Winner — Assael architecture

There are many companies who claim that “staff are our greatest asset”. Well Assael really, really means it. Its office shuts at 3.30pm every Friday for staff drinks; everyone receives at least one hour a week of professional development training, and staff are even encouraged to learn a new language; and if you stay for 10 years, Assael will not only give you 45 days’ pay to take a sabbatical, but it will throw in two round-the-world air tickets. We’re not the first to recognise these achievements. Assael has also won plaudits from The Sunday Times’ Best Small Companies to Work For competition, where it came seventh. Most importantly, however, it wins the votes of its staff, with just 11% leaving each year and 40% remaining for more than five years.

Assael architecture

Runners up

BPTW partnership

Last year’s winner has enough parties to keep even the most lively of social flames content, with free monthly pub evenings, monthly office lunches, an annual staff awayday, annual summer barbecue and a summer picnic.


If the number of people you employed rose 65% in three years, this might lead to one or two teething troubles in many companies – but not Keepmoat. Despite now having more than 3000 staff, the business loses only 15% of them a year.

Countryside Properties

Countryside may have been placed in the top 100 companies to work for by The Sunday Times in 2003 and 2004, but 35% of its staff were leaving each year. The company has taken action to reduce this figure, and last year the number of staff who left was cut 11%.

MJ Gleeson

In a year of upheaval, which Gleeson describes as having led to “feelings of uncertainty”, it is perhaps fitting that the company focused on the health of its 1530 staff. It offers employees and their families health cover and it subsidises a staff sports and social club which organises parties and day trips.