The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2019: Best in Class - Insights Report

Executive Summary / Introduction

The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2019: Best in Class - Insights Report 2019 is for organisations who want to learn from the success and impact of others to continue their journey towards workplace equality. The report outlines some of the most effective approaches and highlights best practice examples, with in-depth analysis into particularly important areas.
The report uses the data submitted by applicants for The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2019, the UK’s most highly profiled and well-established listing of employers leading the way on workplace gender equality. It finds culture and behavioural change is an underlying theme which connected all the organisations who achieved impact, despite the differences in approaches, sectors and industries. 
The Times Top 50 Employers for Women application process asks organisation what they are doing to become a top employer for women. In particular:
  • What policies and processes are in place and how they are encouraging a culture that enables these
  • What impact these activities and initiatives are having
The process also asks organisations to answer a range of questions focusing on: strategy and accountability; data monitoring and transparency; policies and processes; workplace culture and wider reach.


Across the board there were excellent examples provided by organisations. This was strongest in the strategy and accountability and policies and procedures sections, which saw the highest average scores overall.

Organisations excelled in determining their approach to gender equality and engaging senior leaders and line managers in the process. Many demonstrated integration and accountability for gender equality in their organisation, providing SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) targets to ensure this was embedded in the organisational culture. Mandatory training and regular support on several subjects were provided from c-suite level to line managers, with clear evidence of feedback loops and ownership.
Attraction, recruitment and progression policies and initiatives were innovative and comprehensive. There were examples of de-biasing, targeting and developing, with a variety of approaches coming out of different sectors and industries, internal and external to organisations. Organisations succeeded by cultivating their pipeline and ensuring retention in their strategies. The strongest approaches were holistic and focused on all women, not a select few.

There were examples of organisations who succeeded in data monitoring and transparency, but responses were not as strong overall. Organisations indicated that they were collecting gender-related data. However, the impact of measurement was less clear, as was how this was intersectional. Intersectionality was often misunderstood, or misinterpreted, and intersectional initiatives to support gender equality were few and far between.

Workplace culture and wider reach of organisations was, similarly, mixed. Successful organisations were able to establish how their policies and procedures were underpinned by their culture. There are lessons to be learnt from organisations who are getting this right but there is a long way to go before this is embedded across all workplaces.

Implementing policies and delivering initiatives are only as successful as the impact they are having in reality. The Times Top 50 question set and scoring criteria determined that when we ask organisations to measure and monitor their impact, we are asking them to understand and evidence the change they are seeking to achieve. 

The full version of this report is available to members with a gender equality partnership and applicants to The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2019. Applicants can email to request a free copy. Members with a gender equality partnership can access the document below.