Gloucestershire is not only an incredible place to live but a brilliant place to work, with employment opportunities at businesses spanning huge global operations in engineering, aerospace and manufacturing, to the most exciting new start-ups creating everything from hot sauce to burgers.
Shining a light on the companies in the county that are investing in their workforces and creating new jobs for the community, SoGlos rounds up 50 Gloucestershire businesses with impressive employee growth.
The SGGBA International Business of the Year 2022, ALS Mechatronic, is a true homegrown success story. Founder Andrew Stewart - winner of SGGBA Entrepreneur of the Year in 2021 - started the business in the spare room of his flat in 2002 and has grown it to the point where it doubled its turnover in 2022 and is forecasting a turnover of £25 million in the next five years.
It increased its staff numbers by a third and took on two Gloucestershire College apprentices in 2022, while simultaneously investing in its existing workforce by enhancing employee benefits, recognition and perks, as well as providing performance-related and above-inflation pay rises to help with the cost-of-living crisis. On top of that, it also acquired an additional 2,000 square feet of space to create its own dedicated machine shop and expand its manufacturing capacity, with a view to creating even more jobs in 2023.
Wotton-under-Edge-based engineering heavyweight Renishaw has seen worldwide growth and record revenue performance year after year - and as one of the county's biggest employers, its staff numbers have been growing consistently year-on-year, too.
With around 5,000 employees across the world, it has recruited more than 900 new staff members since 2021, taking on 250 of those in 2022 alone; not to mention creating 80 new apprenticeships in Gloucestershire last year, too. In 2023, the company celebrates its 50th birthday and to commemorate this milestone, it has also confirmed it is creating another 63 apprenticeship opportunities in areas including engineering, IT and plumbing – cementing its commitment to training and recruiting the brightest new talent.
Cheltenham-based Clarkson Evans has an inspiring story, going from one man and a van to some 900 staff nationwide today, with the Gloucestershire business being one of the UK's leading electrical contractors.
Not only that, it was listed in the Department of Education's Top 100 Apprentice Employers in 2022, recognising its commitment to apprenticeships that dates back to 1981, with the business taking on a total of 180 new apprentices last year.
Few businesses in Gloucestershire elicit the kind of passion that has helped sustain Gloucester Rugby, with huge support for both the men's and women's teams. Although its most recent accounts show a loss, largely due to the sad demise of Worcester Warriors and the removal of a single fixture in the men's season, overall turnover rose to an incredible £7 million.
But while there was a fall in commercial and administrative staff, supporters will be pleased to note there was a rise in playing staff from 100 to 106, demonstrating the club's commitment to the game and its fans.
North Tower Consulting
Technology and cyber consultant North Tower Consulting was set up in 2019 and has experienced significant growth since then, winning major government and defence contracts and building a highly skilled workforce.
By the end of 2020 it had 30 employees and subcontractors; in 2021 that number grew to 50; and by December 2022 it had grown again to over 100, with 23 per cent of its workforce being made up of apprentices. It also takes huge pride in its CSR provisions, with six work experience placements available to local students in 2023 and an Armed Forces Covenant silver award for its support of ex-military and current reservists who currently work for the company, or who apply.
Hobbs House Bakery
A Gloucestershire institution known for its spectacular sourdough bread, pastries and cakes, the SGGBA Heritage Business of the Year 2022 continues to invest in its future with its recently-launched apprenticeship scheme.
Hobbs House Bakery employs 160 staff in total, from the bakery to the back office. Three team members have just graduated from the new apprenticeship scheme and eight more are due to start this year.
Award-winning Gloucestershire accountants and business advisors Hazlewoods has prided itself on creating careers within its team for over 100 years.
Growing its already impressive pool of 127 apprentices, the company took on 45 more apprentices in 2022, providing exciting opportunities for school leavers and graduates in Gloucestershire and adding to its 450-strong staff team across its three offices in Cheltenham and Staverton. Hazlewoods also offers 12-month work placements for university students, providing them with valuable commercial experience and insight into one of the county's top firms.
One of Gloucestershire's fastest growing businesses, insurance expert Pro Global deals with some of the most unusual and complex policies in the insurance industry, from footballers' legs to cruise ships. It has offices in the USA, Europe and Latin America, with its biggest office being right here in Gloucester, overlooking the docks.
The company has over 650 staff members worldwide, with 500 of them in the UK – and created 120 new roles in the county in the last two years, taking its Gloucester team from 200 to around 350 people. It also launched a recruitment drive for graduates, trainees and apprentices of all ages in 2022, creating 20 new apprentice positions, too.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw Bennetts Coaches close all of its offices and halt operations due to the nationwide lockdowns, the business employed 61 staff.
