How to choose a graduate technology employer, by CGI
Finding the right employer for you will make all the difference to your happiness and success at work. Selecting an employer is undeniably tricky for those interested in technology careers, as there is an abundance of employers spread across all industries with suitable vacancies. It is made harder by the fact that many technology companies aren’t household names.
CGI, for example, is the world’s fifth largest independent IT and business process services company and has been officially ranked by the Top Employers Institute as the 2018 top employer in the UK for its outstanding employee offerings. Yet recruiters admit that the name doesn’t spring to mind as quickly as the Silicon Valley giants do.
To help you identify your personal priorities when choosing an employer, CGI has given us unprecedented access to its intern, graduate and experienced professionals who explain what they like best about their employer.
Consider… a variety of projects
You could be placed in any of the organisation’s major business units, which include space, defence, banking, utilities and the public sector, and would be able to move across roles and sectors – even as a placement student. ‘One of the great things about working for a large multinational company is the diversity of roles available,’ says student Salma Saeed. ‘I had my say in what I wanted to do during my placement year and rotated around machine learning research and development, project management, architecture and security.’
Your day-to-day work can differ widely according to your role. Emma Wilkinson is a commercial executive in Edinburgh. ‘My role for one of CGI’s largest government accounts consisted of recruiting and managing resources on the project,’ she recalls. ‘I gathered requirements from the client, advertised the roles, organised CV reviews, set up interviews and took each new person through our onboarding [welcoming] process.’
Adam Greenwood, who graduated two years ago, is development team lead in robotic process automation and has an entirely different role. ‘We are using software to automate business processes to save our clients money. My days on client sites involve meetings with the client to discuss progress with our current batch of automations, supporting the virtual workers running on client infrastructure and leading the team as we develop and deliver automations.’
Adam splits his time between his home base of Reading and client sites in Belgium. Abbie Maidment, a graduate with just over three years’ experience, and Maxine Bulmer, director of cyber security, have had successful careers in Wales and the West Midlands.
Consider… your development
‘CGI is completely dedicated to your personal growth and development; they want you to be the best you can be and support you in that,’ says Salma. ‘Courtesy of the generosity of CGI, I gained certifications within architecture and security. This has provided me with a great stepping stone towards my dream job.’ Abbie, who has moved from a support analyst role into a project management role, has gained technical certificates and line and project management qualifications.
From the top downwards, support is also offered informally. ‘I am very aware that the next generation of directors is in my team somewhere and it is my job to coach them,’ says Maxine. She has also recently helped a team member move from working on a government project to a finance project, at that member’s request.
As a result of all this support, your progression can be swift. While formal promotions tend to happen once a year, you can build up your responsibilities within your role over time. It took Abbie just ten months to go from a brand-new graduate to a service lead, with considerable client responsibility, and in just two years Adam went from developer to development service lead.
Consider… a friendly workplace
‘I really enjoy the culture of the company,’ says Adam. ‘Everyone is always very friendly, helpful and approachable – from your peers to your managers to your directors.’ There is a big emphasis in each office on social activities. ‘Your office will probably have something that will interest you, from book clubs and guitar lessons to five-a-side football,’ he adds.
Consider… an inclusive culture
CGI places paramount importance on promoting an equal and inclusive culture for all employees, right from recruitment through to salaries, training, development, promotions and performance reviews. The company is proud of being a ‘Disability Confident’ organisation and of its employee networks – for example, each region has a graduate representative to ensure graduates feel listened to and there are groups championing woman in cyber. Maxine is also very much aware of the importance of being a role model and has been involved in setting up a workspace on the cloud containing resources to support working parents and carers.
Consider… a chance to give back
CGI has a great sense of social responsibility and encourages everyone to contribute to their local community. Emma, for example, has volunteered with The Princes’ Trust and helped her office raise more than £2,000 for charity. Each year, CGI also hosts a charity European Football Championship league, with participants from across European offices. This year the final was held in the South of France and the team raised €2000 for the charity Handicap International.
Haven’t heard of CGI? You’ll have heard of its projects
- It has supported the missions of more than 200 satellites.
- It provides the Crown Prosecution Service of England and Wales with the technology to prosecute over 15 million defendants.
- It works with 23 of the top 25 banks in North America and Europe.
- It delivered systems that produce weather satellite images and data for three billion people across Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa.
- It designed, built and operates the Police National Database, which is used by all UK police forces and contains over 3.2 billion records.
- ... among many other activities.