Where Australia wants to work now…

By Lainey Quinn - 21 Mar, 2018


Here are this year’s top 25 companies in Australia.

The Top Companies list is based on the billions of actions taken by LinkedIn members and looks at four main pillars: interest in the company, engagement with the company’s employees, job demand and employee retention. (We exclude LinkedIn and Microsoft from all LinkedIn Lists.


Go global: If you want to live and work overseas, accepting a job with this professional services network could be the first step. As a global firm, there is no shortage of short and long-term secondments for staff: there are currently more than 2,500 PwC people on international assignments around the world including 176 Australian employees, the company says. When you arrive in a new office, there are little details to make it feel like home — like the bespoke PwC scent that all new offices feature and a wayfinding kiosk so you can locate a colleague or a free desk.

Global headcount: 236,000

Parenting perks: Employees are not expected to clock up the usual 12 months of employment before being eligible for parental leave, which is 18 weeks regardless of whether you’re a mum, dad, foster carer or dealing with the tragedy of stillbirth.


Bank balance: Commonwealth Bank of Australia identified its staff were not immune to financial pressures despite working for a bank, and so introduced a staff financial wellbeing program. The program helps manage everyday expenses, preparing for unexpected events and making progress against long-term goals. The bank has had a tough year, facing questions over its insurance products, for which it refunded customers $16m, as well as allegations surrounding money laundering and terror financing.

Global headcount: 48,900

Woman on top: When it comes to gender equality, the chairman of the board is female – Catherine Livingstone – as are 57.8% of the bank’s workforce, including 44.4% at manager level and above. Livingstone was instrumental in bringing on Matt Comyn as the bank’s incoming CEO, in the hope of looking to a brighter future.


Work to make a difference: Valuing the Great Barrier Reef and creating augmented reality experiences are all in a year’s work for this accounting firm which prides itself on looking into the big issues. Deloitte staff worked with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to calculate the total economic, social and icon asset value of the reef, landing on $56 billion. Climate campaigner Al Gore was one of many prominent people who applauded the report.

Global headcount: 263,900

Welcome back: A pilot program for people returning to work after parental leave includes training, mentoring and support for 20 weeks. The organisation offers 18 weeks’ paid parental leave regardless of gender, which can be taken flexibly.


Head health: Mental health is one of this professional services company’s core pillars. Panels have been conducted nationally where employees, along with doctors and health professionals, share their own journeys, in a bid to normalise mental health. The idea is to discuss issues, debunk the myths and give people hope and real resources to access. All staff are also encouraged to embrace work flexibility, and to ask ‘why not?’ when assessing opportunities like job share, working from home and more.

Global headcount: 197,000

New digs: Nationally, the professional services company has spent the last 18 months moving into new buildings to give staff flexible arrangements and access to health and wellbeing perks.


Happy birthday: As Australia’s oldest company and first bank celebrated 200 years, it also surpassed population parity for Indigenous employees. Targeted recruitment campaigns and cadetships resulted in 140 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accepting jobs last year. Westpac aims to offer internships to at least 400 Indigenous university students by 2025. Last year, the bank also achieved gender parity at leadership levels thanks to a talent program and a mandate of 50% women on recruitment shortlists.

Global headcount: 40,000

Saving lives: Westpac staff, through its sponsorship efforts, helped develop the world’s first automated rescue drone, Little Ripper. It deploys flotation devices to swimmers at risk of drowning, and saved its first two swimmers in January.


Intrepid staff: Opportunity and adventure go hand in hand for employees at CIMIC Group’s subsidiaries CPB Contractors, Leighton Asia, Thiess, Sedgman, UGL, Pacific Partnerships and EIC Activities. You’ll find their staff experiencing subzero Mongolian winters at mining sites, hiking up a hill in Rwanda to build a much-needed footbridge and more.

Global headcount: 50,000+

Bridging the pay gap: A global review to bridge the gender pay gap resulted in one-off payments to women found to be paid less than men. Pay disparity is a particular issue in the mining and construction industries. The group is also rolling out unconscious bias training and created a new LinkedIn network for women in non-traditional roles and industries.


