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Employers Review Awards

The 2008 NCE Employer Review Awards identify which firms are the best in the industry to work for.

Within the civil engineering industry there are many awards that celebrate either the work of individual engineers or managers or specific projects. It is rare to find awards that recognise excellence in the way companies operate.

NCE has launched a series of awards as part of the Employer Review that aims to redress that balance by identifying and celebrating which companies are the best in the industry when it comes to different aspects of the working environment.

The six awards reflect the issues of highest importance to engineers when it comes to choosing (or staying with) an employer: recognising technical talent, structured career development, corporate social responsibility, work-life balance, innovative projects and fun at work.

All the UK’s civil engineering employers were invited to enter, and were asked simply to send in a written submission explaining why they think they are the best. These were then whittled down to create a shortlist of three companies in each category. For four of the categories – recognising technical talent, structured career development, corporate social responsibility and work-life balance – the finalists were invited to meet a panel of expert judges to explain in more detail why they should win. "I found it inspirational to see what some of the companies are doing," says ICE HR director Sharon Parsons. Her fellow judge, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development head of operations, research and policy, Vanessa Robinson, added: "I was very impressed by how active and creative they are in the way they respond to their employees’ needs."

The "innovative projects" category was judged on the basis of the submissions, and to find out which company is best for "fun at work" a judging panel visited the workplaces of the shortlisted firms. The judges set about their task with some trepidation, anticipating they would be beset by people having "organised fun" as soon as they stepped through the door. However, the category proved an eye-opener more for the insight it gave into how different companies see their responsibilities towards staff both in good times and bad. "It’s almost impossible to judge this category without visiting the workplace," says NCE deputy editor and judge Jackie Whitelaw. "You get an insight into the company as soon as you walk through the door that you would never get from reading the submission."

The judging panels for each category were a mix of magazine journalists and executives and HR and employment experts. "Awards like these, which flag up best practice among employers, are vital in an industry whose most important asset is its people," says NCE editor Antony Oliver. "Hopefully the winners will inspire the rest of the industry to raise their game."

The award winners and runners-up in each of the six categories are profiled on the next few pages of this Employer Review. Together they demonstrate that the industry has something to celebrate in the way staff are developed, supported and appreciated and in the way companies meet their wider obligations to society. Individually, each winner is a shining example of how good things can be.

The judges

  • Antony Oliver, editor, NCE

  • Jackie Whitelaw, deputy editor, NCE

  • Olivia Horne, business development manager, NCE

  • Jessica Rowson, technical reporter, NCE

  • Margo Cole, careers specialist

  • Sharon Parsons, HR director, ICE

  • Vanessa Robinson, head of operations, research and policy, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development

  • Mark Hansford, content editor, NCE

  • Ruby Kitching, editor, Ground Engineering



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