Dream employers

Posted October 13, 2011, by Mike Kermode

If you could work for any company, which one would it be, and why?

It’s all laid bare in this year’s Insync/Red Balloon Dream Employers 2011 report, which reveals which companies we’d most like to work for.

When it comes to what we perceive as a ‘dream employer’, many of us choose the same companies, and for similar reasons. Those reasons reflect what makes us either content or dissatisfied in our own workplaces – what makes them seem ideal or less-than-perfect.

Top 20 dream employers

  1. Google
  2. Self-employment
  3. Virgin Group
  4. Qantas
  5. Apple
  6. Microsoft
  7. OMD
  8. Walt Disney
  9. BHP Billiton
  10. Getaway
  11. United Nations
  12. Police Force
  13. Vodafone
  14. NASA
  15. Rio Tinto
  16. Department of Defence
  17. Commonwealth Bank
  18. Cadbury
  19. Facebook
  20. Lonely Planet

Less than half of the 7000 or so respondents in the survey were satisfied with their current place of employment, with 45 per cent planning to find another job within 12 months. Only one third of those surveyed would recommend their employer to someone else. The verdict is clear: the majority of Australian workers are not living the dream!

Dream factors

So what makes a dream employer? What distinguishes Google or Disney or Getaway from your own workplace?

The survey breaks employee ratings down into 10 factors: the products and services the business offers; the company’s reputation; the company’s approach to training and development; its pay and conditions; rewards and recognition; work–life balance; whether the company is innovative; the business’s reputation; workplace ‘culture’; and the CEOs themselves.

All contribute to our perceptions of dream companies, and how we rate our own organisation.

Money isn’t everything

While pay is still a big attraction, remuneration is not the be-all and end-all of workplace happiness.  Other top reasons people liked their own company best were the workplace ‘culture’ nurtured and the company’s understanding of a work–life balance.

Essentially, it comes down to employees feeling that their employers care, communicate with them, and that they share a meaningful connection with the company’s goals. This not only encourages innovation and contributes to workplace morale, but also means staff stay engaged and motivated. A sense of purpose is vital.

Trust is also fundamental. It is well known that when a good level of trust is established between employees and employers, workers are significantly happier.

If you’re a manager, heed the call: good business management, communication and project management skills mean happy employees and better productivity.

Be your own dream employer

Ranked at #2, self-employment is seen as an ideal work situation. And according to the survey, almost half of those self-employed are satisfied with their jobs. While work–life balance can suffer, having the freedom and autonomy to steer one’s own ship holds a lot of appeal.

If you’re keen to become your own dream employer, there are training courses to help you succeed. From small business courses to those designed for entrepreneurial visionaries – such as the Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Commercialisation – there are options to help get your business up and running.

Marketing really counts

Apart from self-employment, all those who made the list have powerful brand images (including OMD, a top media agency). Their commercial success, as well as their appearance on the list, highlight the power of marketing to lure not only consumers, but also prospective employees.

As employers, their appeal comes down to perceived notions of their culture and brand. The importance of the brand can’t be emphasised enough.

It takes clever marketing to achieve this perception – get trained in marketing and you, too, could be part of the winners’ circle.

Get into IT

Google, Apple and Microsoft came in 1st, 5th and 6th respectively in the Dream Employers ranking.  Obviously, IT is booming, it’s everywhere – people know it, and they want it. Add in the appearance of Facebook, and the fact that every listed company pivots on computer technologies, and you’ve got a good reason to jump on the technology bandwagon.

Enrolling in an IT course will give you the technical skills to make you employable in many industries, not just IT, as well as the industry overview that you need to get ahead.

Mining for opportunities

Those in mining are apparently more satisfied than most – almost half surveyed were happy where they were, with money being the big factor. The second mining boom in Australia is undoubtedly having a major impact on employment patterns, and with so many jobs available, the potential for great rewards is growing.

With mining expected to add a quarter of all new jobs needed to keep next year’s employment rate steady despite losses in other sectors, taking a course related to mining or natural resources is not just a popular option, but also a shrewd career move.

Be an innovator

It’s not surprising that some of the top companies, such as Google, Apple and Facebook, are masters of innovation who constantly push the boundaries. They generate new ideas and technologies, and know how to leverage them into commercial success.

To succeed in this sort of environment, you, too, will have to learn to be a cutting-edge, innovative thinker with a head for business. A course like the Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Commercialisation could give you the training you need to get out of your box and into a progressive dream company. 

That’s entertainment

The appearance of Disney and Getaway in the list points to the great appeal of the entertainment industry. Disney, of course, has its fingers in many pies. But in an information era where the news cycle is 24 hours and communication is instant, online entertainment is growing and digital animation technologies rule – and Disney has a unique foothold in all of them.

Dreaming of a career in entertainment? There are many roads to get you there. Digital media training and studies in TV and sound production are two of your best bets.

Journeys are good destinations

For many, work and travel is the ultimate combination. Not surprisingly, both Getaway and Lonely Planet were seen as Dream Employers, offering an incomparable opportunity to both work and play in foreign lands.

To develop your ability to write about travel and tourism, a good place to start would be to hone your travel writing, journalism or media and communication skills, as well as learn about the travel and tourism industry. This knowledge and training will give you a distinct advantage in getting into what is a very competitive industry.

Don’t just dream

If your current employer falls short of the mark and you want to shoot higher, it’s up to you to get there.

If you’re serious about following your dreams, the first thing you need to do is get the skills. That means get qualified.

Secondly, take a page out of the top 20s book and market yourself. First stop on this train is to get yourself a professional resume and cover letter.

Competition for the most sought after jobs is fierce, and dream employers want dream employees who present with the right stuff. Make sure your resume has what it takes to get you an interview with the top companies. Then you, too, could work for a dream employer!

Mike Kermode

AIM Business School
All Health Training
Australasian College of Health and Wellness
Australian College of Physical Education
Australian Institute of Business
Australian Institute of ICT
Australian Institute of Management Education and Training
Australian Institute of Personal Trainers
Builders Academy Australia
Building and Construction Training Australia
College Australia
College for Adult Learning
Deakin University
Ducere Global Business School
Edith Cowan University Online
Endeavour College of Natural Health
Everthought Education
Foundation Education
Griffith University
Hammond Institute
James Cook University Online
La Trobe University
La Trobe University Online (Delivered by Didasko)
MCI Institute
Mentor Education
Monarch Institute
Nepean Industry Edge Training
Onfit Training College
Open Colleges
RMIT Online
The Hotel School
UNE Partnerships
University of Adelaide
UNSW Online
UTS Online
Victoria University Online
Torrens University
University of East London
University of Mauritius
University of New England
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Integrated Care & Management Training (ICMT)
Open Colleges School of Health
HTMi Australia
Southern Cross University