How to guide: the CPP Good Employer Index

How to create a Good Employer score for your organisation

21 November 2019

8 minute read

Our report, The good life: the role of employers, released the CPP Good Employer Index scores 2019 for the 25 largest employers in the UK. This guide, aimed at both business and government, shows how to create your own good employer score in five steps:

  1. Gather data on an organisation you are interested in
  2. Troubleshoot any data issues
  3. Input your data into our online tool
  4. Diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of the employer
  5. Use your findings to promote good employment

1 – Gather data on an organisation you are interested in

You may want to use our checklist to make your own assessment of an employer, and generate a good employer score. You could also be interested in the employment practices of an organisation that plays an important role in your community.

The methodology described below is designed to work for any employer with more than 250 employees and may also be applied to smaller employers. For large employers, all our measures should be calculable from publicly available data, but in some instances, this will be more complex than the ‘simple case’ set out below. Where reporting a live status (e.g. the number of employees or LWF accreditation) we recommend that you use the latest available data and where reporting cumulative data (e.g. the volume of tribunals or fines) we recommend that you use data for the latest three years. This is to balance the fact that this data can be ‘lumpy’ with the need to allow organisations to improve. Please refer to our FAQs at the bottom of the page for help troubleshooting any issues and note that in some cases it may be more straightforward to request this information from the employer in question.

Measure Name What we mean by this Where to find the data
1. Number of employees What is the number of UK full-time equivalent (FTE) employees? Company accounts
2. LWF living wage accredited Is the employer accredited by the Living Wage Foundation (LWF) as a paying the real Living Wage? The live list of accredited employers is on the LWF’s website.
3. NMW violation fines What is the total amount of National Minimum Wage arrears as published by BEIS in the last three years? BEIS publish this information across several press releases so we recommend you refer to the collation of these in our downloadable dataset.
4. Industry relative pay rating What is the ‘compensation and benefits’ rating on crowdsource employer rating website Glassdoor? These ratings are available on the Glassdoor website
5. Employment tribunals How many employment tribunal cases has the employer been involved in in the last three years? We estimate this by the number of decisions recorded on the HM Courts and Tribunals Services webpage (note this does not provide information on tribunals that are settled out of court). The webpage is searchable, or the list of all decisions is downloadable in our dataset.
6. Career opportunities rating What is the ‘career opportunities’ rating on crowdsource employer rating website Glassdoor? These ratings are available on the Glassdoor website
7. HSE violation fines What is the total value of fines the employer has received from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the last three years? These are available on the HSE website separately for the last year and for previous years. At the time of writing the HSE website database is ‘temporarily unavailable’ so we have replicated data from the previous three years in our downloadable dataset.
8. Workplace wellbeing award Is, and at what level, the employer recognised in the Workplace Wellbeing Awards? The Gold, Silver and Bronze lists for 2018/19 can be found on Mind’s website.
9. Work life balance rating What is the ‘work/life balance’ rating on crowdsource employer rating website Glassdoor? These ratings are available on the Glassdoor website
10. Employee owned Do employees own at least 25% of the company either directly or through a trust? A list of the largest 50 employee owned companies in the UK, along with a more comprehensive definition, is available from the Employee Ownership Association. Public sector employers and charities are classed as not employee owned.
11. Gender pay gap What is the percentage difference in hourly pay between the median man and median women at the employer? All employers with over 250 employees have to submit this data to the Gender pay gap service.
12. Disability Confident signatory score Is, and at what level, the employer signed up to the Disability Confident scheme? There are three levels: Leader, Employer and Committed The live list is available on the government website.
13. CEO pay ratio What is the ratio of the pay (‘total remuneration’) of the highest paid director to the median worker? If this isn’t reported by the company, it may be already estimated by the High Pay Centre or you can follow their methodology using data from published company accounts.
14. Self-reports CEO pay ratio Does the employer voluntarily report their CEO pay ratio? From 2020 large UK listed companies will be obliged by regulation to report the figure, making this measure less revealing. You will be able to tell whether an organisation publishes this information by looking on their website and in company accounts.
15. Social mobility signatory Is the employer either in the Social Mobility Foundation’s top 75 employers or a signatory to the Social Mobility Pledge? If either, score “Yes”, if neither, score “No”. The SMF top 75 for 2019 is available here
and a live list of Social Mobility Pledge supporters is on their website.

2 – Troubleshoot any data issues

Published data on employers is limited and it can be difficult to establish even basic information, such as the number of full-time employees. This lack of transparency was one of the key motivations for creating our index and within our small sample we found that more transparent organisations tend to be better employers overall. If you are having difficulties, we recommend asking the organisation in question to provide the data where possible. In the FAQs at the bottom of this page, we share our knowledge of useful work-arounds to assist those of you who are piecing together the information for yourselves.

3 – Input your data into our online tool

Use our online tool to generate a good employer score for your organisation. To calculate the score yourself, use the downloadable dataset and technical appendix which are available at the bottom of this page.

4 – Diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of the employer

To see how your organisation compares on a particular measure, select from the blue dropdown box on the online tool. You will then see your position on the graph relative to the 25 largest UK employers. You cannot review your position for binary ‘Yes/No’ measures.

