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PROS AND CONS Of Graduate schemes


Experience not usually required

Employers understand that most students and graduates don't have much experience. That doesn't mean you shouldn't gain experience though! Employers like students who get involved in activities outside of their studies.

Early closing dates for applications

Many accept any degree subject

Most employers don't ask for a specific degree subject- this means that there may be many more job options available than you realised!

Slow process with many stages

Often well paid

Many students find the tests hard

Can offer qualifications and training

Graduate schemes tend to offer very structured training, often with a qualification or professional membership / chartership included.



Click on or hover over each to find out more

Most graduate schemes have a series of stages, which can take up to a year from application to actually starting the scheme.

High Fliers Research: read detailed annual research into graduate recruitment in UK universities

  • On average, employers received 39 applications per graduate vacancy in 2022.
  • On average, applications for graduate vacancies have increased by 8% year-on-year, with more applicants in ten key industries and business sectors.

The Graduate Market in 2023

Most graduate schemes open and close in the Autumn Term (September to December) of the year before the scheme starts. Some graduate websites such as Save the Student and Bright Network list schemes by dealine, to help you plan your time.

Early deadlines

Bright Network

Save the Student

Practice, practice, practice

Practise free or paid for assessment centre exercises via targetjobs' partner AssessmentDay .

Practicing assessments is the most effective way to pass. There are many ways you can practice. You could buy an assessment book, find tests online, or see if your university careers service has any practice materials. Employers often provide practice tests too.

  • Starting salaries at the UK’s leading graduate employers are set to increase in 2023, to a new median starting salary of £33,500.
  • The most generous salaries in 2023 are those on offer from the investment banks (median of £55,000), law firms (median of £50,000) and consulting firms (median of £47,500).
  • The highest published graduate starting salaries for 2023 include law firms White & Case (£52,000) and Allen & Overy, Baker McKenzie, Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Latham Watkins, Linklaters and Slaughter and May (each £50,000), technology company TPP and retailer Aldi (each £50,000).
  • These are the highest paying schemes- that makes them very competitive! Starting salaries on schemes can vary and may be significantly lowe than those mentioned here.

Graduate scheme salaries

High Fliers Research: 2023