Now, just three years later, that number is up to 74, including a new transport manager. The company won the contract to operate Cheltenham's Arle Court Park and Ride site for Gloucestershire County Council in 2022 and has introduced an extra Home to School service, investing in four new vehicles and five new drivers, too.
The Red Lion in Newent
The Red Lion in Newent was taken over by award-winning TV chef, Andrew Sheridan, in January 2023 and is soon to reopen as The Wye Inn in April 2023.
Splitting the building into two, Sheridan and his team are creating a pub serving traditional classics downstairs and a fine dining restaurant upstairs, as well as a new garden complete with converted barns and dining pods. The venture is also creating 37 new jobs for the local community in Newent, with recruitment already well underway.
With rapid growth over the last two years, Cheltenham-based Indeloy IT Solutions' turnover reached £3.2 million in 2021, with that figure expected to have hit £5 million in 2022.
Impressive financials aside, one of its proudest achievements is growing its staff team from three to eight members, as well as rolling out a training program with videos and process guides which its entire team contributed to.
The highly anticipated new Dobbies Garden Centre in Tewkesbury opened the doors to its flagship Gloucestershire store in November 2022.
As well as being a must-visit for gardeners and plant lovers, the store opening created new employment opportunities in the area too – recruiting over 100 new team members, 85 per cent of which are from Tewkesbury town or the local surrounding villages.
Dursley-based renewable energy company Immersa has nearly trebled its staff team in the last year, hiring 12 new employees since summer 2022, taking its total number of team members to 19.
As well as increasing the number of employees in the office, it has also grown its on-site staff and offered a full-time position to one of its engineering apprentices, showing that it is committed to developing its employees, too.
Gloucester fintech firm Virgate moved to larger premises in Quedgeley in 2022, as its turnover soared to in excess of £1.3 million.
It also took on 14 new staff members that year, almost doubling its team to 35 in total, with plans to create even more jobs in 2023.
Gardiner Bros & Co (Leathers) Ltd
Trebling the size of its business premises in 2022, Gardiner Bros & Co (Leathers) Ltd has experienced immense growth since the family business began 160 years ago.
Its recent success led to it hiring 52 new starters in 2022, growing its existing teams in the warehouse, customer services and buying, as well as creating new roles in IT and marketing.
Not only one of the UK's best places to work, Gloucestershire-based kitchenware brand Pro Cook is one of the county's fastest growing firms, too, with an annual turnover of over £54 million as of June 2022.
It increased the headcount at its Gloucester head office by 35 per cent last year, recruiting specialists in all departments from digital marketing to senior leadership. It's also making a significant investment in the wellbeing of its workforce, with its new 167,000 square foot headquarters in Quedgeley set to bring all 200 staff and operations under one roof, where employees will have access to a running track, indoor gym and a restaurant.
As well as recovering from the difficulties of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gloucester-based manufacturer Prima Dental exceeded its pre-pandemic sales figures by 20 per cent – and revealed an ambitious £2 million investment plan at the end of 2022.
It recruited more than 70 staff last year, as well as promoting 13 existing staff and rolling out a huge training programme, with plans to recruit for a further 15 roles going into 2023.
The Beefy Boys
Cheltenham's newest burger joint is not only the home of the best burger in the UK; it's also created more than 60 jobs for the local community, encompassing kitchen staff, front of house, bartenders and more.
After its hugely successful launch in February 2023, The Beefy Boys team is still growing, with vacancies for another three to four chefs and more kitchen porters, too.
Aerospace firm Ontic produces parts for many of the world's leading plane manufacturers at its UK base in Staverton, near Gloucestershire Airport. It reported an all-time high in its turnover in 2022, amassing £83 million in revenue from its UK operations.
The firm is experiencing rapid growth, having already employed more than 130 people at its UK sites in 2022 and increased its number of apprenticeships from three to 10, with plans to take on even more in 2023. In October 2022, it also announced a partnership with STEM Returners, specifically to help ex-forces personnel or those with a background in science, technology, engineering or maths that have had a career break back into work.
Since its launch in 2018, Bedfolk has not only revolutionised the bed linen market with its top-quality products; it has consistently increased its turnover by 500 per cent year-on-year, with an expected turnover of £25 million predicted by 2024.
It increased its staff from two to 17 in 2021, opening a new office and warehouse in Cheltenham to accommodate its growing team.
