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Co-operative leapfrogs Boots in best big employers rankings

People Boots is still one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, according to the Sunday Times' top employer list, but was overtaken this year by the Midcounties Co-operative.

Boots is still one of the best big companies to work for in the UK, according to the Sunday Times' top employers list, but was overtaken this year by Midcounties Co-operative.

Boots ranked 20th in the Sunday Times Top 25 Best Big Companies list for 2013, the newspaper revealed earlier this week (March 5), little change from its 2012 rank of 21st. But Midcounties Co-operative, a division of the the Co-operative that owns 45 pharmacies in the Midlands, shot up 11 places in one year from 24th to 13th.

"This award acknowledges our ongoing commitment and continued dedication to being an employer of choice in the UK" Alex Gourlay, Alliance Boots

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The Sunday Times list ranks companies with 5,000 or more employees based on how employees rate their company, managers and team, as well as how they feel about work pressure and their pay. 

Alliance Boots health and beauty division chief executive Alex Gourlay said he was "delighted" that the company was recognised on the Sunday Times list again.

"This award acknowledges our ongoing commitment and continued dedication to being an employer of choice in the UK," he said. "We are incredibly proud to have this support from our colleagues and we will continue to invest in our ambition of creating the most empowered and engaged team."

Midcounties Co-operative Pharmacy Group general manager Adrian Wilkinson reported that the division was particularly proud of its employee retention.

"Many of our colleagues in the branches spend the majority of their working lives with us," he said. "This is how we've built up trust with the communities we serve over the years – having familiar and friendly pharmacy teams on hand to offer advice and guidance on health issues."

Do you think Boots is a good company to work for as a pharmacist?

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Dispensing Assistant, Dispensing assistant


C W, Dispensing assistant

I've worked for Boots for a good few years now and have nothing but positive feedback for the company. I can understand why pharmacists may think differently - they have the most stressful job in the store bar none - but I must say I've always been treat well and respected as a member of staff.

Perhaps I've just been lucky.

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

Furthur to my earlier comment the co-op has showed such good results because so many of their staff do work unpaid in their own time.absolutlely disgraceful

Sukhy Somal, Community pharmacist

I don`t understand where the comment of pharmacists taking work home has come from. I have been with Midcounties for 7 years, 3 years in branch. There has always been full support for additional resource every time it has been asked for. If pharmacists take work home that is their own decision, certainly not one enforced by this excellent company.

Adrian Wilkinson, Manager

I'd like to respond the Pharmacist For Fairnesses comment " the fact that co-op has showed shuch a good results because so many of their staff do work unpaid in their own time. absolutley disgraceful"

As the General Manager of the Midcounties Co-op Pharmacy group who came 13th in the Times 25, I dont recognise this statement in any way. If this was the case the independent , anonymous surveys would surely score our company poorly not at a level that puts us13th . My teams undertake a significant amount of paid for comunity work- 1600 hours last year and this is one of the key reasons why our independently scored engagement scores are so high. I'd be more than happy to discuss the specifics of the claim to understand it better.

M Chegoun, Locum pharmacist

Having worked for Boots for 16 years as a pharmacist I am shocked about these results. In my opinion it is the worst company to work for , they do not value their staff at all.

Morven - Jayne .s. Kirk,

I totally agree . I started my Pharmacy career in 2000 , working for Moss and seen a transition to Alliance & laterly to Boots. I can honestly say i hated working for Boots . You are not valued as a staff member and they only manage by " Crisis" the majority of staff in YLBP stores are overworked to the extreme . Staff are not valued and i find this very very sad .

Career Miss Take, Locum pharmacist

this may only be a short term situation. From what I have seen in the area I locum at, the staff are very demoralized and stretched to the point that safety is compromised.There is an increasing amount of attention paid to audits that are often more emphasised than customer care. There appear to be nothing but negative comments made and fear of job loss is the driving motivation. It might just be that the area manager is not fit to work with a very loyal and competant workforce

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I've haven't had the chance to work for Co-op as of yet, but from what I've seen their business practices actually promote a healthy synergy between pharmacist, pharmacy and patient. It's something I personally feel is a positive direction for the industry to head towards.

James Watson, Superintendent Pharmacist

I am amazed that Boots is high in this survey. Everyone I know who works for the company constantly complains. I advertised for a new member of staff and EVERYONE at the local Boots store applied.

Caroline Stead, Community pharmacist

I'm not, they cherry pick the stores to send the survey to, and then threaten to withhold bonuses if the score is not high enough!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

That's a shame.

C P, Locum pharmacist

Ex Boots pharmacist,
Boots will always in the top 25 while ever the company coerces its employees to vote.It would be interesting to see its rating in a "Worst 25 Big Company to work for" survey.After Boots took over Alliance I could stand it for only 2 years - pay freezes,pension cuts,benefit cuts,cuts in sick pay,MUR bullying,customer satisfaction surveys,increased workloads unrealistic targets- I could go on,and on,and on ......

M H, Community pharmacist

I'm not surprised when newly qualified boots pharmacists starting salary was around 32/33k in 2006, and SEVEN years on is only 35k, with Sunday premium pay cuts and now the battle with the PDA is not doing it any favours.

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