on a recent internal survey, 89 percent of employees said they were proud to work for the company.
Explore jobs at UGL Limited
- UGL Limited
- Mechanical/Industrial Engineering
The engineering firm has been in “reset” mode recently, slimming down after selling its property division and restructuring its operations. Those efforts are paying off: The company regained profitability in its latest half-year results. UGL employs more than 7,000 across Australia, New Zealand and Asia; workers do everything from build power stations to design train locomotives. Creating a more diverse workforce is one major corporate goal. Already, UGL stands out by having a female chairperson, Kate Spargo, still rare among Australian public companies. In the 2015 fiscal year, the company increased the number of women joining by 36 percent, in part, by ensuring every professional role had a woman on the shortlist, and by deploying psychometrics “to overcome unconscious bias.”
Explore jobs at CPB Contractors
- CPB Contractors
- Civil Engineering
Whether it’s a new road or an expanded light-rail system, CPB Contractors is behind some of Australia’s critical infrastructure projects. The construction company — part of the CIMIC Group — employs around 18,000 people in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Asia and India. (The CPB Contractors name is new, part of a larger corporate re-branding.) One company perk, it tells LinkedIn, is the chance to work all over, whether that’s on the country’s largest transport project in NSW or a major metro rail project in Queensland. “We offer significant and diverse work opportunities in great locations,” it says. CPB Contractors told LinkedIn it’s looking for people with project experience for supervisory and engineering roles, along with “health and safety professionals.”
Explore jobs at Origin
- Origin Energy
- Oil & Energy
Origin made its name in oil and gas, but it’s betting its future on solar. The company aims to be the leading renewable energy provider in Australia — Origin’s CEO has been dubbed the “sun king” — and it tells LinkedIn “there’s an abundance of opportunity in this space” for its 6,000 employees. The company offers progressive perks: an ability to buy an extra four weeks of vacation, for instance, or to take up to a year-long “career break” without quitting. It also recently began offering victims of domestic violence 10 paid days of leave. What job seekers might not know: Global electricity consumption is expected to double by 2050, with the company telling LinkedIn “it’s exciting” to find ways to meet that demand.
Explore jobs at Virgin Australia
- Virgin Australia
Australia’s second-largest air carrier is known for its personality. Its LinkedIn updates are filled with fun asides: Virgin Group founder Richard Branson working as a barista in a Sydney lounge; a dog staring out a plane window. The company takes its culture seriously, one reason it keeps racking up workplace awards. CEO John Borghetti has said his company hires the right talent by not falling into the trap of only considering “airline people.” Instead, Virgin Australia casts a wide net and looks for employees of all backgrounds with a service attitude: “It’s finding the right people, and once you’ve got them, make sure you don’t beat out of them that desire to please people,” he said. One employee-pleasing perk: discounted flights — for family and friends, too.
Explore jobs at Downer
- Civil Engineering
The Sydney-based company is massive, involved in everything from road construction to train design, mining excavation to the operation of solar farms. That means its 19,000 employees can work on an array of projects that often get significant attention. Workers take pride in the company’s achievements; when Downer shared on LinkedIn that it won a key certification at a water treatment facility, an employee weighed in: “This was a very rewarding project, with an absolutely fantastic result. We are very proud of this.” As Downer told LinkedIn, one major component of its culture is safety. All employees are expected to abide by the ethos to do “zero harm,” preventing injuries; in the 2015 fiscal year, injuries declined by 22 percent.
Explore jobs at Telstra
Australia’s largest wireless carrier is aiming to act more like a nimble tech company than an aging telco. Its chief operations officer, Katie McKenzie, said in a December speech that the company shifted its thinking, “moving away from that culture of, ‘It must be invented here or it can't be any good.’” Now, hackdays occur regularly, new offices and innovation labs spur fresh ideas and a venture arm invests in promising outsiders. Hiccups remain, like a recent spate of outages. But Telstra’s workplace is evolving: All 35,000 employees are eligible for flexible schedules, and CEO Andrew Penn called on other companies to follow, saying executives should trust workers. “You have to make a decision, and basically let the organization work it out for themselves,” he said.
Explore jobs at Macquarie
- Macquarie Group
- Financial Services
The design of the new building for Macquarie Group, a financial services company based in Sydney, is meant to be “functionally inconvenient” — workers now have to walk further to reach kitchens or the elevators. The hope? That employees will bump into each other in the hallway and interact more. That said, workers can still escape to the on-site quiet rooms and multi-faith prayer rooms. Beyond access to flexible work arrangements, working parents also benefit from the company’s established relationships with two childcare centers, according to the annual report.
Explore jobs at Bupa
- Hospital & Health Care
Based in Melbourne with global headquarters in the UK, Bupa Australia & New Zealand is not your typical healthcare provider — for starters, having no shareholders frees the privately-held company up to re-invest profits. Bupa’s purpose to lead “longer, healthier, happier lives” also benefits its 18,000 workers in Australia and New Zealand, who are participating in a new employee health and well-being program called Smile. As part of the global well-being program, workers can track their activity levels (and compete against colleagues) with the Bupa Boost mobile app. And of course, employees get a deal — up to 40 percent off — on their health insurance.
