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?

  • Abercrombie & Fitch: the website states a ‘minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA’ as a requirement, which is equal to a low 2.2 degree classification.
  • Aldi: accepts a 2.2 for its area management roles if you join its career changers programme
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car : does not specify any degree requirements.
  • John Lewis Partnership: currently has its graduate programme on pause, but has previously accepted applications from graduates with a 2.2 or above.
  • Lidl: accepts applications from graduates with a 2.2 for its graduate programmes.
  • McDonald’s: does not state any degree requirements.
  • Morrisons: most programmes require a 2.1 but applicants for the logistics, retail or manufacturing schemes should have a minimum 2.2 degree.
  • Next: asks for a degree-level qualification but grade requirements are not specified.
  • Pendragon: typically accepts graduates with a 2.2 or above for its retail management programme.
  • Tesco: accepts applicants from graduates with a 2.2 or above.
  • UNIQLO: degree requirements are not specified 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.

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 face-to-face 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 further bolster your application, work experience in a relevant field – 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, bear in mind that many different retailers provide formal summer and year-long placements for recent graduates. 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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