Siemens helps to power people's lives throughout the world, including those of its 450,000 employees. Its story in Britain began in 1843 when William Siemens, a 19 year old engineer and entrepreneur from Hamburg, arrived with a patent for a revolutionary electro plating process. The company Siemens Halske was established by his brother Werner in Berlin in 1847, and quickly established a reputation as one of the leading innovators in the field.
Its London office was opened in 1850 by the two brothers and it grew rapidly; in 1873 it laid the first undersea cable linking Britain and America and was also behind the introduction of the first electric street lighting.
Siemens, the world's second largest employer and Germany's biggest manufacturer, now encompasses a massive range of communications, electronics and electrical engineering. There are more than 100 sites in the UK giving plenty of opportunities for staff to move around here - or they can work abroad.
Although large, Siemens values diversity and individuality. One employee proudly told us 'The people at my work are quite weird, thank goodness'.
The company is keen to share its success; last year employees who bought share were given an equal number free. Pay is good with engineers receiving an average of 20% (but sometimes up to 40%).extra in performance bonuses. There are cash 'battlefield' bonuses for working in difficult situations and 79% of the staff have a chance to buy shares at a preferential rate.
Difficult times have meant wage increases were delayed for 40,000 of the best earning staff while, last year, 5500 jobs cuts were announced by Siemens in Munich, which owns the British business.
The UK head office in Bracknell, Berkshire, has a discounted eaterie (the firm spends £100,000 subsidising canteens each year). There is an on site gym and a sports and social club, offering everything from fishing to astronomy. Staff are offered 40% discounts on a range of goods from Siemens telephones to Bosch power tools.
The firm subsidises non-work courses and like its founder, Siemens looks out to the community and contributes to charity with a 20 mile walk for leukaemia research. Staff have also raised money for Childline Northwest and donated a new fire alarm to a school in Newcastle upon Tyne. The company matches money raised by staff and gives paid time off for voluntary work. One employee said 'If you are part of Siemens UK you are part of Siemens' world'.
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