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Employer focus

An insight into a number of top UK employers briefly outlining their history, recruitment policies and what career prospects are available to employees of such firms.

  • Norwich Union
  • Norwich Union is Britains largest insurer, handling policies for one in seven cars, one in five households and 800,000 small businesses.
  • Thales
  • Worldwide, Thales employs some 60,000 people, and generates revenue of around 7bn.
  • Tesco
  • More than 260,000 staff work in nearly 2,000 stores and distribution centres across the UK. Profits have soared in the past decade. They currently stand at 2.2bn, a 17 per cent rise on last year. Turnover is a mouth-watering 38bn.
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Merrill Lynch is an investment bank. It manages money for individuals and companies, and gives advice in a range of other financial areas, including investments and insurance.
  • Lloyds TSB
  • Seventeen million customers are served by 80,000 staff, spread around 2,000 branches in 30 countries. The bulk work in the UK.
  • Servier
  • Servier Laboratories was founded in 1954 in Orlans, as a family-owned provincial chemist with just nine staff. Now there are more than 17,500 employees worldwide, with annual sales approaching £2bn.
  • T-Mobile
  • The company is the offspring of the Anglo-German merger in 1999 of the mobile phone businesses One 2 One and Deutsche Telekom. Like all its rivals, it has to innovate to maintain business growth now that mobile phone ownership on its own has reached saturation levels.
  • Standard Life
  • The 10,000 employees look after seven million customers and eye-watering amounts of wealth. The worldwide fund management business handles over 120bn.
  • Procter and Gamble
  • The P&G; community consists of almost 140,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. Among them are 7,500 working in the UK and Ireland.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland
  • The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) group runs the second biggest banking operation in Europe and the sixth biggest in the world. Under the RBS corporate kilt, there are numerous other household names in the world of finance and insurance, the biggest of which is the National Westminster Bank, taken over by RBS in 2000.
  • Pfizer
  • The worldwide workforce of 115,000 generates annual revenues of around 30bn with more than 6,000 working in the UK.
  • Siemens
  • It's one of those business names that feels like it's been around for ever (it has, almost!), but how many of us can pin down exactly what it does? The uncertainty's probably a product of the vast range of stuff bearing the Siemens name. The common factor is hi-tech, and among the most visible products in daily life are mobile phones, computers, cookers, fridges and washing machines.
  • Shell
  • The company's global clout is based on oil and gas. But these days, with the burning of fossil fuels widely accepted to be behind global warming, no business can survive without green credentials as well.
  • Sainsbury's
  • One of the best-known names on the high street, and at out-of-town locations, Sainsbury's also has one of the oldest pedigrees, its roots stretching back to a small dairy shop in London's Drury Lane in 1869.
  • Fujitsu
  • Fujitsu, a Japanese-owned conglomerate, is the third largest IT company in the world and the biggest in Europe. It designs, builds and operates IT systems and services for customers in the financial services, telecoms, retail, utilities and government sectors.
  • HSBC
  • Originally the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, HSBC has grown to become one of the largest banks in the world. Its network stretches across the continents, to some 10,000 offices in 76 countries, a reach prompting the ubiquitous advertising slogan &lquo;The worlds local bank&rquo;.
  • Rolls Royce
  • It all began in 1904 in Manchester when Charles Rolls, a car seller, and Henry Royce, who'd just started manufacturing them, got together to form what would become one of the top-drawer brand names on four wheels. In the decades that followed, aero and marine engines acquired similarly impressive reputations. Today, the company has 54,000 gas turbines (engines) in service.
  • HM Revenue and Customs
  • Born in 2005 and Whitehall's newest department, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the result of the merger of the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise.
  • Reuters
  • Reuters is an international news agency with a presence all over the world. Its correspondents are often the first journalists to report on events which quickly acquire global significance.
  • L'Oréal
  • L'Oréal is a cosmetics company with worldwide reach. It has 50,000 employees in 130 countries making substances and smells that are dabbed, daubed and sprayed in ever-increasing quantities.
  • PricewaterhouseCooper
  • One of the world's so called Big Four firms of accountants, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has a business footprint covering most of the globe, with a presence in 148 countries and some 140,000 employees.
  • Mars
  • Behind the world-renowned name, however, is a giant multinational business, with a string of instantly recognisable brands, including Snickers, M&M;'s, Twix and Maltesers.
  • McDonalds
  • The first one opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. Half a century on, there are 30,000 restaurants worldwide in 119 countries, 70 per cent of them owned and run by independent franchisees.
  • Oracle
  • A well-known software name inside the IT industry, Oracle's business is information - how to manage it, use it, share it, and protect it.
  • Marks & Spencer
  • M&S; once held the undisputed mantle of "favourite High Street store" for the middle classes.

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