Some big graduate employers specify that they only want graduates with a 2.1 or higher, but this is by no means true for all. Even the most popular and sought after recruiters sometimes take a more flexible approach.
Read on for examples of graduate employers from the following sectors that accept applications from graduates with 2.2s:
- Big 4 accountancy firms
- Financial services, retail banking and insurance
- Construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying
- IT and technology
- Public sector
- Hospitality, leisure and travel
Keep up to date with the opportunities available by registering fully with targetjobs.co.uk and completing your profile, and check our employer hubs for more information about employers that catch your eye.
The Big 4 accountancy and professional services firms – EY, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG – traditionally looked for candidates who have achieved a 2.1 or higher, but have recently started taking a more flexible approach.
- EY has removed both UCAS and degree classification from its entry criteria.
- PwC has stopped using UCAS scores to filter candidates for the majority of its candidates.
- KPMG has reduced its UCAS requirement, and stresses that candidates who do not meet this will not automatically be rejected.
- Deloitte expects a 2.1 degree from applicants to its graduate schemes, but sometimes adjusts these entry requirements to take account of candidates' educational and personal circumstances.
Find out more about how to get a job with the Big 4 accountancy firms
Typically, graduate recruiters across financial services are looking for 2.1s, but there are some exceptions:
- The HMRC tax professionals programme accepts a minimum of a 2.2.
- Lloyds Banking Group accepts applications from candidates who are on track to achieve a 2.2 or above.
- Lloyd’s of London’s minimum degree requirement is a 2.2.
- Building society Nationwide accepts applications from all graduates, regardless of degree class.
- NatWest Group accepts a 2.2 for its RBS international graduate programme (although its other graduate schemes require a 2.1).
Employers who state they are looking for 2.1s may still be willing to consider your application if your results have been affected by mitigating circumstances.
A number of engineering employers accept graduates with 2.2 degrees for either some or all of their graduate engineering schemes, including AECOM, Babcock International Group, Balfour Beatty, Jaguar Land Rover and National Grid.
Some employers in construction, civil engineering and quantity surveying either don't specify a minimum degree result or are willing to consider graduates with 2.2s for some or all of their schemes. These include Amey, Costain and Barratt Homes.
If you want a career in property and have a 2.2 there are a number of steps you can take to improve your chances, from strengthening your applications to applying to smaller firms or seeking property-related roles in industries such as retail or transport.
IT and technology roles are common across a number of businesses in a variety of different fields. Many of the opportunities for graduates with 2.2 degrees are with organisations for whom IT is not their main business, including engineering companies. Some recruiters' graduate IT schemes are open to applicants with 2.2s who also have a masters.
Examples of employers who have accepted 2.2s in the past for technology roles or programmes include Network Rail, GCHQ, the NHS and Jaguar Land Rover.
There are numerous graduate schemes with highly-regarded employers in the public sector that are open to graduates with 2.2s. For example, employers that accept 2.2s for some or all their graduate programmes include the following: the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), the Civil Service Fast Stream, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the NHS.
Many retail recruiters accept graduates with 2.2s or do not set any degree class requirements, and some recruit all year round. A relevant degree subject may be required for some roles, however.
For example, graduate schemes at Arcadia are open to applications from graduates with 2.2s, while Marks & Spencer will consider applications from all graduates.
Employers in the hospitality, leisure and travel sector do not generally filter applicants out based on degree classification. Relevant work experience is often considered to be of more importance.
Secrets of getting the graduate career you want… no matter what
1. Be prepared to play the long game
If you can’t get a job with the graduate employer you want to work for, you could pick up the relevant experience at a smaller company, and find a way in later. Alternatively, keep your eyes on larger employers’ careers websites for direct entry-level roles, rather than graduate schemes and programmes.
2. If you have genuine extenuating or mitigating circumstances, let recruiters know early on
3. Consider applying for jobs with small and medium-sized companies (SMEs)
These organisations employ 60% of the UK workforce, and their graduate-level vacancies may be much less oversubscribed than places on the graduate schemes run by big employers. They can offer great opportunities for early responsibility and career development.
- Why you should think about applying for work experience with a small employer
4. Research employers and sectors carefully
Big graduate recruiters accept 2.2s for some schemes and not for others. Many graduates do not consider employers if they are not in a particular sector or in attendance at a careers fair. However, the vast majority of roles in businesses can be found across a number of industries – anything from finance to HR, sales to supply chain management.
You may also find opportunities in the public sector that are open to candidates with 2.2s. The NHS graduate management programme, which divides into four specialist schemes, is one such example.
- Explore our advice on popular graduate career sectors
5. Build up your work experience and your contacts in the sector you’re interested in
Develop your networking skills – this will help you to find out about opportunities.
- How to network at careers events
- Use our employer hubs to find out how to get hired by top graduate employers
6. Think carefully about the possibility of boosting your qualifications
If you’re interested in taking a masters or postgraduate degree, consider whether it will actually improve your employability.