The work you trained for and the job you’ve found may feel worlds away from the daily grind of writing sparkling up-to-the-minute scripts for The Late Show. But, as the 2023 WGA Writers Strike demonstrates, the needs of TV writers — including those hired on a project basis — echo the needs of employees across every other industry, even if the fine details vary.
Employees want fair pay. Security. Reassurances against disruptive developments in the economy or in technology. In short, humanity. In the case of the Hollywood strike, there’s a key ingredient that keeps the writers fighting when they could just leave: they love the work. But they want change because humans need respect.
Thankfully, many companies do provide excellent support and conditions for their staff — out of a feeling of shared humanity or simply because it makes good business sense. We identified some of them in Resume.io’s 2022 guide to the companies whose employees stay put, discovering that the benefits of working for the likes of HSBC Bank USA and Neutrogena were far greater than the temptation of joining the short-lived ‘Great Resignation.’
Now, Resume.io has updated our data for 2023, zeroing in on the companies with the very best and very worst retention rates in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia.
What we did
Resume.io analyzed the LinkedIn pages of the top 100 companies by market cap in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia. We ranked each business based on its average tenure to find the companies that are best at retaining their staff.
- U.S.: the company with the longest average tenure is ConocoPhillips (10.6 years), and the company with the shortest is Apple (1.7 years).
- UK: Bunzl holds onto its employees the longest (10.2 years), InterContinental Hotels Group the shortest (1.6 years).
- Canada: Great-West Lifeco employees stay the longest (10.8 years), Telus International the shortest (1.5 years).
- Australia: BlueScope Steel employees stay the longest (9.7 years) and Liontown Resources the shortest (0.6 years).
U.S.: Alaskan oil producer won’t let employees slip away
ConocoPhillips, Alaska's largest crude oil producer, leads a U.S. employee retention top ten dominated by energy and engineering companies by a considerable margin. The company offers university scholarships to attract young talent and “challenging and rewarding projects around the world” for military veterans looking to transition into secure yet exciting work.
Altria Group, in joint second place, is the only retailer company in the top 20. The cigarette company is currently embroiled in an existential struggle to pivot to smokeless tobacco. But its employees are accustomed to new challenges: from the very start, they move between roles and departments, in a “thoughtful and purposeful” process partly designed to highlight underused potential.
Tech giants among worst employers
Several of America’s most famous brands are among those that most struggle to retain talent. Tesla, Goldman Sachs, Netflix, Mastercard and Alphabet (Google) are all among the bottom 20. And the three worst performers — Apple, Amazon and Meta (Facebook) — all struggle to hold employees for more than two years.
Just a couple of years ago, Apple was being lauded for its retention strategies. But then, in an apparently misguided attempt to dissuade some engineers from defecting to Meta or elsewhere, Apple offered stocks worth $50,000 to $180,000 to stay loyal. Observers claim this created divisions in the company, while even those who were offered the bonus were left feeling strangely undervalued by the payoff, particularly with deeper workplace issues left unattended.
19th century UK company retains legacy employees
Bunzl may sound like a trendy tech start-up, but the business supplies company was established in the UK as far back as 1940 as the charmingly-named Tissue Papers Limited, its owners having relocated from Nazi Austria. In fact, the family company can trace its business roots all the way back to the haberdashery started by Moritz Bunzl in Slovakia in 1854.
The company maintains a family feel across the 22,500 employees of its international operation by keeping its branches in regular contact with each other. It offers incentives on a personal level through a range of educational funds, financial solutions and economic opportunities such as spending accounts and reduced-price stocks.
Tesco and NatWest among UK firms losing staff
Big UK names from a range of industries battle to be the company employees most love to leave. The country’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, manages a mediocre 4.4 years. But InterContinental Hotels and NatWest do far worse, struggling to hold employees for two years. Aware that its employees are very much the ambassadors of the brand, InterContinental has turned to AI solutions in order to better understand the potential of its employees.
“Deploying the right people to deliver the true brand experience is a huge undertaking with our focus on increasing employee retention and improving performance in order to maximize customer satisfaction,” says Hazel Hogben, a head of HR in the company. However, whether using AI to “capture and analyze employee performance” improves employee morale remains to be seen.