Explore jobs at REA Group
- REA Group
- Online Media
REA Group, which runs realestate.com.au and other sites, infuses the idea of innovation throughout its 1,400-person company. A prime example: quarterly hackdays that bring together diverse teams of employees. One group even came up with the idea for a location-based site that helps the homeless with services. (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull even hailed it.) With six months’ paid parental leave for primary caregivers and three months’ paid leave for secondary caregivers or partners, REA Group also has the numbers to back up its culture of diversity. Women comprise 40% of the company and also hold 40% of the REA Group board and executive and leadership teams (by comparison, women in the U.S. hold under 20% of the Fortune 1000 board seats.)
Explore jobs at Bank of Queensland
- Bank of Queensland
- Financial Services
The Bank of Queensland isn’t run like most banks — some 200 of the 260 branches are owned by franchisees who run it like a small business. In addition to 12 weeks’ paid parental leave, the company’s nearly 2,000 employees are also eligible to receive 100% of their retirement contributions during the full 12 months of taking maternity or paternity leave. And as of 2014, the company stands by a flexible work policy where instead of “an employee having to prove to their manager why their position should be flexible, the onus is on the manager to prove why it can’t be.”
Explore jobs at Vodafone
Vodafone Australia is preparing to move this fall into a state-of-the-art building in north Sydney, but the 3,000-person company is all about roaming. Employees are encouraged to work from home (leveraging Vodafone service, of course) and expand their horizons. The company rewards goals that contribute to a wider purpose, not hours worked in the office. For example, employees recently dedicated two years to creating DreamLab, a free Android app that uses cellphone processing power to power cancer research. Some 60,000 users have downloaded the app, allowing cancer researchers to analyze data 1,500 times faster. It also recently introduced a benefit for new parents: a four-day work week for the six months after you’ve returned from a four-month paid parental leave.
Explore jobs at Medibank
Melbourne-based Medibank takes its purpose — “for better health” — seriously. The health insurance company encourages its 2,600 employees to not only explore flexible work schedules but also switch to permanent work-from-home arrangements if necessary. Work-life balance aside, employees also have their pick of office perks like a demonstration kitchen for cooking classes; an edible garden; courts for basketball, tennis, and soccer; and more. It doesn’t hurt that the company’s subsidized insurance packages offer employee discounts on health, travel, pet, and life insurance. When it comes to paid parental leave, 14 weeks are covered (or you can choose 28 weeks at half pay).
Explore jobs at Lendlease
Many companies stress the importance of work-life balance. Lendlease, a Sydney-based property management and construction company with 11,900 global employees, takes a more proactive approach to their workers’ physical and mental well-being. As of January 2016, all Lendlease employees now earn one well-being day every four months (workers have already used the discretionary time off on everything from yoga retreats to meditation classes). New parents in Australia and New Zealand also enjoy 18 weeks’ paid parental leave.
Explore jobs at AMP
- Financial Services
Sydney-based AMP doesn’t just help manage the finances of its 4 million-plus customers in Australia and New Zealand. With a promise to “help people own tomorrow,” the financial services company’s aptly named Tomorrow Fund has awarded 89 grants since 2014, supporting innovative ideas in education, healthcare, the arts, and more. Now in its third year, the program will hand out another $1 million in grants in November. By the end of 2020, AMP — which has 5,400 global employees and 4,000 financial advisers in Australia and New Zealand — aims for women to hold half of the company’s middle-management positions and 47% of senior executive roles, according to its annual report. Currently, some 40% of the AMP Limited Board is female.
Explore jobs at Suncorp Group
- Suncorp Group
- Financial Services
Beyond offering a paid day for each of its 14,500 employees to volunteer in the community, financial services giant Suncorp Group also brings creative fundraising ideas to the office: One worker raised almost $3,700 by bringing puppies from an animal rescue group for staff to play with — in exchange for a donation, of course. The winner of a 2015 Australian HR award for its “Best Workplace Flexibility Program,” the Brisbane-based company also created Work@Home hubs to help remote workers stay connected. Many of the employees who work permanently from home live about 30 minutes from a W@H hub, which can be used for training, monthly team meetings, or just as an office for the day.
Explore jobs at Woolworths Limited
- Woolworths Limited
The first week Brad Banducci was promoted from managing director to CEO of Woolworths, he “changed the CEO's office into a meeting room and now sits with everyone else at a workstation in the middle of the floor,” according to a LinkedIn update. Banducci’s new role also reflects the retailer’s promote-from-within culture — for its nearly 200,000 employees, Woolworths is the kind of place where a 15-year-old supermarket worker like Tanya Eales can rise through the ranks to become the head of HR nearly 30 years later. Positions extend beyond the stores to agronomists, nutritionists and beyond. Amid an industry-wide union dispute, Woolworths gave supermarket workers a 1.4 percent pay raise and doubled its employee discount, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Explore jobs at ANZ
Australia’s fourth-largest bank used to talk about flexible scheduling. But, in reality, an employee’s experience depended greatly on having a boss willing to help — a “leadership lottery,” as ANZ’s HR chief, Susie Babani, described on LinkedIn. So, last year, the company made it official, declaring all roles eligible for personalized schedules. Now, employees need not haggle; flexibility is expected. The move not only helps ANZ’s 50,000 current employees, but also potential recruits: “To attract and retain the digital generation,” Babani says, “we need to be open to moulding work around them rather than demanding them to mould around us.” The new approach even extends to its offices; ANZ has installed “flexi-spaces” in multiple locations.