THE list of the UK’s top companies to work for is missing several Dorset names, including the company which topped the table last year.

Some big employers, including Lush and Merlin Entertainments, decided not to enter the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for this year.

Christchurch company 4Com – which made 10 per cent of its staff redundant after topping the table of mid-sized companies last year – is not on the list. It declined to say whether it had decided against entering.

Top local employer this year was Ringwood-based Churchill Retirement Living, which was fourth on the list of the Best 100 Mid Companies. Bournemouth-based Amigo Loans was number 54 on the same list.

Children’s hospice Julia’s House was 29th on the list of not-for-profits to work for.

Churchill Retirement was the only housebuilder to feature on the list.

Its chairman and chief executive, Spencer McCarthy, said: “I’ve always believed that if you treat people well, and help them feel engaged and connected with the business, you get a lot more from them. My goal is to see every individual who works here keep growing and developing with us.

“To be recognised once again as one of the UK’s Top 100 companies to work for is a fantastic accolade and something every single member of the team can be proud of.

“The engagement of staff and the support from managers is a major factor in the way we do business. The culture of any company is its lifeblood, and I believe that happy and motivated staff are the key to Churchill’s continued success.”

Poole-based Merlin Entertainments – which runs attractions such as Legoland, Alton Towers, Madame Tussauds and Sea Life – was number 20 in the table for big companies last year but did not enter this time.

A spokesman said: “While it was useful to gauge how our employee engagement compared with that of other major companies on the two occasions we did enter this contest, we know from our own continuous dialogue with employees that the overwhelming majority enjoy working for Merlin and being a part of an enterprise that delivers memorable experiences to literally millions of people around the world.

“It is nice of course to have this fact acknowledged by an independent third party such as the Sunday Times, but we don’t see any advantage in seeking such endorsement on an annual basis.”

Poole’s global cosmetics brand came 28th among big companies last year but did not enter for 2018.

Finance director Kim Coles said the company now ran its own global staff surveys each year.

“These dig a bit deeper into what we think are the key issues for our business and cover all our Lush countries (49 in total with 20,000 permanent staff). Ethical Consumer administer a completely anonymous survey for us and focus on everything from our ethics to staff well-being,” she said.

The table of the best big companies to work for included many which employ people locally, including first-placed EE, fourth-placed TSB, Marriott Hotels (fifth place), Iceland FrozenFoods (eighth), Halfords (ninth), Santander (15th), David Clloyd Clubs (16th), Vodafone (18th), River Island (21st), DFS (23rd) and Odeon Cinemas (25th).