2.2s: which employers accept them in construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying?
The truth is that your job search will be more difficult if you have a 2.2. But, unlike in some other career sectors, a good number of construction, engineering and surveying firms will consider your application. The construction industry has always been interested first and foremost in a candidate’s skills, especially people skills, management abilities and practical problem-solving abilities.
Job hunting with a 2.2 in 2017–2018? Keep an eye on these construction, civil engineering and QS employers
- AECOM accepts 2.2s for its UK & Ireland opportunities.
- Amey accepts a minimum of a 2.2 for its graduate programmes.
- Arcadis doesn’t specify a degree classification.
- Arup usually requires a 2.1, but hasn’t specified a degree classification for its graduate urban design vacancy, its graduate engineering geologist vacancy nor its graduate access consultant vacancy.
- Atkins typically asks for a 2.1 for its graduate schemes, but does accept a 2.2 for its infrastructure graduate schemes (building surveying; physical security; building services/mechanical/electrical engineering; and ground engineering/tunnelling/underground space.)
- Babcock accepts graduates with a 2.2 or above.
- Balfour Beatty will take a 2.2 for most of its graduate schemes, but not all. You’ll need to check individual job postings.
- BAM Construct UK and BAM Nuttall don’t specify a minimum degree grade.
- Barratt Homes requires a 2.2 or above its ASPIRE graduate programme and doesn’t specify a degree grade for its accelerated programmes.
- The Berkeley Group doesn’t specify a degree requirement.
- Costain will take 2.2s for its: graduate civil engineering scheme; graduate mechanical and electrical engineering schemes: graduate environmental adviser jobs; and its graduate safety, health and environmental adviser job.
- Galliford Try plc accepts ‘second class honours’ degrees for its graduate jobs.
- Gerald Eve requires a ‘good’ bachelors or masters degree for its assistant building surveyor vacancies.
- Jacobs does not specify degree grades for most of its vacancies, but some job roles do require a 2.1. You’;ll need to check the individual job postings carefully.
- Mott MacDonald requires a 2.1 or above for most of its graduate schemes, but does accept 2.2s for its quantity surveyor scheme and electrical engineering scheme. Its process engineer scheme does not specify a degree grade, but does ask for a relevant postgraduate qualification.
- Network Rail accepts a 2.2 or above for its graduate schemes.
- Sir Robert McAlpine doesn’t specify a degree classification requirement.
- Skanska does not appear to specify degree grades for its graduate schemes.
NB: This is not an exhaustive list.
Construction, engineering and surveying jobs can open up all year round, so search TARGETjobs regularly for vacancies and check their entry requirements.
It's also worth investigating opportunities with smaller employers who may be able to be more flexible when it comes to your degree result.
How to compete with the job applicants who have a 2.1
Even when applying to employers who accept 2.2s, you’ll still be up against students who have a 2.1 or a first – you’ll need to give recruiters good reasons to progress your application beyond the initial stage. To put it bluntly, you need to write an outstanding application. Convince recruiters that you have a genuine desire to work in the industry and for their employer, coupled with the skills to do well.
Demonstrate your commitment to a career in construction
On your CV, in your covering letter or when answering appropriate application questions, clearly outline what you have done to further your interest in construction. These actions could include:
- any industry-related work experience or voluntary work you have done
- any events or initiatives that you have taken part of as part of your course outside of it, such as the Construction Open Doors Weekends and student competitions run by professional bodies
- being a member of, and active participant in , professional bodies or industry-related student societies, eg your civil engineering society
- any research projects or reading you’ve done as part of your course, for example into the latest technologies.
Help recruiters ‘see’ you in the role
When writing about your industry-related work experience/volunteering, describe in detail you did on your placement, the skills you developed, and what you learned. This will help recruiters to visualise you thriving in the workplace.
When writing about your non-industry work experience, identify the skills and behaviours that are relevant to the construction industry and say how these skills will be useful to you in the role. For example, if you shelf-stacked at a supermarket, you would have multi-tasked when interrupted by customers with enquiries and when working on site you will need to multi-task when faced with interruptions and unexpected events
If you need to gather some more evidence of your skills, consider taking part in charity or community work (known as social action). This is something that you can do before or after graduating. The charity Step Up To Serve has been set up to help students get involved in social action, so is a good place to start looking.
Impress through research and being specific
All construction employers want to hire graduates who want to work for their employer in particular – not just any employer and definitely not their biggest competitors! As such, the graduate recruiters who accept 2.2s are likely to take a well researched and considered appilication from a candidate with a 2.2 over a sloppy, generic application from a candidate with a first.
So research the employer thoroughly and use your findings to substantiate your reasons for applying. For example, if you are stating that you are applying to a company because of its range of projects, write about specific projects – say why they impress you and make you want to work for the company. Remember: ‘The strongest applications are tailor-made and focused on the graduate role and industry they are applying for,’ Atkins’ recruiters tell us.
Will a postgraduate degree cancel out a 2.2?
This really does depend on the individual employer. One or two employers have told us in the past that they might accept 2.2s if the candidate has achieved a distinction or high grade in a masters-level qualification – but this is by no means the same across all construction employers. Before deciding to embark on postgraduate study in an attempt to make up for your undergraduate results, contact a range of employers to get a feel for whether it is worth the expense and time.
What if I have mitigating circumstances for my 2.2?
If your 2.2 is due to genuine mitigating circumstances, for example bereavement or a period of illness, you can usually still apply to the employers that normally require a 2.1. ‘We look at genuine circumstances that have prevented the students from obtaining the grade they were hoping for,’ says Melissa Hopper, graduate recruitment manager at Mott MacDonald. ‘Each case is looked at on an individual basis.’ To confirm whether 2.1-seeking employers will consider your application, look at their graduate recruitment website or contact the recruitment team (via email, phone or face to face at a careers fair). Also read our advice on how to approach employers about mitigating circumstances and what to say.