Good start to the day: A healthy breakfast is waiting for employees each morning at Macquarie Group, a global provider of banking, trading and financial advisory services. Wellness perks include yoga and meditation classes, while parents can tap into resources such as a kids club, school holiday program and access to childcare services. The benefits also extend beyond its staff. Last year, employees chose the causes they cared about and raised $A29.4m for community organisations through the Macquarie Group Foundation.

Global headcount: 14,234

Passions at work: Employees are encouraged to bring their outside interests to the office. They have created choir groups, gardening collectives, photography clubs and more, while there are also groups dedicated to pride, First Australians and gender equality.


Get on board: To cater for a huge pipeline of infrastructure works in Australia, this property organisation is hiring. More than 1100 apartments were completed last year, which was a 48% jump year on year. Internationally, it is developing the multi-billion-dollar London Euston Station project. For a busy year, it is looking for aspiring leaders of construction, engineering and development projects. It’s also keeping an eye out for business specialists to support projects across finance, safety, marketing and human resources.

Global headcount: 13,400

Day off: Staff get a ‘wellbeing leave’ day once each quarter on top of annual leave to do what recharges them, like cooking or training in mixed martial arts.


Changing skillset: NAB plans to cull 6000 banking jobs in the next three years, in a cost-cutting drive to prepare for softer market conditions. It will shift towards the use of automation, for which 2000 workers with technology and digital skills will be hired by 2020. The bank has also faced the challenge this year of appearing before the Banking Royal Commission, with allegations it breached lending laws in an alleged bribery ring. Chief Andrew Thorburn has said the bank must “do better”.

Global headcount: 30,000+

Doing good: NAB is aiming to double the total time staff spend volunteering. As partners of Special Olympics Australia, many staff are donating their time ahead of the 2018 National Games. The bank has also partnered with global women’s technology movement Girl Geek Academy to create a program teaching women high-level skills in areas like coding and entrepreneurship, as well as providing jobs for program participants.


Well beings: If staff at the multinational professional services firm look well rested, it may be due to a corporate discount at Endota Spa. Discounts on travel, tech and health apply, and staff have access to mental health initiatives and onsite wellness centres. Flexible working arrangements, onsite cafés and beauty salon round out the perks. Cool jobs titles include the Robot Warriors, who help automate the mundane parts of the job, and Cyber Ninjas, who work with clients to make sure their systems are secure.

Global headcount: 250,000

Gamifying learning: EY Badges let staff earn bronze, silver, gold or platinum digital credentials in skills like data analytics, AI, data transformation and information strategy.


Future focused: Over his past five years as BHP’s chief, Andrew Mackenzie has whipped the world’s biggest miner into a leaner, simpler outfit. The minerals slump has taken its toll; while iron ore prices have halved since 2013, employee numbers have equally dropped from 128,000 to 60,000. These days, staff can find themselves mining copper and uranium at SA’s Olympic Dam, performing HR functions in Kuala Lumpur, drilling for shale oil in the Permian Basin or mining copper in northern Chile.

Global headcount: 60,000

Digital tribes: In 2017, BHP provided data for a hackathon in Perth where innovators and entrepreneurs applied coding solutions to real company problems.


Diverse portfolio: Employees at Downer are as likely to be wearing a hardhat on an infrastructure build as a chef’s hat serving the crowd at the MCG. The mining and construction company last year made a play to become a broader services company with the acquisition of 88% of listed cleaning and asset services firm, Spotless. Staff are based at more than 300 workplaces, from fully flexible roles in offices, to portable buildings on remote mine sites, to landscaping jobs in schools and hospitals.

Global headcount: 56,000

All welcome: Downer is actively encouraging older members of staff to continue working there, in appreciation of the knowledge and experience that can be shared. The company offers a flexible work policy to help retain the services of a ‘significant number’ of older staff it says are planning to retire in the next decade. These workers are also offered transition programs to help them move from their career to their retirement.


