Amongst fierce competition, Virgin Australia has retained the title of Australia’s Most Attractive Employer for the second consecutive year, only just beating Qantas, according to Randstad’s annual employer branding research, culminating in the Randstad Award.

With more than half of all Aussies (51.34 per cent) claiming they would like to work for the aviation giant, Virgin Australia held off strong competition to narrowly edge out Australian icon Qantas, who only just came in second place at 51.30 per cent, and defence, security and aerospace company BAE Systems, who took out third spot (49.17 per cent).

The Randstad Award, presented in front of senior executives from Australia’s top 20 most attractive employers in Sydney’s Quay restaurant last night, recognises the organisations considered to be the most attractive employers according to over 10,000 Australians.

Virgin Australia must be congratulated for maintaining its top position once again after winning in 2015 and in the inaugural award in 2011, and for consistently placing in the top three since the Randstad Award’s inception.

Virgin Australia clearly has a winning formula as one in every two people in the country know the Virgin brand, love it and would love to work there. This is a very powerful asset to own.

Our employer branding research, revealing public perception of Australia’s 150 largest employers (largest by workforce size), sighted Virgin Australia as particularly attractive when it comes to offering a good work-life balance, a pleasant working atmosphere and strong management. Virgin Australia was also recognised as the most attractive employer for women and people in the 25-44 age bracket.

Geraldine Chin Moody, Group Executive, People, Culture and Sustainability at Virgin Australia, said, “We are incredibly proud of the lengths to which our people go to bring the Virgin Australia brand to life. It’s fantastic to see their passion and commitment recognised with the Randstad Award for the second consecutive year.”

Qantas’ popularity soared this year after placing fifth in 2015, and only just missing the top spot by 0.04 percentage points. For people in the 18-24 and 45+ age bracket, Qantas took the top spot, both men and women find Qantas the second most attractive employer, and Qantas was perceived as standing out for offering a pleasant working atmosphere.

Of Qantas’ employee value proposition, Lisa Burquest, Executive Manager of HR and Change said, “When people come and join Qantas we often hear commentary around the variety of activity, we hear about the energy and excitement and diversity. It’s a complex business operating in a highly competitive environment. Our people determine our success in everything we do – from the front line employees who serve our customers through to our corporate and back office support people who make sure our business settings are where they need to be.”

BAE Systems was named the third most attractive employer this year after flying up from 14th place in 2015 and consistently being in the top 20 since Randstad Award’s inception in 2011. BAE Systems stands out as a great place to work particularly by men, and workers aged in the 45+ age group.

Cathy Riach, National Recruitment and Resourcing Manager for BAE Systems, said, “Above all else there is strong commitment and a strong sense of community at BAE Systems, a collegiate atmosphere and an approach of togetherness that incorporates both our strong focus on diversity and on delivering as a team.

“This strong and well-articulated employer brand is essential. For us it’s the way we can capture and share the essence of who we are and what it is to work for BAE Systems.”

the aviation industry leading the pack 

With the top three most attractive companies coming from the Aviation and aerospace sector, it comes as no surprise it was the Most Attractive Sector to work for in the country, with 46 per cent of Australians surveyed saying they would like to work for Aviation companies.

Aviation has proven to be an incredibly popular sector for Australian workers for a number of years. This year it appealed to almost all demographics in the country including both men and women, all age groups from 18 to 65 years and people in every state, except Western Australia, where mining and natural resources held its ground.

Aviation is perceived by workers, both in Australia and around the world, as a sector that offers many attractive attributes. It leads in training, interesting job content and its working atmosphere. The sector is also rated highly for strong management, work-life balance, being environmentally and socially aware, as well as for offering career progression opportunities and excellent salary and employee benefits. It is perceived to have more attractive attributes than any other sector.

Our research reveals the majority of Aussies (84 per cent) consider travelling for work as an added value to their job, with more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed saying they would like to have a job which requires international travel, yet only a quarter (24 per cent) currently do.

Many Australians consider the opportunity to travel as part of their job a tremendous benefit alongside their salary. This is a key point for employers looking to fill roles that require travel, to note it and promote it in job descriptions and conversations with prospective talent – no matter what sector they operate in.

top three sectors in australia

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (38 per cent) and State and Federal Government (36 per cent) made up the top three sectors to work for in the country.

Well-known consumer brands are good at articulating and offering strong employer value propositions – Nestle, Wesfarmers and Coca-Cola Amatil are perfect examples. Workplaces in the sector placed highly for pleasant working atmosphere, offering good work-life balance and being financially healthy – all top attributes people look for in an employer.

Government also remains an attractive sector for Australians - with nine out of the top 20 most attractive employer organisations this year being state and federal government organisations. Government agencies rated highly across virtually all attributes, placing first for providing long-term job security, good work-life balance and being environmentally and socially aware.

key takeaways

The research highlights just how crucial employer branding and having a strong employer value proposition (EVP) is to attracting and retaining top talent in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Our employer branding research is designed to help business leaders take a much closer look at their talent attraction and retention strategy. For the 150 brands researched, it identifies how their employer brand compares to their competitors and how they are positioned within their sector. These valuable insights guide companies in measuring what they offer compared to what their employees want, as well as create a credible employee value proposition.

We all want the best and brightest to be impressed when they research our organisation as a potential employer. The key is to maximise and communicate your employee value proposition to ensure your business is placed on the shortlist prepared by top talent.

Find out what appeals to the demographic and type of talent you are looking for. If you’re looking to attract the best new young talent, then promoting your training programs, career opportunities and job content will be key. For older workers and women, promote your flexible working arrangements and good work life balance opportunities. Keep in mind, however, that individuals have different needs, depending on where they sit in the lifecycle. This makes it important for management to understand what they are looking for in an employee and to ensure your brand reflects those attributes, as well as articulates the rich and varied traits that make your organisation unique.

The sky is the limit once you have developed a strong employer brand. Not only do 84 per cent of workers state they would leave their current job to work for a company with a better corporate reputation, it’s also been found payroll costs will be reduced by 10 per cent and staff turnover can be reduced by 28 per cent.

It’s never been more important to build and nurture a strong employer brand. With Randstad’s employer branding research being the truest reflection of employer attractiveness for Australia’s largest employers, we hope this report provides valuable insights to help businesses, both large and small, create brand ambassadors both within and outside their organisation.

For further information or to see where your organisation places in the Randstad Employer Branding Research, visit

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