Graduate Schemes vs Every Other Job

Finally, after nothing but discouraging graduate unemployment statistics and predictions of fees never being fully paid back, graduate employment is on the rise. Instilling new hope into the thousands of students graduating in 2014.  

The Association of Graduate Recruiters have stated the rise reflects growing business confidence and economic growth over the last year, increasing work in sectors such as IT and telecommunications, energy, customer service jobs and the public sector.

Yet when researching into where graduates are being employed, the AGR, Graduate Recruitment Bereau and graduate researchers High Fliers found that the top graduate employers, including Google, The BBC, and Teach First, are all using graduate schemes to hire their new employees.

Graduate schemes allow employers to hire graduate students whilst training them for the job role they applied for, as opposed to direct entry jobs. But which route is better for today’s graduates?

Benefits of Graduate Schemes

Possibly the best thing to happen to today’s graduates, graduate schemes come with many benefits.

Taught skills specific to the job and industry

Many graduates leaving education worry about the lack of support given in direct route jobs, yet when within a graduate scheme, you develop hands on experience of the job as well as taught skills specific to the job and industry - combining classroom and work environments.

An alternative to postgraduates

Whilst there are more postgraduate opportunities at university institutions and a wider range of specialist subjects, graduate schemes can boast that they train you for a job whilst you earn money, as opposed to spending money for the vocational skills necessary for jobs. An example of such is the fantastic recruiting agency Teach First, you earn whilst you learn working in the school environment, in comparison to spending £6-9000 on an education MA.

Advantages of working within corporate companies

As most graduate schemes are provided by larger companies graduates will be automatically advantaged when applying for future work, as having a larger  and more recognisable company name on your CV and job applications is sure to boost your chances of attaining the job role.

Fast track opportunities

Graduate schemes can make a huge difference in regards of fast tracking to a senior role within a job sector - for example, within the public services industry a police officer can fast track from police constable to an inspector ranking in just three years whilst on a graduate scheme.

High grade rewards

Most companies will require a minimum grade of a higher second class degree, yet many also offer opportunities to those who attain a first class degree, such as a higher paid role within their company.

Strong potential of maintaining a job at the organisation

An impressive and inspiring 37% of graduates in 2013 and 2014 have been recruited into the full-time job role with their company after completion of a graduate scheme.

Challenges of Graduate Schemes

Of course, like all things graduate career wise, there are the challenges of requirements to meet.

Heavy competition

As can be expected, with thousands of graduates produced every year and only limited places, the competition with other successful graduates is substantial.


Unfortunately, your location can dramatically affect your likelihood of getting on to a graduate scheme. GRB suggests moving to an industrial city to increase graduate scheme opportunities, as the size of a city is believed to have a direct correlation with the amount of graduate schemes available.

Finding opportunities

For the technology savvy students, this challenge is not such an issue. However, as found by High Fliers, employers are promoting their jobs using social networking (used by 91% of employers in 2013-14) and graduate recruitment websites (93% of employers in 2013-14). This can be seen as both a blessing and a curse; whilst the promotion of a job you’re interested in on your Twitter feed may feel like fate the fact that your dream job has been posted online somewhere unknown to you. To avoid this, sign up to as many graduate jobs as possible, including and

Necessity of work experience

Although it can be seen as stating the obvious, without work experience it is unlikely that a graduate scheme application will even be considered - over half the recruiters surveyed by High Fliers stated that they would not employ a student without at least some relevant experience in the work field.

In summary, graduate schemes are a fantastic opportunity, and have a reputation for attaining graduate roles in larger companies, something surely of interest to all university graduates.


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