Stronger together: In a bid to address gender parity, all recruitment interview lists at the famed telco must include at least 50% women. There are occasional exceptions to this rule, when there is a known ‘significant imbalance’ in the job market, and the requirement is then lowered to 25% women. It’s one of a host of initiatives to improve the gender imbalance; currently, 69.4% of employees are men. Other initiatives include making all roles flexible, running an annual pay gap analysis and fostering a gender equality employee network.

Global headcount: 32,000

Around the world: The Australian-based organisation is spread across more than 20 locations with career opportunities in the Philippines, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United States and the United Kingdom.


High flyers: Of all Top Companies, LinkedIn data shows staff stay at Qantas the longest. Currently, the average employee tenure is 10.4 years, and that’s despite the axing of 5000 jobs after record losses in 2014. Under CEO Alan Joyce’s leadership, the airline restructured and went from three years’ of losses to a record profit in 2016. Last year, 25,000 employees received a ‘turnaround bonus’ of up to $2,500 which let staff share in the company’s success after slogging back to profit.

Global headcount: 28,000

Ms Pilot: The Nancy Bird Walton initiative aims to achieve gender parity for the pilot cadet intake within 10 years. As a first step towards parity, it’s committed to a 20% intake of women in the 2018 cadet program. One-third of the Qantas board is female. The organisation also has a 96% retention rate for women returning from parental leave.


Pride of place: This bank has a focus on supporting LGBTI people, both within its workforce and in the broader community. As well as being principal partner of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, it won the major award for inclusiveness from the Australian Workplace Equality Index. Last year the bank’s LGBTI network launched an internal campaign around the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey to share stories and help educate staff on the importance of participating. The bank also received a Workplace Gender Equality Employer of Choice award.

Global headcount: 47,774

Empowering everyone: As well as traineeships for Indigenous Year 11 and 12 students, the bank has a paid work experience program for university students with a disability and employment programs to upskill refugees and asylum seekers. In the past 10 years, 170 people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds were supported into paid job placements at ANZ. It has also faced the banking royal commission over a possible breach of credit laws.


The big picture: Future-focused people are valued at this energy provider as they attempt to halve emissions and exit coal by 2032 in line with the Paris Accord goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2°C. The organisation is also developing technology to help people conserve energy as well as focusing on new wind and solar farms. It matches staff donations to registered charities and provides ongoing pro bono training for the all-female call centre at The Big Issue.

Global headcount: 5,894

Take a break: Career breaks ranging from three months to a year are available for employees who want to pursue their passions without having to resign.


Profit and prophet: Developers and engineers flock to Oracle to contribute to a company that provides enterprise software and hardware for some of the world’s most important businesses (the reach is remarkable: 430,000 customers in 175 countries). In return, employees have access to an “as-needed” sick-time policy, an employee stock purchasing plan as well as on-site dry cleaning, car detailing and oil changes.

Global headcount: 138,000

First class: In January, 550 students walked into the Design Tech High School on Oracle’s US corporate campus. D.Tech is a public charter school focusing on STEM subjects. Oracle underwrote the $43 million new complex and its US employees will work as student mentors.


Future focused: A global management consulting firm with clients in 120 countries across 40-plus industries, Accenture sees its role as helping the world’s biggest companies with their biggest problems. To make sure its employees are up to that challenge, Accenture spent nearly a billion dollars last year in instruction and professional development to help its workforce stay atop areas such as cloud, robotics and A.I. It also acquired 37 new businesses, including firms with expertise in information security and Agile development.

Global headcount: 411,000

Game on: Accenture developed a 25-level video game app, Sky Journey, in which players run an airport using real business solutions developed by the firm.


Focus on safety: It all starts with safety at the mining group, so every meeting – whether it’s at head office or one of the 35 spots across the world – starts with a ‘safety share’ where participants share something they’ve done to better safety standards. The company is leading the way with domestic violence support, offering a package of initiatives to protect and support affected families including 10 days’ additional leave and safety plans that take into account security, new telephone numbers, screening or blocking calls and email protection.

