Welcome to The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. This is the 16th annual survey and ranking of the cream of Britain’s employers, and its appearance each year is a high-profile event in the nation’s business calendar.

The data-gathering and analysis used across all sectors are extensive. It’s the staff themselves who fill in the anonymous surveys from which the scores are compiled — a total of 241,361 people filled out questionnaires for this year’s lists — so we’re getting opinions about their bosses, their working conditions and their employer’s values direct from the people whose hard work builds the success of their business, whether they’re lawyers, mechanics or shop assistants.

And once a company is on the list, they have to work to stay there. In all 925, firms registered to take part in this year’s surveys and there are 79 new entries, displacing those who didn’t make the grade this time.