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The UK’s Four Highest Rated Female CEOs in 2017

Today, Glassdoor announced its 2017 Employees’ Choice Awards* for the Highest Rated CEOs, according to UK-based employees. Four of the top 50 CEOs in the UK are women (up from three in 2016), representing eight percent of the list, which outranks the percentage of female CEOs in the FTSE 100 – currently standing at just seven percent. Furthermore, each of these CEOs has scored an approval rating of at least 85% from their employees over the past 12 months – well above the average rating of 67 percent on Glassdoor.

It’s important to recognise, and celebrate, these women in leadership awards, especially when we take into account the ratings truly reflects employee opinion about the job they do every day. Here, we take a look at these strong female leaders and discover what makes them so highly rated among their own employees.

Philippa Jones, Chief Executive at Bromford – 94% Approval Rating

Sitting just outside the Top 10 is Philippa Jones, the Chief Executive of non-profit affordable housing association Bromford. Jones has been at the helm since January 2015 having worked across various roles in the organisation for over 26 years. A self-described “calm revolutionary”, she lists Sandy Toksvig, Florence Nightingale and Rosa Parks as some of her personal heroines.  Known for being passionate about helping people unlock their own potential, Jones holds an overall 94% approval rating amongst her employees and the company boasts a rating of 4.6 out 5 stars on Glassdoor.

Here’s what some of her employees had to say about the organisation under her leadership:

“Very supportive management structure and company ethos that lends itself to being able to progress in the company. Great track record of growing your own. Great benefits.” – Current Employee

“Moving over to Bromford has been the best move I’ve ever made. The company really does invest in its employees. I’ve been working here 7 months now and have to say I really am enjoying working for such a positive and driven company. My Role is quite demanding but there is no end to support from all levels within the business.” – Current Employee

Carolyn McCall, CEO at easyJet – 89% Approval Rating

Dame Carolyn McCall took charge of easyJet in July 2010. She made customer service a priority and is credited with introducing customer focused initiatives such as allocated seating, making life easier for millions of passengers. Punctuality and service reliability have also improved considerably under her leadership. She was awarded a Damehood in 2016 in recognition of her services to the aviation industry and in the same year, she received France’s highest merit, the Légion d’honneur. This was due to the significant economic and industrial benefits she and her team have delivered to France, through opening up the air travel to the masses and enabling them to discover Europe as well as her support of women in the industry, particularly female pilots.

Here’s what her employees had to say about working at easyJet:

“Well treated, experience and qualifications well respected. Management always welcome ideas to improve and do their best to enable good ideas to become reality.” Current Employee

“The company is always growing and evolving – no day is ever the same. There are tonnes of opportunities for everyone to experience new ways of working, cultures, job roles etc. The culture within the company is still young at heart, we never settle for good when we know we can achieve greatness and we all share the same ambition to be the best we can be.” Current Employee

Sacha Romanovitch, CEO at Grant Thornton UK  – 88% Approval Rating

As an Oxford graduate, it’s interesting that it caused quite a stir in 2015 when Romanovitch became the first female CEO of the top London accountancy firm. Was it because she was a woman? Or did it have more to do with her profit sharing policies? While her other policies – encouraging flexible working, supporting diversity schemes and profit sharing amongst the wider team – might have seemed radical when she first took rank, the modernisation of the organisation has been well received by her wider teams.

Here’s what some of her employees had to say about the organisation under Sacha’s leadership:

“People centred culture, encourages self-development, flexible working, great relationships with clients and intermediaries. Friendly and approachable business leaders. A wealth of sector experienced professionals”Current Employee

“Friendly people with a positive culture. Trying to do something a little different from other accountancy firms. Well run organization. Moving towards a ‘shared enterprise’ model (like a light version of John Lewis’ employee ownership). Interesting CEO (Sacha Romanovitch) who has capped her own pay at a multiple of the lowest paid employee” Current Employee

Pam Nicholson, CEO at Enterprise Holdings – 85% Approval Rating  

Enterprise Holdings CEO Pamela Nicholson is no stranger to be included on lists documenting strong female leaders. In 2007, Fortune named her as one of the 50 Most Powerful Women and in 2009 she came in at number 89 on the Forbes list of Most Powerful Women. This was despite the fact that she did not take on the leadership role at Enterprise until 2013. Nicholson joined the company as a management trainee and was continually promoted throughout the ranks, eventually gaining the CEO title – the first female in the company’s history to do so and the first non-family member to be appointed to the most senior position in the organisation. Her predecessors were Jack Taylor, the company founder, and his son Andy. Known for her desire to continue the company tradition of advocating a promote-from-within culture and putting customer experience at the heart of the company values, it’s no wonder that Nicholson has such a high approval rating amongst her employees.

Here is a snapshot into what life is like at Enterprise under her management:

“Enterprise has offered me opportunities that I didn’t think would be possible in such a short space of time. Almost doubling my salary in less than 2 years. They really do reward hard work!” –Current Employee

“There are endless pro’s to working for Enterprise, one of the core values is “we work hard and we reward hard work”, however cliché this may sound it is 100% true. I have found myself in a position of Branch manager in just over 2 years by working hard. I have constantly had people around me whose main role was to develop me and now I have the opportunity to do that with others around me, it gives you a real sense of worth” –Current Employee  

Do you think your CEO should be honoured as one of the best? Share a company review on Glassdoor, and provide feedback on how you think your CEO is successfully leading the company. By doing so, you’ll be helping your CEO get in the running for next year’s awards.

*Employees’ Choice Award winners for the 2017 Highest Rated CEOs are determined using Glassdoor’s proprietary algorithm, taking into account the quantity, quality and consistency of Glassdoor-approved company reviews shared by UK-based employees between 2 May, 2016 and 1 May, 2017. At a minimum, employers considered for the list must have received at least 30 company reviews, including at least 30 CEO approval ratings and at least 30 senior management ratings during the eligibility period.

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