Global headcount: 50,000

Dream job: Matt Key is ‘chief drone pilot’, combining his mechanical engineering skills with his passion for drones. He leads a team of 20 certified drone pilots working on mine safety.


Fun first: As a company founded by fun-loving billionaire Sir Richard Branson, you’d expect a bit of razzle dazzle. Indeed to celebrate new flights between Melbourne and Hong Kong in July 2017, 10 staff performed a traditional dragon dance alongside Branson. Staff also get involved in the annual Virgin Australia Plane Pull for the Black Dog Institute. It’s a race where staff pull a Boeing 737 down a tarmac.

Global headcount: 10,000

Lifetime benefit: Team members who have served 15 years of continuous service keep their staff travel benefits for themselves, their spouse and dependent children under 24 for life.


Sports mad: It’s not uncommon to see a top athlete in head office because Optus has sponsorships with the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games as well as Swimming Australia. The telecommunications company’s Macquarie Park campus includes cafes, a gym and multi-sport facility and on-site health services like a GP, dentist, psychologist, massage and physiotherapy as well as a post office. Employees can buy or sell two weeks of annual leave each year. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, the top three skills Optus is looking for right now are cyber security, data analytics and customer experience.

Global headcount: 9,000

Astronomical: Optus has successfully launched 10 satellites (pictured) making it one of very few Australian organisations that employ people in space-related areas.


Brands you know: This conglomerate began as a co-op for Western Australian farmers in 1914 and now is behind Kmart, Target, Bunnings and Officeworks as well as having a hand in chemicals, fertilisers, coal mining and industrial and safety products. Taking Bunnings as an example, the 40,000+ staff have access to training in everything from leadership to forklift driving and you better believe the social clubs know how to throw a good BBQ. It announced plans early March to sell Coles.

Global headcount: 223,000

Welcome to country: Through an annual Reconciliation Action Plan, the group held more than 800 NAIDOC Week activities last year and cultural awareness training was offered to team members. As of last year there were also 4,200 Indigenous team members onboard, which is a 20% increase on last year.


Creative minds: Engineers who want to do something creative are welcomed at this consultancy that encourages all staff to ‘think like a designer’. This design mindset comes in handy when working with brands like Tesla and Google. Aurecon staff are being recognised for their focus on creativity, winning the Good Design Award of the Year for the co-design of the sleek Brisbane Ferry Terminals.

Global headcount: 7,207

Hack to the future: Aurecon’s hackathon in May 2017 was aimed at prototyping ideas that would improve the way we all work in the future, like including a playroom for children under 12 to be used when care arrangements fall through. That has been put into practice in some Aurecon offices.


Still scrappy: While Dell Technologies was founded in 1984 by then 19-year-old Michael Dell, the company still sees itself as a startup. Just a very large one — and one that generated $74 billion in revenue last year operating in 180 countries. Dell likes to fill positions internally but looks for a love of innovation and technology in new hires. It also devotes $4.5 billion annually to R&D investment. The result? The company has 22,275 patents or patent applications.

Global headcount: 140,000

Flexibility first: The Connected Workplace Program — Dell’s highest-rated perk, according to the company — allows employees to work where and when is best for them, focusing on the value of results. The company’s goal is to increase participation to 50% of its workforce by 2020.


A ‘pony boy’ gone far: In the 1950s the founding father of this engineering firm, Ray O’Rourke, worked as a ‘pony boy’ on the tunnels of the London Underground. It was his job to push the spoil in carts. Today, staff work on engineering projects using augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing and robotics. Unlike ponyboys, staff are well looked after with a host of health and wellbeing initiatives. A state-of-the-art headquarters will open this year.

Global headcount: 13,000

See the world: In the past 12 months, 600 staff have been transferred with Laing O’Rourke into roles in the United Kingdom, around Australia and Hong Kong.

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