2019 Best PR Agencies to Work For, EMEA UK | Holmes Report
Charting the future of public relations
best-agencies-to-work-for

About/FAQNORTH AMERICA 2019: LARGE | MIDSIZE | SMALL | BOUTIQUE CATEGORY 1 | BOUTIQUE CATEGORY 2
EMEA 2019: NETWORK | UK | CONTINENT 


Best Agency to Work For is possibly the only predictive award the Holmes Report gives out. By this, we mean there’s a direct correlation between the agencies on this list and those that take home our biggest honor (often times at some point in the future) — Agency of the Year recognition. That’s, in part, because firms that take culture seriously tend to attract and retain smart and creative talent who, in turn, produce stellar work. It’s a simple formula but one that’s easily overlooked amid the breathless pace and tremendous pressures that are a seemingly inevitable reality of agency life. But this pace is exactly why agencies shouldn’t underestimate the power its culture has on the work its employees produce.


The firms recognized on the rankings include a few holding companies firms, but mostly independents. Some have generous benefits, others prioritize professional development or interesting work that keeps talent engaged. We’re working on an in-depth feature that will more deeply explore the factors that drive employee engagement within our industry. All participating firms can also obtain their own results mapped against either the industry or its competitive set. (For more information on this, see FAQ.) 


Trophies for the top ranking agencies will be presented at the 2019 EMEA Awards in London on Wednesday, May 22. Tickets can be purchased here



BEST AGENCY TO WORK FOR, EMEA NETWORK 
1#APCO (Independent) 
APCO emerges, again, as a top employer in EMEA. The agency consistently places in both EMEA and North America, including winning in EMEA in 2015. The firm prides itself on a generous PTO package that includes closing between the week of Christmas and New Years, plus a host of programs designed to optimize the employee experience.

For example, its Work Across Boundaries Global Exchange program selects 18 employees each year to spend time working in another APCO office around the world. The agency also offers international assignments to work on-site with a client or at another APCO office for six months or longer based on business needs. Flexible working is "almost always accommodated," including working part-time hours or flexible hours which allows parents to come in early and leave early or working from home.  The Myriam Ugeux-Gerault Fellowship, each year, provides one employee the opportunity to attend an international conference to build his or her expertise in strategic communications, corporate social responsibility, innovation or digital communication. In addition, the employee is given the opportunity to spend one week in the Paris office to learn and share best practices that promote creative communication strategies and responsible business behavior/sustainability.

Among its other programs are, the Alicia Peterson Clark Scholarship which allows employees to attend the University of Florida’s Master of Arts in Public Relations and Communication Management online program tuition-free. All European employees participate in APCO's ‘Academy’, which is a two-day training for new joiners held in a different European city every few months, the firm also provides customized training programs co-developed with acclaimed institutions — such as  MEPRA and Dale Carnegie Institute — for its Middle East offices. The firm also provides several health, wellness and charitable benefits, plus other training programs. — AaS 

#2 FleishmanHillard
(Omnicom) 
#3 Hotwire
(Enero) 
#4 H+K Strategies
(WPP)
#5 Golin
(IPG)


BEST AGENCY TO WORK FOR, UK 
#1 GCI Health (WPP)

For the first time, a network agency lands in the first spot as the Best Agency to Work For in the UK. It makes sense that GCI takes this honor, considering the WPP-owned agency has become a mainstay on this list for North America, including being named the midsize category winner this year.

In the UK, the firm employs 35 people in its London office. With its 'all voices' strategy, all of the team members are encouraged to have a say in how the business is operated and developed. Performance reviews are geared towards uncovering an individual's areas of interest, ambitions and motivations to develop custom employee plans. As a result, in the past year, 60% of its staff have been offered promotions, plus the agency has created new roles tailored to people's passions and goals. GCI also recently reviewed its benefits package to ensure it was exceeding industry standards — and, opted to add full working flexibility, which 100% of employees are now participating in. The agency maintains a 97% staff retention rate. — AaS     

#2 Pagefield (Independent)
#3 Chameleon
(Independent)
#4  MWWPR
(Independent) 
#5 Pump House
(Independent) 

BEST AGENCY TO WORK FOR, CONTINENT  
#1 Schwartz (Independent) 
Schwartz consistently shows up on our Best Agencies to Work For EMEA list (including winning the top spot last in 2016) and on our Agencies of the Year DACH list. The 25-year-old agency employees 25 people who service 50-plus clients. Incidentally, the firm saw its most successful year ever in 2018 with fees up by 20%. Schwartz’s familial culture, however, has remained the bedrock of the agency since its inception and continues to be at the core even as the firm grows. 

We've previously applauded Schwartz for the two things that set it aside as a top employer in the highly competitive German market: first, absolute transparency; and second, absolute respect, trust, and personal responsibility. The former means that every member from junior levels to directors has full insight into the agency’s business, informed via weekly staff meetings and constant open doors. The latter means individual employees get to decide when and how long they work and how they run their accounts. The firm also invests in internal and external trainings—in technology, PR, social media and more. — AaS 

#2 Allison + Partners (MDC)
#3 LVT Group (Independent)
#4 Ballou (Independent) 
#5 One Philosophy (Independent) 


About/FAQNORTH AMERICA 2019: LARGE | MIDSIZE | SMALL | BOUTIQUE CATEGORY 1 | BOUTIQUE CATEGORY 2
EMEA 2019: NETWORK | UK | CONTINENT