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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, 73,517 students chose their favourite graduate employers. Trendence UK is a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company and 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 – and most vacancies are open to graduates of any degree subject.

Find out more about the Graduate Survey and its methodology

The top ten graduate employers with commercial vacancies

  1. Google. Google advertises graduate-level jobs and summer internships in its business function on an ad hoc basis. Many roles are in sales, marketing and customer service.
  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. 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.
  4. Amazon. Amazon offers business-related graduate jobs and internships on an ad hoc basis. Roles could be in areas such as sales, customer service, HR and marketing.
  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. The NHS. The NHS’ graduate management programmes offer specialisations in a range of business functions, including finance, general management, and policy and strategy.
  7. Jaguar Land Rover (JLR). JLR offers a corporate graduate programme and a corporate undergraduate placement year.
  8. MI5 – The Security Service. MI5 has launched a new business enablers graduate programme, which will place you in various corporate posts such as in the finance, HR and legal teams.
  9. British Airways. The airline offers a range of commercial and leadership graduate programmes and a business undergraduate placement.
  10. Rolls-Royce. The aerospace, marine and nuclear engineering company runs a variety of business-focused graduate programmes and internships, including in commercial, customer services and management, and HR. NB: This is not the automotive company. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars are part of the BMW Group.

Vacancies and the degree subjects they require do vary, so do 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 application 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.