Welsh Job hunters 'barking mad' for pet food roles

Kidwelly-based Burns Pet Nutrition has earned a reputation as one of the top companies to work for in West Wales, with prospective candidates regularly mailing CVs through staff letterboxes in a bid to secure a position.

The family run pet food manufacturer is making a name for itself as a leading employer thanks to its impressive staff rewards package aimed at boosting employees’ wellbeing, moral and work satisfaction.

The company boasts a huge range of enviable employee perks for its workforce including a 10% annual pension contribution, a daily three-course lunch for just £1, performance-related bonuses, free on-site kennels, 28 days of annual leave (plus bank holidays) and a company car after two years’ service. Each staff member is also entitled to one half-day of flexi-time per month.

Each year, the firm invests around a quarter of its annual profits back into its 125 staff, seeing its retention rates and demand for jobs sky-rocket as a result.

As well as day to day perks, employees are actively encouraged to enrol on new courses and take on job-related training. Spencer Chilvers, IT Co-ordinator at Burns has worked for the firm for 6 years and recently completed a Train the Trainer course allowing him to run workshops with staff on various IT packages.

Many employees are also given the opportunity to attend leading trade shows and events such as Crufts and the NAVC (North American Veterinary Conference) Conference in Orlando – the world’s largest veterinary event.

Each year, around ten staff head to the renowned international conference, attending lectures from world experts in animal health on the latest developments within the sector. During their downtime, they are free to explore the area, with the time away not taken from their annual leave, and food, accommodation and travel costs all covered by the company.

Staff are also given the opportunity to participate in various health and fitness challenges throughout the year to raise money for charity. These include the Cardiff Half-Marathon, Ironman and Cymru Travel Challenge. In these instances, the costs are covered by the company with participation and fundraising encouraged.

In total, Burns spends nearly £1m on staff rewards and training. The perks were introduced by the company’s founder, John Burns, who believes that a happy workforce equates to a healthier, more engaged and productive team.

John said:

“We pride ourselves on being an ethical, transparent company that puts the health and well-being of both pets, and our staff, at the centre of our philosophy and approach to business. Staff at Burns are motivated and enthusiastic about working for a firm that has such strong values and morals.

“Offering a good benefits package has a number of paybacks for both employers and employees, enabling companies to attract and retain strong talent, while helping staff to feel valued and boosting their wellbeing and motivation. This has a direct impact on productivity and business success.”

Chris Morris, Production Manager at Burns Pet Nutrition, has worked for the family-run firm for 16 years. Commenting on his experience of working for one of the leading employers in West Wales, Chris said:

“Having worked for the company for almost 17 years, initially being employed as a warehouse operative, Burns has offered me plenty of opportunities throughout my career, along with a platform to improve my knowledge and experience in developing into the role I fulfil today. “

In 2014, Burns became the first pet industry company in the UK to become an accredited Living Wage Employer, implementing this rate as soon as it was announced.  All staff earn a minimum of £8.75 per hour with the majority earning in excess of this.

Thanks to the company’s heavy investment in its staff’s skills and wellbeing, the company boasts an impressive retention rate with almost a third of all employees having worked at the company for more than five years, and 10% having worked at the firm for more than 10 years.

Demand for work at the Welsh firm has also skyrocketed, with the company’s ‘careers’ page on its website receiving an average of more than 500 hits a month. The company’s HR assistant regularly gets stopped while shopping and receives messages on social media in the hope of being considered for vacancies at the firm.

For more information on Burns Pet Nutrition and to read more about the history of the family-run business, visit www.burnspet.co.uk.