Aspiration, perspiration, even alchemy: these were some of the words used in describing the Oxfordshire business scene at last night’s launch of the Oxford Times Oxfordshire’s Top 100 Employers report.

FirstLine IT was there because we were one of the sponsors of the special supplement to the Oxford Times InBusiness magazine.

You can see the magazine here but you need a login – which is free.

One of the most interesting things about the report is the sheer range of types of business represented. The universities, the local councils and the hospitals featured at the top of the list, of course.

The number of publishers and other educational institutions in the list was also no surprise. But there were also hotels, builders, technology companies, food companies … even a fashion company (though only the one!).

After all the rather gloomy national and world economic news, it was refreshing to hear so many expressions of confidence in the local economy – MEPC, for example, spoke about its £15m investment in new office buildings at Milton Park.

It was also good to hear everyone talking so enthusiastically about their businesses, but particularly about their staff. The organizations in the report count as top employers because they employ a lot of staff. But they also train them, appreciate them, and reward them.

In an article in InBusiness, I’ve talked about the availability of good people making Oxfordshire a good place to be an employer, but it’s also true the other way around. Judging by the people we met last night, Oxfordshire’s a pretty good place to be employed.