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2.2s: which employers accept them in construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying?

Some construction, quantity surveying and civil and structural engineering employers accept job applications from graduates with a 2.2. We investigate which ones.
Emphasise your skills and talk about what you achieved on your industry work experience placements.

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? Keep an eye on these construction, civil engineering and QS employers (2016–2017 vacancies)

  • AECOM accepts 2.2s for its UK & Ireland 2017 opportunities.
  • Amey does not specify a degree classification requirement for its graduate management development and pathways programmes.
  • Arcadis doesn’t specify a degree classification for its building services engineering role.
  • Arup usually requires a 2.1, but hasn’t specified a degree classification for its operations consultancy team roles (graduate operations consultant, graduate asset management consultant and graduate logistics consultant), for its graduate landscape architect/urban designer role, for its gradate façade engineer role or for its graduate energy consultant role.
  • Atkins often asks for a 2.1 for its graduate schemes, but does accept a 2.2 for its building and infrastructure graduate scheme – which includes building surveying, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, fire engineering and structural engineering roles – if the candidate has a masters-level qualification.
  • Babcock accepts graduates with a 2.2 and above for most of its graduate schemes. A few schemes, such as project management, require a 2.1.
  • 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, but doesn’t specify a degree grade for its accelerated programmes.
  • Carillion plc considers all degree classifications for its graduate programmes.
  • Croudace Homes Group doesn't specify a degree classification requirement.
  • Galliford Try plc doesn't specify a degree classification requirement.
  • Gerald Eve doesn’t specify a degree classification for its building surveying scheme.
  • Jacobs asks for a 2.1 for most of its graduate schemes, but not for all: it doesn’t specify a grade requirement for roles such as transport planning. Check individual job descriptions.
  • L&Q doesn’t specify a degree requirement for its graduate programmes.
  • Mott MacDonald usually requires a 2.1 but is accepting 2.2s for its electrical engineering scheme and its quantity surveying scheme. It doesn’t specify a degree requirement for its graduate fire engineer role, although you do need to have a masters-level qualification.
  • Network Rail accepts a 2.2 or above for its graduate schemes.
  • Redrow accepts 2.2s for its construction management programme.
  • Sir Robert McAlpine doesn’t specify a degree classification requirement.
  • Skanska is accepting 2.2s for its quantity surveying graduate scheme.
  • WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff doesn’t specify a degree classification requirement.

However, 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.

Competing against the job applicants who have a 2.1

Even when applying to these employers, you’ll still be up against students who have a 2.1 or a first and so you’ll need to give recruiters good reasons to progress your application beyond the initial stage. Basically, you need to write an outstanding application. Convince recruiters that you have the desire to work in the industry, coupled with the skills to do well.

  • Demonstrate your commitment to a career in the industry. Clearly outline what you have done to further your interest in construction: your industry-related work experience or volunteering, any industry initiatives you’ve taken part in as part of your course or outside of it, such as the Construction Open Doors Weekends and student competitions run by professional bodies such as RICS.
  • When writing about your industry-related work experience/volunteering, say what you did on your placement and what skills you developed. Help recruiters to visualise you thriving in the workplace.
  • When writing about your non-industry work experience, identify the skills 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

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.