Which retail graduate employers will accept you and your 2.2?

Some retail graduate schemes specify a 2.1 degree classification, yet this sector is one in which many employers accept applicants with a 2.2.

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Many retailers will take your university classification alongside the experience you’ve gained, the skills you’ve developed and the enthusiasm you show. So, achieving a 2.1 isn’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to securing your graduate position.

Which retail employers may accept a 2.2?

  • Dunelm doesn’t state a degree classification requirement for its graduate programme
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car does not specify any degree requirements.
  • Lidl accepts applications from graduates with a 2.2 for its graduate programmes.
  • McDonald’s: does not state any degree requirements for its trainee manager programme.
  • Next doesn’t specify a required degree classification for its three graduate schemes.
  • Pendragon does not state the minimum degree grade needed for its graduate programmes.
  • Tesco accepts applicants from graduates with a 2.2 or above.
  • TJX (TK Maxx) does not state a specific degree classification needed for its merchandising and buying graduate programme.
  • UNIQLO does not state any degree requirements for its UNIQLO manager candidate (UMC) programme.

What if I have mitigating circumstances? Will recruiters still accept me?

If your 2.2 is the result of genuine mitigating circumstances, there is a possibility that your application may still be considered by the graduate employers who do not ordinarily accept 2.2s. Mitigating circumstances include illness (including Covid-19) and bereavement.

Retail graduate recruiters do not tend to provide advice for applicants with mitigating circumstances on their websites. It is best to contact recruitment teams directly (via email, phone or at a careers fair), explaining your situation to them personally. This will help you to focus your applications where they will be most welcome, and make sure that recruiters are aware of you personally so that your application is not automatically filtered out of the application process.

How could I further strengthen my application?

If you’re looking to bolster your application, work experience – particularly in the company you are hoping to work for – will help. If you can’t find work placements with the retailer you are particularly interested in, look wider to other companies with similar products or customers. Many different retailers provide formal summer and year-long placements for students and graduates, but any experience you can gain of working in a retail environment will be beneficial, as this provides an understanding of how the retail machine operates.

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