The top ten internship employers revealed!
Between September 2015 and January 2016, 52,074 students took part in the latest trendence Graduate Survey. It is the largest survey of its kind in the UK and its results are used to create The Guardian UK 300, an annual careers publication that lists the top 300 most popular graduate employers among students. The results of the survey can be broken down by year group, and penultimate-year students are the most likely to be seeking internships.
The top ten employers as voted for by penultimate-year students
- Google is headquartered in California, but it has 70 offices in more than 40 countries around the world. It offers technical and product management internships.
- Cancer Research UK is a charity dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer through research. Its internships last for 12 weeks and involve working on specific projects in areas across the charity including events, HR, health information and health community engagement.
- GSK is a global healthcare company that researches and develops pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare products. It runs summer internships across several areas including IT, engineering and science as well as industrial placements.
- MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), is responsible for collecting Britain’s foreign intelligence.
- Amazon is an e-commerce company with separate retail websites for countries across Europe, Asia and Australia. It runs internships in a number of both technical and nontechnical disciplines.
- MI5 – The Security Service is responsible for protecting the United Kingdom against threats to national security.
- Microsoft employs over 3,000 people in the UK and has offices all over the world. It produces software, personal computers, mobile devices and the Xbox gaming consoles. It offers internships across all of its product areas.
- Rolls-Royce plc is an aircraft engine and power systems company that provides products and services to customers in the civil and defence aerospace, marine and energy sectors. It has internships in many of its business areas including commercial, supply chain management and engineering.
- British Airways is a global airline employing over 40,000 people. It offers a number of work experience placements in a variety of areas such as engineering, operational research and community investment.
- Jaguar Land Rover is headquartered in the UK but it employs 32,000 people worldwide. It runs undergraduate placements lasting three, six or twelve months across the majority of its business areas
*Information correct as of June 2016.
Essential tips on getting an internship with a top employer
Note that, although some of these employers offer internships that require technical know-how or a particular degree subject, many of them also recruit into less specialised roles such as management, finance, marketing and HR. So, if you’re a humanities or arts student, don’t rule out an engineering or technology company.
Make a note of closing dates – many employers expect early applications, even if they don’t explicitly say so in their adverts. You will need to get into the habit of checking their websites and Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds on a regular basis to find out when applications open. See our ‘Work experience and internships: your first and second year timetable’ for more guidance on what to do when.
You’ll need to beat off plenty of competition to secure an internship or placement with one of these large companies. It is essential that you carry out detailed research on the employer and what the internship or placement involves. Then, use that research to back up your reasons for wanting to work at that employer. For example, if your reason is because you admire the company you need to give specific instances of how they have impressed you. If it is because it will further your knowledge or career prospects, you need to explain exactly how it will do so.
Once you’re ready to apply, our internship-specific applications and interview advice will put you on the right track. Start with:
- The five key questions that internship recruiters will ask themselves about you
- CVs and covering letters for work experience
- So you want an internship? Crack the online application form
- How to shine in your work experience interview
It’s also a good idea to visit your university’s careers service to see what advice, events and workshops there may be on offer.
Look beyond the organisations listed above, too, as there are many smaller or more specialist organisations that offer excellent work experience programmes and it’s a myth that big-name employers only recruit former interns.