Note that your rank on any measure is comparative and is not an objective measure of performance. Your score however, is an absolute measure of performance and can be tracked over time.

5 – Use your findings promote good employment

Once you have used the tool to diagnose your strengths and weaknesses, we hope you use this information to focus change in your organisation.

CPP recommends that if you are a:

  • large employer with over 250 employees; you reflect on your results relative to others in your industry and consider how you could improve your score. Could you sign up to participate in Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index? Or take steps to reduce the gender pay gap in your organisation?
  • small or medium sized business; you fill in what you can and think about the measures that are relevant to you. How can you ensure that your staff have a healthy work-life balance, and can you think about diversifying next time you recruit someone new? Could you, for example, provide mentoring or an internship through the Social Mobility Foundation?
  • local government official; you use this tool to bolster business charters monitoring businesses’ baseline employment practices and measuring progress on their good employer score over time.
  • public sector organisation; you consider this information as part of your procurement process. CPP think that public sector contracts should only being awarded to organisations which exhibit good employment practices and this tool provides one way of measuring those practices.


Frequently asked questions

The numbers in brackets indicate the measure that the question is relevant to (see step 1).

  • Where can I find an organisations accounts and annual report? (1, 13,14)

Some data needs to be taken from the employer’s annual report and accounts. For public sector organisations and many private companies these can easily be found online. Where this is not possible a scanned copy of the accounts can be viewed on the Companies House website. Search for the company; click on ‘filing history’ and then ‘accounts’. Accounts for registered charities can be found on the Charity Commission website.

  • How do I calculate the number of UK FTE employees from general headcount? (1)

UK companies are required to publish their average number of employees for the year, but this may be their global, not UK. Where these differ companies usually also report the latter in their annual report or on their website, or an estimate will need to be made based on segmental information that is provided.

Additionally, some companies will only report headcount, not full-time equivalent numbers. In this case it is possible to estimate FTE:

If the percentage of workers on part time contracts (%pt) is provided, use the formula below which based on the average hours worked by all part time workers in the UK (43%):

FTE = Headcount * (1-%pt) * (1 – 43%)

Use the recommended conversion factors below:

Retail & hospitality:

FTE = 0.68 * Headcount


FTE = 0.97 * Headcount

  • Does a company include its subsidiaries? (all)

The private companies featuring in our report are corporate groups include subsidiaries. However, the methodology could apply to parts of organisations where the data is available. The index is only applicable to the UK employment of multinational organisations.

As some datasets are reported in terms of individual companies (i.e. subsidiaries) rather than the corporate groups, meaning that they need to be collated by the user: how to do this for individual measures is described in other questions. The formal list of subsidiaries of a company can be found in its accounts.

Public sector organisations we measure include executive agencies but not non-departmental bodies.

  • Which numbers should I use from Glassdoor? (4,6,9)

On Glassdoor, search for the employer, scroll down to ‘Reviews’ and click on ‘Rating Trends’ and you will find the data for the three measures. If the organisation has multiple brands (e.g. Sainsbury’s and Argos) we recommend taking the average of scores across these, weighted by the number of reviews.

Ratings may be unavailable for smaller employers.

  • Which employment tribunal decisions should I include? (5)

The HM Courts and Tribunals Services webpage lists all decisions made from February 2017 onwards, searchable by defendant, litigant and date. The name of the defendant is as recorded by the particular tribunal, meaning there is not consistency, and we found it important to also search for common variants or misspellings of the employer’s name.

Often there are multiple defendants, we included these against each. For ease of processing we also treat each listed decision as one, regardless of the number of litigants, of if there are multiple decisions in the same case.

Our figure represents the number of decisions, an indicator of employee discontent, rather than the number of cases upheld, an indicator of wrongdoing. Readers interested in whether cases are upheld can click through to see the scanned copies of decisions.

  • What if different parts of company have different Disability Confident and Workforce Wellbeing Award scores? (8,12)

Both of these can be awarded to just part of an employer, or different parts of an employer (e.g. different subsidiaries) can be signed up to different levels of the scheme. In this case, the best and worst levels for the organisations should be entered (e.g. “Silver/none”).

  • What if different parts of company have different gender pay gap scores? (11)

Whilst data on the Gender pay gap service is usually for constituent companies, not an overall figure for a corporate group, the linked company reporting (click “What this employer says about their gender pay gap”) often gives an overall figure. If this is not available, we recommend taking the figure for the largest part of the group.

  • What should I do if they have a negative gender pay gap? (11)

Employers with a negative pay gap (i.e. women paid more than men) will be scored as equivalent to having zero pay gap by the calculation process. Enter either the actual gap or zero into the calculator.

  • What if changing the inputs doesn’t change the results I can see?

The calculation caps the contribution any one measure can make to improve or reduce the overall score, so that it is not dominated by a single outlier measure. If your score is outside of these caps, changing it may make no difference.

Negative gender pay gaps are treated as zero, so a change to a more or less negative result will not change the results.

If the online viewer is not working, please contact us or use the calculations in the downloadable dataset.

  • How do I compare two or more organisations, change the weights or add measures?

This cannot be done with the online viewer. Please build on the calculations that are set out in the downloadable dataset or contact CPP.