Griffiths Marshall and Paish Tooth
In February 2022, business advisors and chartered accountants Griffiths Marshall, which has offices in Gloucester and Lydney, acquired Cheltenham-based accountancy firm Paish Tooth and its 10-strong staff team.
Two of Griffiths Marshall's five directors became directors of Paish Tooth, with John Tooth remaining as a director working part-time for the firm. As well as promoting Paul Cox to director and Nuala Beardsall to group practice manager, it also took on five new staff in 2022, taking its total number to 38.
Named SGGBA International Business of the Year 2021, Stewart Golf has grown its turnover by 223 per cent since 2019, showing impressive growth against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also grown its staff numbers from 14 people in 2019 to 35 in 2022, as well as increasing its factory space by 50 per cent to accommodate the incredible global demand for its unique golf trolleys.
The Quedgeley-based business has also grown its management team and invested in leadership training, to equip its senior staff with the tools to be effective leaders and managers for its growing workforce.
In just 12 months, Cheltenham-based P3M Works has quadrupled its team, going from the sole founder to four employees, welcoming a new graduate to its staff team, too.
The fast-growing cyber security and digital transformation consultancy has clients ranging from small businesses right up to the UK government, providing technical support across the entire cyber domain - and it has plans to create even more jobs from summer 2023.
Cotswold Energy Group
After being started by three friends in 2018, Cotswold Energy Group now employs more than 40 staff in roles spanning engineering, management and support.
One of the leading installers of renewable heating in England and Wales, the company employed 15 full-time staff in its first year of trading, with that number increasing to 35 in 2020 and 40 in 2021, with its turnover growing from £1.3 million to £5 million, too. It is also investing in heat pump training for staff, as well as developing its own bespoke software platform.
Cheltenham-based cyber security consultancy Salus Cyber saw demand for its services skyrocket during the Covid-19 pandemic, experiencing 427 per cent growth in revenue from 2019 to 2020. During this time, it also more than doubled its staff team from three to seven employees.
In 2022, Salus invested heavily in new talent, growing its workforce by a further 54 per cent, as well as developing a relationship with the University of Gloucestershire with a view to start taking on apprentices, too. It even provides resources and advice on how to get into the industry to local school children, to help develop the next generation of talent.
Creating more than 70 flavoursome products, from hot sauce to its famous vegan bacon dust, Tubby Tom's has gone from a one-man operation to employing six staff at its headquarters in Churcham in the Forest of Dean.
The hugely popular business turned over almost half a million pounds in 2021 and increased its turnover by around another 50 per cent in 2022, growing its output from 13,000 bottles a year to 166,000. Its founder, Tom Hughes, also has an ambitious four-year expansion plan, which includes building a new kitchen three times the size of its current one, as well as employing more staff to work in it.
Cheltenham-based chartered town planning and development consultancy McLoughlin Planning has grown its team from six to eight over the last 12 months.
It has also just won a tender to become the planning consultants for Birmingham Airport, no less!
The BBQ Society
The BBQ Society has somewhat of a cult following in Gloucestershire. Created by husband-and-wife team Sophie and Ben Williams in late 2020, when they both found themselves furloughed from their jobs, the business has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings in their back garden.
It now has two venues: its original home on Morelands Trading Estate in Gloucester which opened in April 2021 and a second venue at Five Valleys Shopping Centre in Stroud, with a team of staff serving up some of the best quality barbecue food in the county.
Providing services to clients including BAE Systems, Dow Jones and PwC, Cheltenham-based software firm Ripjar is growing rapidly. Set up by former GCHQ staff, it saw its turnover increase by 12 per cent to £8.8 million in 2021 – and that's before it started investing the £28 million of Series B funding it won.
Its staff numbers are on the rise, too, growing from 69 to 95 – an increase of 37 per cent – with that number continuing to grow at both its Eagle Tower HQ and its operations in the USA and Australia.
MKM Building Supplies
Known as the UK's largest independent builders merchants, MKM opened its new 20,000-square-foot Gloucester site in November 2022 at the former RAF Quedgeley.
Since then, it has built up a diverse team of 19 colleagues, spanning senior manager positions including branch directors and assistant branch manager; specialist staff including a heating and plumbing manager and kitchen and bathroom designers; through to HGV and van drivers, yard foremen and yard assistants, with plans to take on up to two apprentices in 2023.
Winner of the coveted SGGLA Restaurant of the Year in 2021, Cheltenham's original independent Japanese restaurant has grown in both reputation and size since its humble beginnings in a Regent Street basement.
