In a market where demand outstrips supply, everyone wants to work for a good employer and every firm wants to be considered to be one.

But what makes an employer good? Does it have to give its staff three month paid sabbaticals to travel around the world? Perhaps it has to offer its folk generous pensions or extra holidays. Could it simply be one that pays over the odds? Or is it a company where the work is creative and the projects exciting?

The fact of the matter is that goodness is in the eye of the beholder. Good employers mean different things to different people, but they have one thing in common – they make staff feel good about working for them.

So, to compile our first ever Building Good Employer Guide, we haven’t made our judgments based on what companies say about themselves, but on what their employees say about them. Over the summer we sent out more than 15,000 surveys to firms that wanted to be considered for inclusion. The survey, which was carried out anonymously, asked their staff to rate their companies and jobs for social responsibility, fun and enjoyment, leadership, inspiration and ability to contribute. The competition was fierce with a number of companies narrowly missing the cut – which is, perhaps, a measure of how progressive employers in our sector are becoming.

We certainly hope job hunters find the guide to be invaluable when making career choices; and those firms that are in it are appearing in a great shop window in the competition for talent. Many congratulations to the 50 that made it into our 2007 guide. We hope it will serve as a benchmark for the future.

Denise Chevin, editor, Building