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Graduate jobs in the UK can be found in many different industries. They can offer an excellent way to enter a company and receive valuable training and experience whilst being paid. Graduate programs generally exist among large-sized companies and are used as a way of creating future leaders within a company.
Graduate programs generally last between one and two-years and can be focused in specialised sectors such as finance, law and marketing. Graduate courses can be competitive to enter, particularly with large, international companies, and you will need to meet various criteria before being accepted. Keep reading to learn more about working as a graduate, including expected salaries and required qualifications.
With graduate employers found in many different industries, jobs can vary significantly. Tasks will depend on the type of role you are taking. For example, working as a graduate in engineering is likely to be very different from working in retail. One of the biggest graduate employers in the UK is the NHS, with graduate programs available in many different healthcare disciplines. Human resources and IT have also emerged as popular areas with graduates, with companies including Tesco, BP, Google Microsoft and BT all offering various opportunities for graduates.
Finance remains one of the most well-paid areas for graduates. As such, graduate jobs in this sector are highly competitive and often difficult to get on. Graduate programs in media and marketing have also begun to increase, with many of the UK’s broadcasters, including the BBC, now offering opportunities for graduates. Many of the country’s biggest retailers, including Boots, Next and John Lewis, also offer graduate programs, with these often seen as a fast-track way into retail management.
Graduate programs require candidates to have a university degree. Whilst the subject is not important for some graduate programs, those in areas such as finance will require your degree to be in a relevant area. Most graduate employers require you to have a 2:1 degree, particularly those in competitive areas such as pharmaceuticals and IT.
In addition to a university degree, you will also have to demonstrate various skills and knowledge. This is often done through an extensive candidate screening process. This will likely include numerous interviews and written/practical tests. Graduate program application deadlines are often between November and December. However, an increasing number of companies now offer all-year-round applications.
Graduate jobs can offer excellent long-term career prospects. You will receive extensive training and have the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience. Graduate programs are seen as a quick way into more senior-level roles, and you will therefore be likely given many responsibilities and opportunities that you would not get in a normal role. Whilst not guaranteed, successful graduates are often given a full-time contract once the program is completed. However, many graduate programs are demanding, and you will therefore have to work hard during the program to ensure you are successful at the end of it.
There are many pros to graduate jobs. You will be given extensive training and fast-tracked to senior roles with a company. You will be working closely with mentors and get to learn about many different areas of a business. Many graduate programs offer good starting salaries, enabling you to earn while you learn. Furthermore, many of the skills you will acquire can be transferred to other roles, enabling you to use your experiences to switch to other jobs or industries should you wish.
However, graduate jobs can also be demanding. Some of the most popular graduate employers and programs are very competitive. Therefore, the hiring process can be quite long and detailed for some graduate jobs. You will need to demonstrate a variety of talents and likely be expected to learn quickly on-the-job. Starting salaries for some graduate sectors can be low, whilst some graduate employers may insist on you remaining with their company for a number of years following graduation.