At the end of 2020, KIBOU employed 37 staff. Now it has restaurants in Bristol, Solihull and London, too, with its latest accounts showing staff numbers have grown to 103.
Farrar and Tanner
Established in 2018, personalised luxury gift specialist Farrar and Tanner saw its turnover increase by 242 per cent in 2022, with its spectacular growth leading it to treble its warehouse space from 6,000 to 18,000 square feet.
With extra demand came extra opportunities, as the company increased its staff numbers by 30 per cent. Its total number of employees now sits at 35, having grown from 17 before the pandemic – and with its turnover expected to reach £10 million by 2024, it's likely to be taking on more staff throughout 2023, too.
Core to Cloud
Cotswolds-based cyber security specialist Core to Cloud has put the area on the map as home to some truly exciting businesses. It recently moved into new premises at Cirencester Castle and grew its revenue by 100 per cent, ending last year on its most successful quarter to date.
Staff numbers grew from five to 30, with the business also taking home the title of Growth Business of the Year at the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards 2022.
Non Solo Pasta
Founded by husband-and-wife team, Clara Cadillo and Matteo Conte, Non Solo Pasta is a proud Italian family business. Its authentic dishes, made with recipes passed down from Nonna, have seen the business grow massively from a stall at Cirencester Farmer's Market in 2018 to turning over more than £188,000 in 2022.
With its revenue increasing by 400 per cent in just three years, 2022 also saw the opening of the pair's first restaurant, Terra Cucina at Sandersons Department Store in Stroud, growing its team from two part-time to 10 full-time staff members. Business is booming and there are ambitious plans to upscale in 2023, with the company currently recruiting for another five roles, to take its total staff number to 15.
The Fireplace Gallery
Owned and operated by Chris and Nicola Wilson, The Fireplace Gallery in Cheltenham has enjoyed rapid growth following the pandemic, enabling it to hire more engineers and showroom staff – taking its total number to 10, with seven full-time field-based engineers and fitters, as well as three showroom sales advisors. The business has hired a full-time builder to help with creating media walls and false chimney breasts for customers, too.
As well as employing more staff in Cheltenham, it has also recently bought a second showroom in Gloucester, keeping on its existing staff as well as expanding the team there; while still maintaining a family-like atmosphere where staff feel valued and happy, with plenty of opportunities to develop.
Wheatway Solutions Ltd
Wheatway Solutions Ltd has seen significant growth post-Covid, with its flagship brand, Gyru-Star Compact Screening Systems, offering an affordable, reliable and environmentally-conscious screening solution to the demolition and construction industry.
The company has increased staff numbers by 40 per cent in the past 12 months across all areas of the organisation – with positions ranging from a T Level student placement all the way up to senior management. The business also works closely with the University of Gloucestershire and The Growth Hub to facilitate student placement programmes and graduate schemes, to continue developing its employee roster.
Established in 1983 and headquartered at the Cirencester Growth Hub, JB Promotions is a leader in equine PR and marketing - with press contracts at prestigious British eventing meets such as The Magic Millions Festival of Eventing at Gatcombe Park and Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials already under its belt.
Business owner and keen eventer, April Coate, took over the business in 2021 as a solo venture and has since recruited three more employees to help deliver and manage campaigns for some of the biggest names in the sector, including PetPlan Equine and MSD Animal Health.
DEYA Brewing Company
With a reputation for being Cheltenham's coolest venue, DEYA's brewery and taproom on Lansdown Industrial Estate offers a relaxed vibe, eclectic clientele, quirky and colourful décor and an outstanding mix of local street food traders pitching up each week – not to mention incredible beer on tap. The unique venue played host to the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards in 2022 and is hosting the Cheltenham Pride after party this May 2023.
It's not just its popularity that continues to grow either, with its last published accounts showing staff numbers rose from 20 to 33 over the last two years.
Despite a difficult start to the year, Trackwise, which has bases in Tewkesbury and Stonehouse, announced the appointment of new non-executive chairman Andrew Lapping and new non-executive director Chris Pennison in January 2023.
Its last set of accounts show that staff numbers in Gloucestershire rose from 52 to 66, with group staff numbers also up from 96 to 132 and the printed circuit board specialist remaining confident in its world-leading technology.
From starting in a single room on Cheltenham's Royal Crescent to occupying the 5,000-square-foot Chapel House on the High Street, complete with its own studio and event facilities, creative content agency Squashed Robot has seen some impressive growth over the last year.
