• Revealed: The most female-friendly employers in the UK where perks include nine months’ paid maternity leave and on-site childcare – so does YOUR company make the cut? 

  • Job site Glassdoor has revealed the most female-friendly companies 
  • Accenture offers working mums nine months’ maternity leave on full pay
  • While computing company UKFast has an on-site crèche for infants

By Unity Blott For Mailonline   PUBLISHED: March 2017

From breastfeeding to breaking the glass ceiling, being a woman in the cut-throat world of business can be tough.

And with the gender pay gap still hovering at almost 10 per cent, campaigners say it’s more important than ever that female workers are supported by their employees.

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, job site Glassdoor have sifted through thousands of reviews to reveal the most female-friendly employers in the UK, from nine months’ full paid maternity leave to on-site childcare facilities.

‘All of these employers go above and beyond in some way when it comes to providing a working environment in which women can thrive,’ said a spokesperson for Glassdoor.

The following reviews have been posted by anonymous past and present female employees. So does your employer make the cut?

J. Sainsbury

Who they are: One of the UK’s biggest supermarkets.

What they offer women: Focus on diversity and gender balance in management.

What employees say: A customer service assistant from Canterbury, Kent, wrote: ‘Good perks – paid breaks, discount card, bonus etc. A nice corporate environment in which colleagues are able to voice concerns through multiple channels that lead to the board of directors.

‘Great diversity measures including a focus on getting more women into management positions through newly implemented schemes.’


Who they are: A Manchester-based provider of hosting, servers and cloud computing.

What they offer women: Sixteen weeks’ paid maternity leave and on-site crèche

What employees say:’ Amazing office not far from city centre, with gym, steam room, creche, games area, big screen and bean bags aplenty,’ writes a current employee from Manchester. ‘Great team and great attitude. Awesome perks – trips abroad, meals out, parties/events, rewards and incentives.’


Who they are: One of the UK’s biggest and best-known banks.

What they offer women: Globally, Barclays has implemented a Director to Managing Director promotion mentoring programme for women. It continues to build a pipeline of next-generation leaders, highlighting female talent. For example, the Barclays Women in Technology Group encourages women to take up IT careers in banking and finance.

What employees say: ‘Due to flexible work pattern I was able to return to work after becoming a mum and progress further in my career (which is very fast paced),’ wrote one working mum. ‘The flex makes this possible.’


Who they are: A leading global professional services company.

What they offer women: Nine months’ maternity leave on full pay.

What employees say: ‘I can work from home whenever I want,’ writes a manager from London. ‘The travel opportunities have been terrific as well. Maternity leave is nine months’ full pay including car allowance… really supportive of the work/life balance.’


Who they are: Europe’s leading entertainment company.

What they offer women: Sky has invested significant a budget in its Women in Leadership initiative, which has a 50 per cent target for females in senior management positions.

‘Sky has been monitoring its recruitment statistics and says there has been a 30-45 per cent increase in women applying to the company since the initiative came in. As part of the initiative, Sky pulls together 50/50 male/female shortlists for relevant job openings.

What employees say: ‘Excellent campus and work environment,’ said a senior engineer based Isleworth, Greater London. ‘Great balance of diversity across the UK employees.’

Ocado Technology

Who they are: The technology company behind Ocado, the world’s largest online-only grocery retailer.

What they offer women: Part-time options available for working mothers.

What employees say: ‘I get to work with lots of really talented people, working on some really clever things. I joined the company following maternity leave and was able to agree a part time post.

‘Ocado Tech couldn’t have been more flexible or supportive,’ wrote an anonymous employee. ‘It’s a great place to work if you have dependents, the benefits are pretty good, and I have a good work/life balance.’

Sanctuary Group

Who they are: One of the UK’s leading providers of housing, care and community services.

What they offer women: Offers flexible working and a generous maternity leave package.

What employees say: ‘I’ve just returned from maternity leave and have found the company is excellent at supporting new mums back to work,’ wrote one female employee from Worcester. ‘My manager kept in touch while I was on leave and when I returned, allowed me to change my working hours so I can drop my son at nursery.

‘They have also been very understanding about when I need to leave to get him if he’s not very well and can’t stay at nursery. The maternity leave package is very good and they offer five days per year parental paid leave for emergencies, on top of good annual leave.’


Who they are: A global mobile network provider.

What they offer women: Sixteen weeks’ fully paid maternity leave and full pay for working a reduced 30-hour week for the first six months after returning to work.

What employees say: ‘Vodafone tends to add that little extra to all benefits from extra maternity leave time to sick leave support and so on,’ said a Bid Manager from Newbury, Berkshire.


Who they are: One of the UK’s largest investment managers.

What they offer women: Participates in an inclusion initiative that develops and networks female employees in mid to senior roles, as well as being flexible for working mothers.

What employees say: ‘It is a great company to work for,’ wrote one London-based employee. ‘They support you in all your educational needs and career development. There are so many training sessions. The people are friendly and work life balance is excellent.

‘Another plus is that HR trains staff very well to support women in their careers even during pregnancy/maternity. I recently had a baby and I was initially scared that my career opportunities would suffer because of my pregnancy, but not at all. I wish more companies were like this.’


Who they are: One of the world’s leading media agency networks.

What they offer women: Part-time options available for working mothers

What employees say: ‘I am lucky to have returned to work after maternity leave to a role, and people, I love working with, on a part time basis, with lots of flexibility and support from the management team so that I can continue to progress in my career and have many opportunities open to me.

‘MEC is a fantastic place to work with so many talented people that work together to produce innovative and inspiring industry leading work for our client,’ wrote one anonymous employee on Glassdoor.

First Direct

Who they are: Online and telephone bank, part of the HSBC Group

What they offer women: On-site creche.

What employees say: ‘Cares about customers. Fun working environment,’ commented a former employee. ‘Great facilities on site including Costa, on site Creche, staff restaurant, ATM, gym, and concierge.’


Who they are: A design, engineering and project management consultancy.

What they offer women: Offers flexible working, which may include part-time, term-time or home working.

What employees say: ‘Atkins is a company that respects family and welcomes the opportunity for everyone especially women with children to have a good work-life balance (although sometimes this could depend on the kind of line manager you have),’ wrote a chartered civil engineer from London.

‘However, in general, Atkins is set up such that by Company Law, you are given the opportunity to work around your family life. I love Atkins. It’s the best company I’ve worked for so far. The people are extremely friendly and I have not experienced the company politics which is normally so rampant in many work places.’


Who they are: One of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing and human capital management solutions.

What they offer women: ADP has its own Women in Leadership network, an initiative focussed on ADP’s female executive development, as well as an International Women’s Inclusion Network, a global women’s business resource group.

What employees say: ‘I have been at ADP for five years and have always been encouraged to develop as a leader,’ wrote aDVP Sales Operations GESi worker from London. ‘Our investment in leaders is top class and our Women in Leader program sets us apart.’

About Author


Leave a Reply