Quick facts

About Star Refrigeration Ltd (including Penec and Starfrost)

STAR REFRIGERATION IS a cool place to work, according to its staff. One of the largest independent industrial refrigeration companies in Britain, which does everything from design and manufacture to installation and maintenance, the firm has gained a reputation for its pioneering sustainable technology.

Employees think Star provides a great service (giving a positive score of 84%) and are proud to work for it (78%). The company, which won an award last year for the environmentally-friendly ammonia chillers it installed at Great Ormond Street hospital in London, does its bit for the environment too (78%, a top 20 score).

Founded 40 years ago, the Glasgow-based firm, which includes Penec, its components arm, and Starfrost, which specialises in equipment for the food processing industry, spends almost £500 per head on training. It runs a large apprenticeship scheme and funds or part-funds qualifications such as MBAs. Staff say the work is stimulating (73%) and good for their own growth (76%). They feel they can make a contribution to the success of Star Refrigeration (78%) and would not leave tomorrow even if offered another job (78%).

Chief executive John Rowell is a principled leader (78%) who runs the business on sound moral values (81%, ranking the company just outside the top 20 on this question). They also have confidence in the leadership skills of senior management (76%) and say people don't use intimidation to get what they want (70%). However, they are not as clear as most other staff surveyed about what is expected of them in their work (68%, only nine firms scored lower on this).

The business last year turned over more than £39m but stress levels are low (82%, with just 11 firms scoring better). Employees don't feel so pressured they can't concentrate (72%) or perform well (71%) and their health is not suffering (80%, a top 20 score). That doesn't mean it's not hard work. Team members put in 42.5 hours a week and care about giving a good service (93%).

People like working for Star Refrigeration. Half the 333-strong workforce, who are based at 12 different locations in Scotland and England, have notched up at least five years' service and almost 30% have been there for 10 or more years.

What is it like to work for Star Refrigeration Ltd (including Penec and Starfrost)

Informality, a cultural strength, originates from Star’s small firm roots and family atmosphere and diversity and growth have not diminished this aspect. Employees communicate on first name terms and directors, including the chief executive officer, can be approached by any member of staff. A hierarchy exists but at staff and management meetings the protocol is relaxed in keeping with the desire for open and constructive discussion on all matters. Members of the senior management team regularly communicate with employees and provide updates on business developments, for example, in the Startel newsletter. Several senior managers’ work in open plan areas and an open door policy is operated by all senior managers including the Chief Executive.
The wellbeing of their employees is very important. All employees’ complete timesheets that are reviewed weekly by managers to ensure that the work/life balance is met and anyone can request an adjustment in hours which is normally accommodated. Everyone is also paid for overtime whether worked or not to avoid people having to work overtime to top up their wages.
Giving Something Back
Giving Something Back
Star Refrigeration support charities by making a donation to top up funds raised either within the workplace or for activities that individual employees have undertaken for charity. Effort is also made to support charities with a personal connection to staff. They follow the basis tenants of reclaim, recycle and reuse in their day to day operations, for example used paper is collected for shredding and recycling and materials are reused/recycled where possible on sites. They also support the local community, for example, they have recruited three young people in the last year through a local regeneration scheme including one who is now a management trainee. They also recruit apprentices every year and are involved in a mentoring scheme at a local school.

Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here


  • Shares

    Companies where employees are offered share options

  • Holidays

    Companies offering a minimum of 25 days annual leave

  • Gym

    On-site gym or subsidised gym memberships

  • Childcare

    On-site nursery or vouchers

  • Pensions

    Companies offering a final salary or non-contributory pension scheme

  • Long Service
    Long Service

    40% of employees with more than 5 years' service

Company Statistics

  • UK sites:


  • Earning £35,000+:


  • Number of Staff:


  • Staff:


  • Staff Turnover:


  • Male : Female:

    85% / 15%


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