Revealed: SA's 10 best employers

The Top Employers Institute has identified the top 10 companies in SA that are going the extra mile.

The Top Employers Institute has identified the top 10 companies in South Africa which are going the extra mile. Picture: Unilever.

JOHANNESBURG - It is not unusual to feel under-appreciated at work from time to time. Most of us are familiar, to varying degrees, with the feeling that we are undervalued or simply that we are unfulfilled.

But it can be difficult to put your finger on what would make you a happier, more productive employee... A new computer? A more comfortable chair? Or perhaps a state-of-the-art coffee machine? Whatever the answer, this can be pretty low on an employer's priority list.

But then there are the exceptions. The Top Employers Institute has identified the top 10 companies in South Africa that are going the extra mile.

Forget the coffee machine. Imagine having an ice cream station, a salon and a gym - all accessible during breaks or between meetings. It sounds like a dream, but it is a daily reality for staff at Unilever's Durban offices.

The institute uses a rigorous certification process to score companies on several points relating to employee development.

Number 10: Sasol & Clicks Group

Tenth place is a tie between energy giant Sasol and pharmaceutical retailer Clicks. The health and beauty chain opened its first store in 1968 in Cape Town and has since established itself in most South African towns and cities.

Sasol has 34,000 people working in 37 countries but traces back its humble beginnings to the original coal-to-liquids complex at Sasolburg when it produced its first eight drums of creosote in 1955.

Number 9: Kimberly-Clark of South Africa

Health and hygiene product owner Kimberly-Clark South Africa is a subsidiary of the US-based Kimberly-Clark Corporation. One of its most famous brands Kleenex, has become so embedded in households it has replaced the word 'tissue' in common vocabulary.

Number 8: Coca-Cola South Africa

The South African market is the soft drink giant's most successful on the continent and the country consistently ranks among the best performing in the world for the company.

The drink, invented through American pharmacist Dr John Pemberton's 1886 experiment, was first sold at a local pharmacy mixed with carbonated water.

A century later Coca-Cola has produced more than 10 billion gallons of syrup and sells over 1.8 billion servings per day worldwide.

Coca-Cola was first introduced in South Africa in the 1930s, in the form of fountain syrup in the Waldorf Café, St George's Street.

Number 7: Tata Consultancy Services (SA)

Perhaps better known for producing cars, TCS South Africa was established in 2007 to improve services to the company's South African and sub-Saharan customers. So it became one of the first Indian IT services and consulting companies to enter South Africa.

Number 6: SAP Africa

SAP Africa, a subsidiary of SAP SE, began business operations in 1982. Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, with locations in more than 130 countries, SAP SE is the world leader in enterprise software and software-related services.

Number 5: Microsoft South Africa

Founded in 1975 by childhood friends Paul Allen and Bill Gates, the American computer software company is a well-known leader in the industry.

Number 4: Old Mutual

Founded in 1845 in South Africa, Old Mutual provides investment, savings, life assurance, asset management, banking and property & casualty insurance in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia.

The company now boasts over 16 million customers and approximately 57,000 employees and is the largest financial services provider in Southern Africa.

Number 3: EY South Africa

The EY building in Sandton.

EY has a history dating back to the 19th century. Arthur Young and Alwin C Ernst, who both started small accounting firms at the turn of the last century, never met in life. It was only in 1989 when the firms combined to create Ernst & Young.

Now a global organisation of 190,000 people, EY traces back its philosophy and vision right back to its founding fathers.

In 1920, Ernst & Ernst's operating philosophy stated: "The success of Ernst & Ernst depends wholly upon the character, ability and industry of the men and women who make up the organisation."

The sentiment is still echoed today by EY South Africa: "We know that if we create a rich and holistic experience for our people- before they join us, while they are here and long after they leave - great people will be attracted to us as the employer of choice. We do this by providing our people with exceptional experiences, relationships, coaching and learning opportunities - allowing them to emerge as global business leaders in Africa."

Number 2: Accenture SA

Providing management consulting, technology services and outsourcing, Accenture has 305,000 employees and a presence in more than 200 cities in 56 countries. The Top Employers Institute says the company: "provides exceptional employee conditions, nurtures and develops talent throughout all levels of the organisation and has demonstrated its leadership status in the HR environment, always striving to optimise its employment practices and to develop its employees."

Number 1: Unilever South Africa

Despite it now owning numerous well-known household brands, Sunlight remains the company's biggest seller.

The company has made big investments in creating great working conditions for their employees. HR vice president Antoinette Irvine has warned employers not to underestimate the importance of good HR policies and practices.

With the lure of overseas jobs, she says South African employers need to consider how they will invest in their people, since the company believes it plays a hugely important part in determining the success of a business.