On top of doubling its revenue, it has also grown its team, now employing 14 staff after taking on six new starters in 2022, with more new roles on the horizon.
Based on the Promenade in Cheltenham, bespoke software developer Savient grew its team from six to 20 in 2021, adding another five staff members in 2022. The business is proud of its impressive staff retention, offering a variety of benefits from performance-related bonuses and rewards to social events and family days that make it a fantastic place to work.
It also has its own Savient Academy, designed to provide training opportunities to staff members at the start of their careers.
Gloucester-based architect Robert Limbrick reached the milestone of employing 100 members of staff last year, following the launch of its own in-house interior design department in 2020 and its new landscape architecture department in 2022.
Its expansion continues, as the firm opened a brand-new London office at the beginning of March 2023, allowing it to further enhance the services it provides to businesses all across the UK. The firm also provides work experience opportunities to around 20 university and college students each year.
Founded in 2008, cyber security and IT recruitment agency Infosec People had just six employees in 2020 and had doubled its revenue and trebled its headcount by the end of 2021. It created a new leadership team giving the business scalability, with its total staff number now sitting at 19.
The business started a new phase of growth in 2022, with plans to build the team up to 25 staff members and expand further into technology consultancy, programme solutions, cyber and technology transformations for clients ranging from start-ups to FTSE-100 firms. It opened its new Bristol branch this year, allowing it to expand its network and engage more businesses hiring for cybersecurity roles. The firm's founder, Chris Dunning-Walton, is also a key member of influential Gloucestershire cyber networking group, CyNam.
Wagada Digital, began its journey at a kitchen table back in 2011. Now, the digital marketing agency has offices in Cheltenham and St Albans, employing a core team of 20 permanent staff as well as an army of freelancers with an annual turnover that has rocketed from £84,000 to £950,000.
It opened a second office in Cheltenham and recruited four new team members in 2022, further building its brand presence in the west of England.
Apex Architecture Ltd
Apex Architecture Ltd started back in the 90s and has been growing steadily since. It opened a new office in Cheltenham in 2020 and moved to a larger premises in the Forest of Dean in the spring of 2022.
As well as growing its physical presence, the business took on four new employees including chartered staff and a practice manager, taking its team up to 10. It is also currently recruiting for a chartered architectural technologist with plans to create more roles in from summer 2023 to support its continuing growth plans. With a long history of continuing professional development, the business has seen staff members join as juniors and rise through the ranks to director level.
Cheltenham-headquartered Portman Healthcare has experienced incredible growth over the last few years, despite its dental practices being closed to patients throughout much of 2020 and 2021.
As well growing its annual turnover by £3.9 million, it also took over a whopping 28 businesses, taking its total number of UK practices to 200, employing more than 900 people, with over 300 dental consultants and specialists.
Tewkesbury-based Amiosec has a fantastic track record for attracting and retaining talented staff, not least because it invests at least 10 per cent of its revenue into researching and developing the newest emerging technologies, feeding its pipeline of future products, solutions and managed services.
The company currently employs 60 highly skilled staff on a permanent basis, having taken on 23 new team members during the first 12 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Billing itself as the largest independent agency for Cotswold holiday rental properties, Bolthole Retreats grew from seven to 10 employees over the last year, due to the ever-increasing demand for staycations in Gloucestershire.
New appointments include a business development manager, partnerships and public relations manager, and an operations manager – with more roles set to be created within the next 12 months as it continues to expand its portfolio of 190 holiday rental properties and exclusive partnerships with attractions and experiences.
Cheltenham pub The Hatherley has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment to upgrade its bar, refresh its décor and completely transform its beer garden with a new heated pergola, children's playground and outdoor seating area.
As well as a brand-new menu, which includes seasonal cocktails, the refurb has given the restaurant the capacity for an additional 59 covers and created nine new jobs for people in the local community, with more roles being advertised and the pub now able to support 33 staff in total.
Started 16 years ago by Michelle and James Fyrne in a garage in Gloucester, SoGlos has grown to become Gloucestershire's leading media brand, with an audience of 169,000 monthly readers, 28,000 weekly newsletter subscribers and 88,000 social media followers.
Over the last two years, it has experienced incredible growth, from launching its brand-new Business section in October 2020 and appointing business editor, Andrew Merrell; doubling the size of both its business development and editorial teams; launching the SoGlos Gloucestershire Business Awards; to creating the definitive guide to the very best things to do in the county, the Gloucestershire Bucket List. It has gone from a team of two to now employing 16 people - plus official canine consultant Jed the Silver Labrador!