Great-West Lifeco leads Canadian super-employers
Canada’s Great-West Lifeco has the longest average employee tenure in our entire study. Indeed, Grace Palombo, the company’s Chief Human Resources Officer, was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2018.
“Grace's exceptional leadership has put in place strategies to ensure we have the right talent to meet our current and future business needs,” says Great-West’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Paul Mahon. “This recognition is a true testament to our shared values of doing what's right, building trust and partnership, and putting people first in all that we do.”
Canadian employer solutions company has worst employer record
Tech company Telus, established in 2005, has Canada’s shortest average tenure. Ironically, the company offers ‘Employer Solutions’ among its many services and even publishes its own take on staff retention. But as one employee puts it on Glassdoor, “the company has all the bells and whistles but they’re at the whim of their client. You may request time off, but if the requirements of the client aren’t met — it’s rejected.”
Fellow tech company Shopify also offers retention advice despite an average tenure of just two years. The Ottawa-based company actually laid off over 1,000 staff in 2022 and thousands more in May 2023, having restructured its employee compensation scheme. The company is known for its gaming-oriented leadership and maintains its own employee e-sports team. But a video game-like approach to HR reflects poorly on the brand, with billionaire CEO Tobi Lütke describing the decision of who to lay off in terms of “looking at side quests and figuring out which weren’t contributing to the main “game” story of the company,” according to one ex-employee.
Australian steel magnates hold on tight to workforce
BlueScope Steel maintains over 8,000 employees and contractors at 35 sites and boasts the best staff retention rates in Australia. The company recently scored a big win with employees by offering personalized gift cards in recognition of a tough but fruitful Covid and post-lockdown period.
“The initiative's success was not so much in the design or the tool. It was more in the delivery. It was so stakeholder heavy because we were delivering a message to every employee, where every employee and manager would be impacted, so we had to make sure every aspect of the messaging was 100% aligned,” says BlueScope’s HR manager, Rebecca Roberts. Apparently, the scheme was so touching that the company’s security guards celebrated with cartwheels.
Atlassian among Australia’s highest employee turnover businesses
Australia is home to the four companies with the shortest average tenure in our study. Ansell, Novonix, Atlassian and Liontown Resources all fail to keep employees longer than an average of one and a half years.
Sarah Larson, former Head of Talent Management & Development at Atlassian, recommends pre-empting ‘exit interviews’ with ‘stay interviews.’ However, Larson herself left the company after just 2.7 years. According to LinkedIn data, average tenure is just 1.1 years — although this could have been dragged down by a recent round of layoffs.
Better the devil, you know?
Nobody should have to work for a company that makes them unhappy. But at the other extreme, job-hopping is not a sustainable career strategy. Staying in a job for under 18 months “sends quite a few negative signals,” according to Amy Zimmerman, hiring manager at Relay Payments. “Number one, you lack commitment. Number two, you lack perseverance. It tells me that if the going gets tough, you get going.”
It also limits your depth of knowledge. A couple of two-year roles can demonstrate your ability to adapt, but three to five years is “wonderful,” says Randstad’s Jaya Dass. You can identify the companies where you have the shortest odds of a long tenure in our full data below.
It’s also worth saying that while your employer is responsible for your conditions at work and should show a personal interest in your professional well-being, your happiness at work is not their responsibility alone. Up to 80% of employees think of work as something to be endured, but according to the teachers of a Berkeley program called The Science of Happiness, we can improve our lot by fostering a two-way sense of purpose, engagement, resilience and kindness.
Hollywood writer or not, with a little perseverance and imagination, you could create a scenario you’re happy to stay in for many seasons to come.
Methodology & sources
To find out which companies employees don't want to leave in 2023, we analyzed the LinkedIn pages of the top 100 companies in the UK, U.S., Canada and Australia and compared them to see which businesses have the highest average tenure.
First, we collected the top 100 companies by market cap using CompaniesMarketCap.com for the UK, U.S., Canada and Australia. Then we analyzed each company's LinkedIn page and collected the median tenure when available, ranking each business based on its average tenure.
The data of this analysis is correct as of June 2023
Note: Some companies were excluded from the analysis as their main headquarters were not in the country at study as a result of trading in different exchanges.