Can I get a graduate-level job without a 2

Can I get a graduate-level job without a 2.1?
Many large graduate recruiters will specify a 2.1, but this does not mean that
graduates with a lower class of degree will not find suitable employment. However,
you may need to be more flexible in your job-seeking and to be able to sell yourself
well in your applications.
Employers may ask for a particular class of degree because the work that they offer
involves passing professional exams or because they want to restrict the number of
applications that they receive to a more manageable number than would be the case
if they did not require a 2.1. Employers that do this tend to be the large, blue-chip
companies that expect to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications for their
graduate vacancies. These employers only recruit around 20% of all graduates –
most graduates, whatever their class of degree, will join smaller/medium-sized
organisations which tend to be more willing to look at all parts of graduates'
While you should try and get as good a class of degree as you are capable of,
remember that there is more to you than your degree! Your personal skills are also
important – graduate recruiters do not want candidates who have nothing to offer
beyond good academic grades but will look for people who can demonstrate the
skills they require through work experience or involvement in student clubs and
societies. See our Employability Skills pages for advice on analysing your skills and
using them in job applications.
The employers listed below recruit graduates, often in any degree subject, onto
management training schemes in various functions. The list does not include
schemes for science or engineering graduates, where requirements may often be
more flexible.
Some employers that specify a 2.2 minimum:
Arcadia Group Retail Management “a
degree in any subject”; Distribution “a degree in a numerate/analytical subject” ;
Merchandising “a degree in a numerate or business-related subject”
B&Q Finance Graduate Scheme - ACCA or CIMA training
(advertised summer 2010) 2.2 in any discipline
Centrica 2.2 in any subject for Human Resources;
Customer Operations; Marketing; Analyst; Finance & Information Systems
Co-operative Group Business Management & Finance
programmes. No degree class specified
Debenhams Graduate
Management Trainee Programme – no degree class specified
DHL Operations Management UK Graduate Programme –
no degree class specified
Enterprise Rent-a-Car – no degree class specified
Gist Operations, IT and HR. 2.2 minimum
HSBC Retail Management and Commercial
Management programmes have a 2.2 requirement.
Jaguar Land Rover Any discipline for Purchasing,
HR, Marketing, Sales & Service. For Finance and IT vacancies, a relevant degree is
“ideal but not essential”. Minimum 2.2
Kerry Group Graduate Development Programme
including Finance; Commercial (Marketing and Sales); Supply Chain. 2.2 in any
Logic Group Enterprises Customer
Insight, Business Development, Sales and IT programmes
Marks Sattin (Recruitment agency) All levels
Meta-Morphose Sales training
Motability 2.2 minimum in any subject for Graduate
Programme covering a variety of departments.
Nestlé Finance, Marketing, HR, Sales, Supply Chain. Any
discipline: no degree class specified but 300 UCAS points required.
Network Rail 2.2 minimum in any subject for
Finance; Information Management; Project Management; Operations Management;
Contracts & Procurement; Strategic Planning
NHS 2.2 minimum in any subject. Four schemes: Human
Resources, Finance, Health Informatics or General Management
Pareto (Graduate sales careers) Any degree discipline/class
“Inspired Talent” programme, for 2.2 graduates who have achieved highly in nonacademic areas
Royal Bank of Scotland 2.2 minimum for UK Retail Business
Leadership Programme; Business Services Leadership Programme
RWE npower Programmes include Business
Analysis; Finance; Marketing; Sales; Customer Operations; Quantitative Risk. “We
do not apply a minimum classification, however, your degree classification will be
taken into consideration when assessing your application as a whole”
Siemens Business related roles include Finance; Project
Management; Operations Management and Sales. Minimum 2.2 in a relevant subject.
Stagecoach group Degree in any discipline at 2:2
or above for the Operational programme
Xchanging “You will work in various business areas
in a variety of roles which may include accounting, sales, marketing, project
management, account management, operations, HR or IT. 2.2 minimum.
Yorkshire Water Graduate
Development Programme involving a number of structured placements. 2.2 minimum.
This list is only provided as a starting point. Employers’ requirements may change
and some employers, while willing to consider applications from candidates with a
2.2 may still prefer those with a 2.1 Check the websites for details of these
employers’ current requirements and recruitment procedure.
Other career opportunities
There are many other employers who will not use degree class as one of their main
selection criteria. Below is a list of some of the job sectors where employers are keen
to recruit graduates but where personal skills and qualities are more important than
degree subject:
Alternatives to “graduate training schemes” in law and accountancy
It is still possible to gain professional qualifications in these areas without a 2.1
degree. This may be done by “topping up” your degree with the first stage of these
qualifications, such as the ICAEW’s Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business Alternatively you could (as increasing numbers of graduates are
doing) qualify through a route not requiring a degree, but giving exemptions for
relevant modules that you have studied at degree level, such as the AAT
Further advice
For an overview of the pros and cons of graduate training schemes, and alternatives
to them, see
December 2010