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When you’re job hunting there’s a lot to consider, but have you considered the benefits of working for an employee-owned company? Perhaps you should…

Employee ownership is something job hunters rarely factor into their decision on which jobs to apply for. However, once you learn more about employee-owned companies, you realise how beneficial it could be to work for one.

Employee ownership is much more popular than it’s ever been and comes in different forms. From employee ownership trusts to enterprise management incentive schemes, there are plenty of options.

In this post, we’re going to briefly detail the rise of employee ownership schemes before explaining the main benefits of working for an employee-owned company.

Are There Enough Employee-Owned Companies Out There to Apply For?

Every year the employee-owned sector has grown, with more than 50 percent of it taking place after 2017.

It used to be that only a handful of large businesses, like John Lewis, engaged in employee ownership, and SMEs were left out. However, the recent influx of businesses adopting employee ownership schemes includes SMEs and local family businesses.

In fact, data from a 2020 survey by the White Rose Centre for Employee Ownership showed that there were over 470 employee-owned businesses operating in the UK. This means there are almost 500 employee-owned businesses you can apply for whilst job hunting.

This data was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it remains to be seen whether these companies will make it through the economic crisis. However, 66 percent of the top 50 employee-owned companies have no debt, which bodes well for their future.

On top of this, some new case studies have shown that lots of employee-owned companies were quick to unify their employees behind a hibernation, survival, pivot or key worker strategy. This has helped them survive the pandemic thus far.

Basically, employee-owned businesses are doing everything they can to survive and will likely be here long into the future. If you’re in the middle of job hunting, keep your eye out for these companies.

What Are the Benefits of Working for an Employee-Owned Company?

Now that we know employee ownership is more popular than ever, and employee owned-companies are likely here to stay beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to list all the benefits of working for one.

1. Rule by consensus

Many of these employee-owned companies extoll the virtues of having a business ruled by consensus. Every member of staff has as much say in the running of the company as the next, which means you are more important to the company than if you were just a worker.

These employee-owned companies can obviously structure their business the conventional way, with heads of department, team leaders, and workers. But, owning an equal share makes it much more likely your ideas will be listened to.

Many employee-owned companies actually schedule weekly meetings where all the employees get together and share ideas on how to better run the company. So, based on your expertise and experience in the department they work in, you’ll be able to provide your say.

2. Shared responsibility

Not only will you be part of a democratic consensus, but you’ll also have more responsibility than you would at a non-employee-owned company.

Having responsibility over your own work, and not having to do what you’re told by someone with more interest in the company, can be freeing.

No one person in the company will feel all the pressure for its success because you all have a shared responsibility, and overall benefit to make the company perform well and grow. This equalisation of pressure and stress makes for a much more open and pleasant working environment.

3. Feel the benefits of success in your own pocket

One of the biggest issues employees have today is that the success of their company, and the work they perform for the company, doesn’t translate to a higher wage.

Because employee ownership schemes work on the basis that each employee has shares in the company, if the company succeeds, you make more money. This gives you an incentive to work harder and reap the rewards.

Also, if your money is on the line, you’ll speak up more, make yourself part of the company consensus, and pick up your personal mantle of responsibility alongside your fellow colleagues. This makes for a richer and more fulfilling work life.

4. Tax benefits

In an effort to encourage businesses to take up the employee ownership model, the UK government introduced a number of tax incentives. As long as the company’s signed up to one of the government’s many approved employee ownership schemes, they secure tax advantages for themselves and their employees.

Employees get the benefit of not having to pay Income Tax or National Insurance on the value of the shares they purchase from the company. This makes shares in the company you work for much more lucrative that that of other companies.

Depending on the scheme your company is a part of, you can also get up to £3,600 of free shares every year, saving £500 a month tax-free, and many other benefits. On top of this, you actually have the ability to affect the success of the company.

Is It Worth Applying to Employee-Owned Companies as When Job Hunting?

Throughout this post, we’ve managed to show that employee ownership is growing, is likely to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic, and has many benefits over working for a company that doesn’t use an employee ownership scheme.

When you’re job hunting this month, add a few searches for employee-owned companies and test out the benefits for yourself. You might discover that being part of business like this becomes an important feature for any future company you work for.

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