Top 50 employee owned companies in 2023
The Employee Ownership Top 50, originally created in 2014 by the late Nigel Mason, is a list of the largest 50 private employee-owned companies by number of employees in the UK. RM2 is proudly continuing the research as part of Nigel’s legacy, and publishing it as normal in partnership with the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).
Key Facts for 2023
- There are eleven new entrants: A.T. Kearney Holdings Limited, Advance Group Holdings Limited, GTD Healthcare Limited, Navigo Health and Social Care CIC, Tullis Russell Group Limited, PossAbilities CIC, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Limited, Zaha Hadid Limited, Alliance Disposables Limited, Hollis Global Limited and Kingsland Drinks Group Limited.
- Combined sales for the Top 50 is £23 billion, which is up 5.1% on a like-for-like basis.
- Total employees for the Top 50 is 181,219 which is holding steady from last year.
- The mean change in operating profit for the Top 50 is plus 6%.
- There has been an increase in median productivity, defined as value added per employee, of 1.7%.
- The minimum employee threshold for eligibility in the Top 50 has risen to 498 individuals, representing an increase from 433 employees in the previous year. This upward trend indicates a progression in the scale and size of companies included in the list. Notably, in 2014, when the Top 50 list was introduced, the minimum employee count stood at 143, underscoring the substantial growth experienced by employee-owned businesses over the years.
“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.
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 eleven new entrants: A.T. Kearney Holdings Limited, Advance Group Holdings Limited, GTD Healthcare Limited, Navigo Health and Social Care CIC, Tullis Russell Group Limited, PossAbilities CIC, Rochdale Boroughwide Housing Limited, Zaha Hadid Limited, Alliance Disposables Limited, Hollis Global Limited and Kingsland Drinks Group Limited.
Five of the new entrants are owned by Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs), bringing the total number of EOT owned companies on the list to 20. We expect that number to increase as EOTs continue to be a popular and flexible succession solution for owners of private companies. Based on our independent research and collaboration with the Employee Ownership Association (EOA), we have discovered that the number of employee-owned businesses has reached a minimum of 1,418 at present. This represents a notable increase of 389 employee-owned businesses since the last Employee Ownership Day, demonstrating a substantial growth rate of 37.4%. The professional services sector remains the predominant industry in terms of employee ownership, followed by manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade, as well as information and communications.
The largest of the EOTs in the Top 50 list is Shaw Healthcare (Group) Limited. This was an EOT that RM2 completed in May 2020. They are also the largest of the healthcare providers within the Top 50 list.
Nearly ten years on from the introduction of the EOT structure, the sector continues to undergo transformation year on year. The EOT model is becoming more widely accepted as a genuine commercial ownership structure for businesses, although many enterprises adopt a variety of alternative employee ownership models to fit their particular requirements. The Top 50 companies inevitably represent a reduced proportion of the overall population of employee owned businesses but continue to evidence the dynamic employee ownership environment and the ongoing evolving nature of the sector.
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