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The results of the Graduate Survey: the most popular employers offering commercial graduate jobs and internships

The top ten employers with commercial graduate schemes and internships

Which are the most popular graduate employers that offer commercial and business opportunities? Our survey says...

Most vacancies are open to graduates of any degree subject.

Through taking part in Trendence UK’s latest Graduate Survey, 74,746 students chose their favourite graduate employers. Trendence UK is a GTI business – the same as TARGETjobs – and the team there gave us special access to the survey. To help you start your own job search, we reveal the ten most popular employers that offer business and commercial roles for students and graduates.

Find out more about the Graduate Survey and its methodology

The top ten graduate employers with commercial graduate programmes and internships

  1. Google. Google advertises graduate-level jobs and summer internships in its business function on an ad hoc basis.
  2. Cancer Research UK. It may surprise you that a charity would have a business graduate scheme, but even charities need to be financially sustainable – and Cancer Research UK’s graduate programme includes streams in HR and in fundraising and marketing.
  3. Amazon. Amazon offers business-related graduate jobs and internships on an ad hoc basis. Roles could be in areas such as sales/advertising/account management, business development, HR and marketing/PR.
  4. MI6 – Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). Did you know that you could join MI6 as a business support officer? You might be facilitating the teams gathering intelligence or joining one of the corporate teams ensuring the smooth functioning of the service.
  5. GSK. GSK runs its ‘graduate future leaders’ programmes in various business operations, and sales and marketing functions – from communications and government affairs to commercial management. It also offers summer internships and industrial placement years in similar areas.
  6. J.P. Morgan. This financial services firm runs all of the finance and banking programmes that you’d expect, but also offers a number of internships and graduate programmes in its cross-firm functions, which include HR and risk management.
  7. Microsoft. The Microsoft Aspire Experience graduate programmes include specialisms in: marketing; sales; and consulting, support and customer services. It also offers internships in areas such as finance, marketing and sales.
  8. PwC. Among its programmes, the Big 4 firm runs a flexible business graduate programme, which includes rotations in various functions.
  9. MI5 – The Security Service. MI5 has a business enablers graduate programme, which places you in various corporate posts such as in the finance, HR and legal teams.
  10. Unilever. Unilever runs work experience and graduate programmes in areas such as HR, marketing and financial management.

Most programmes mentioned above are open to all degree subjects; many, but not all, require a 2.1 minimum. However, the vacancies offered by graduate employers – and the degree subjects they require – can change, so check out the individual company websites for roles you’re interested in.

Search for commercial graduate programmes and business jobs

There are, of course, a huge range of business-focused vacancies outside of these top ten:

How to choose the best graduate employer for you

You’ll notice that there are essentially two types of commercial graduate programmes on offer: those schemes that rotate you around different business functions and those that place you in one commercial function (such as marketing). When choosing where to apply, think about whether experiencing a breadth of roles or specialising from the start would best suit your career ambitions.

Look, too, into the employers offering the graduate programmes. The truth is that you won’t have time to apply to a huge numbers of employers – or at least not if you want your applications to be sufficiently high quality to get you interviews. Instead, start with a shortlist of your preferred organisations (say your top three). Once you have applied to them, you can move to the next three on your list and so on. This will give you the space to tailor your applications in the way that the recruiters expect.

But how do you identify your preferred employers? Pinpoint what is most important to you. Is it the type of training that you’d receive? Support for a professional qualification? The potential for rapid promotion? Maintaining a good work/life balance? A high starting salary? The employer’s values or approach to sustainability? Once you have your criteria, see which employers match them. You might find it helpful to keep a scorecard. Doing this will also help you articulate genuine reasons for wanting to work at that company – something that all employers want to see.