Network Rail have been crowned the best firm for graduates to work for, as voted by university leavers at British companies.
The results saw the firm score a 92% positive rating, followed closely by Mars (91%) and Microsoft (89%).
Barratt Developments, John Lewis, Teach First, Red Gate Software, British Airways, FDM Group and ASDA made up the rest of the top ten.
The rankings, which reveal the Top 50 Companies For Graduates To Work For in 2011 is run by insider graduate job review site TheJobCrowd.com, and aim to offer graduates the most accurate view possible of what working for a firm really entails .
The results are based on thousands of anonymous reviews from employees in their first three years of employment at hundreds of firms. The reviews ask employees to rate their employer on the issues that most affect job satisfaction – including career progression, training, salary & benefits and what their colleagues are like.
The site started collecting the reviews one year ago following feedback from both graduates and employees that long established lists gave an inaccurate impression of which firms were good employers as they were based on perceptions of what students thought working for the firm would be like, rather than employees revealing what it actually was like.
These lists favoured larger firms who had greater marketing budgets to go out and promote themselves on university campuses, with smaller companies or those in less glamorous sectors often slipping by unnoticed.
Natasha Freeman from the site said she believes the results offer graduates a much clearer picture of which companies really are great employers.
She said: "We’ve had thousands of recently graduated employees submit anonymous reviews of what their company is really like to work for. We are delighted to publish our findings and highlight the employers who really do provide their graduate employees with a great experience – not those who just market themselves as doing so. Once graduates are doing the job, they don’t care about the perception – they want to be working for a genuinely good employer.
"We wanted to level the playing field so that firms of all sizes, sectors and budgets could be compared fairly. The only thing that really matters is how good an employer they are and, by asking their employees to tell us anonymously, that’s exactly what we’ve found out.
"You probably wouldn’t think of trains as the most exciting area to work in but Network Rail topped this year’s list and scored particularly highly for work / life balance and for training, so it’s understandable that their graduate staff enjoyed working there. One reviewer even said that he’d ‘only been there for two months but I’ve fallen in love with trains and the principles that the company stands for.
"It’s good to see that large firms such as Mars and Microsoft, who typically also rank well in the traditional lists have done so well as they are clearly backing up their marketing with a similarly positive graduate experience – scoring particularly highly for responsibility and career progression respectively.
"What has been particularly pleasing is that firms which may appear less glamorous or have less to spend on recruitment marketing have been shown to be great to work for.”
Co-founder Keren Mitchell added: "Just as graduates start choosing who they want to apply for, the results of TheJobCrowd Top 50 will open their eyes to who the best companies to work for really are and we believe many will be surprised by a few of the names.
"There are hundreds of companies out there offering fantastic graduate experiences and we are thrilled to have been able bring the very best ones into the limelight.”
He concluded: "This year’s Top 50 has been a great success and we look forward to collecting even more reviews next year to see how opinions change.”
Please see the full list at www.thejobcrowd.com/top-companies-to-work-for