Top 50 employee owned companies in 2021
RM2 does the research for the Employee Ownership Top 50, a list of the largest 50 private employee-owned companies in the UK which has been prepared annually since 2014. RM2 publishes the list in a partnership with the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).
By tracking the changes in the Top 50 list year-on-year, we get an insight into the performance of the largest employee-owned companies in the UK – how much they have grown, how profitable they are, which trade sectors they operate in, and what legal forms they take.
This year, the list has six new entrants; Cleantec Services Ltd, Briggs & Forrester (UK) Ltd, Activate Solutions Group Ltd, William Gibbons Group Ltd and Oxford Policy Management Ltd.
Four of the six new entrants are Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs), bringing the total number of EOTs on the list to 17. We expect that number to increase as EOTs continue to be a popular and flexible succession solution for owners of private companies. We know from our parallel work on the EOT Survey that the number of Employee Ownership Trusts is increasing at a rate of 22% per annum. There were around 370 EOT-owned companies by the middle of May 2021.
So the shape of the sector is changing. The Top 50 represent a smaller proportion of total population of employee-owned companies, and there continues to be a great deal of growth and new EOT activity “below the radar”.
Key Facts for 2021
- There are six new entrants: Cleantec Services Ltd, Briggs & Forrester (UK) Ltd, Activate Solutions Group Ltd, William Gibbons Group Ltd and Oxford Policy Management Ltd.
- Combined sales for the Top 50 is £21.1 billion, which is up 6.7% on a like-for-like basis.
- Total employees for the Top 50 is 180,405 which is up 2.8% on a like-for-like basis.
- The median change in operating profit for the Top 50 is plus 6.7%.
- There has been a slight decrease in productivity, defined as value added per employee, of -1.0% on a like for like basis. This compares to a fall of 9.9% in productivity across the UK economy during the same period.
- 68% of the companies in the Top 50 have no debt.
- The number of employees needed to qualify for inclusion in the Top 50 has gone up slightly to 403. Last year it was 378. In 2014, when the Top 50 list was first published, it was 143.
“like for like” means that we compare each of the 50 companies on this year’s list against its own prior year results only if it appeared on last year’s list. This is to avoid new entrants distorting the comparisons.
If you would like to explore what Employee Ownership is why not download our free fact sheets, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org