It is full speed ahead at Parkman. The company started in 1888 and picked up momentum in the 1980s as one of the first private companies to manage Britain’s road network. Then the Sutton Coldfield-based firm hit difficulties, but people pulled together to focus on modernising and diversifying, and there was a management buyout in 2000.
Last year, Parkman, which floated on the stock market in 2001, had revenues of £45.7m from projects such as inspecting bridges for Network Rail, improving the M25 and managing training for school governors.
Staff say it is welcoming to all ages and types of people, and chairman Richard Archer has a staff barbecue at his house each year and takes long-servers to lunch.
There is a no-blame culture, and about three-quarters of employees say managers talk honestly, trust their judgment and support them in learning new skills — with £500,000 spent a year on staff development.
Civil engineers are paid £23,000, with only top staff receiving bonuses. Everybody can join a sharesave scheme after six months, receiving a 20% discount.
Anne McMahon, who joined as a receptionist at 61, says the best thing is that the firm gives everybody a chance. “None of the agencies had anything for an ageing telephonist,” she says. “Then I was offered a job at Parkman. I said: ‘Yes, yes, yes!’ ” Most employees agree that they have a lot of success, help and fun working at Parkman.
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