The top 10 companies where British professionals want to work

Space has a particular allure.
Space has a particular allure.
Image: Reuters/Jonathan Alcorn
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In the UK, large companies are increasingly losing their allure to jobs offering a less conventional work environment.

Escape the City, an organization which helps young, unfulfilled corporate professionals leave the conventional path, just released a study which illustrates why so many young workers are looking to switch careers.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 young professionals, found that 50% of those surveyed do not see themselves working for the organization they’re working for now, while half of them want to start their own business. They say their work lacks a clear sense of purpose, have physical and mental health issues, as a result of their job and would like to make more of a social impact.

“The world of work is changing dramatically, people are just not satisfied with the status quo any longer,” Dom Jackman, co-founder of Escape the City, tells Quartz. “It’s no longer the case that joining a big company is the only option—there are an abundance of opportunities out there that give people a feel-good factor they just don’t get at a big company.“

Figures from YouGov released earlier this month showed that 37% of British workers suggested their work is “meaningless,” with Londoners being the most likely group to say their job is unfulfilling (41%). This is higher than in the US (24%) and slightly higher than in Germany (35%).

According to the Escape the City report, the consultancy firm Accenture tops the list of companies young corporates most want to escape from, followed by the Big Four accounting and consultancy firms Ernst & Young, KPMG, PwC, and Deloitte. Also in the top 10 are the leading investment banks Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Citi.

Among the companies these young professionals want to join, home-rental site Airbnb is the most popular, followed by taxi-app Uber and Virgin Galactic, the spaceflight company from the British Virgin group. Drinks companies Vita Coco, a producer of coconut water, and Pact Coffee, which delivers freshly roasted coffee, are also listed in the top five.

Why the City of London exodus? It is easier and cheaper than ever to become an entrepreneur, with online tools becoming increasingly more sophisticated.

This is reflected in the growing number of startups in the UK, with over 580,000 new businesses launched in 2014 alone. Currently 96% of these companies are micro-businesses (up to nine employees), employing over 7 million people altogether. Since 2000, the number of micro-firms in the UK has increased by 40%.

Technology has also revolutionized the ability to work from anywhere (like a beach in Bali) and has led to the rise of co-working, adding to the reasons young professionals increasingly want to work location-independent jobs.

Moreover, young professionals lost trust in big organizations and employers in the aftermath of the recession, making it easier for them to leave “stable” work to find something more fulfilling. This is why retaining talent is now a bigger challenge for large companies than attracting the brightest minds, the report said.

While companies are increasingly trying to embrace more flexible work arrangments, with Goldman Sachs having eased its tradition of permanent overtime and pushing young bankers to relax during the weekends, Escape the City’s Dom Jackman warns that it won’t be enough. In an open letter, he writes that ”it’s only a matter of time” before another quarter of a million people leave their doors.

Image by Giorgio Montersino on Flickr, licensed under CC-BY-2.0.