What is the Difference between a Graduate Job and a Graduate Scheme?


As your time at University winds down, it will soon be time to think about applying for a job for post-University. Everyone is aware how competitive the graduate market is, which makes it difficult to secure a position after University. Something that not everyone is aware of however is the difference between a Graduate Job and a Graduate Scheme. The two are actually slightly different – and knowing the difference is important, the last thing you want to do is sign yourself up for something you don’t actually want! In this article, we provide a look at both.


The graduate job market is highly competitive!

Simply Put…
Essentially, a graduate scheme is a more structured position than a graduate job. A graduate scheme will last a set amount of time, while a graduate job will normally run indefinitely until you leave. Some graduate schemes will let you earn a qualification, while graduate jobs normally won’t. It is also important to mention that graduate schemes don’t guarantee an individual a job at the end of their scheme, though a graduate job obviously is a permanent position. We go into more detail below.


Graduate Scheme
A graduate scheme is a structured position within a business, company or organisation. The schemes will exist throughout various sectors. Graduate schemes typically take on a large number of graduates each year. The schemes normally have a set length – lasting anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Some graduate schemes will offer the candidate the chance to work towards a professional qualification – e.g. accountancy. In a graduate scheme, you will normally work in different departments throughout the organisation to ensure you get as much experience as possible.


However you won’t be guaranteed a permanent role in the business at the end of your scheme. But it is a very good experience in any case. The schemes are advertised early in the academic year, and operate a rigorous recruitment and selection process. The schemes typically start in August or September – around 2 months after the end of your University year. Understandably, there are short application windows. Overall, graduate schemes are highly-sought after and competitive, but offer a great chance to kick-start someone’s career. Finally, those on a scheme will tend to have a higher salary than someone on a graduate job.


Either a graduate scheme or graduate job can prove enormously helpful


Graduate Job
From the outset, it is important to mention that a graduate job is no less prestigious than a graduate scheme. Normally, a graduate job is a set role within an organisation which is typically smaller. Graduate jobs normally appear later than graduate schemes, and can often be found at a short notice. There are nowhere near as many candidates, and is therefore less competitive. Normally, one or two interviews will suffice, as opposed to a long and drawn-out application process seen with graduate schemes.


A graduate job offers good experience, but it is unlikely that very big companies will offer them. They are typically lower paid, but they will normally offer a better chance of internal promotion. The role will tend to be more hands-on, with not too much training. If you aren’t sure on a long-term plan, a graduate job would be a good choice. You won’t be tied down to a set scheme, and you can practically come and go as you please. You can also take a few months off after University and then begin work in December or January, as opposed to having to wait for a set time each year.





So, subtle differences, but it is a good idea to be informed regarding both. Hopefully the descriptions above can help you decide whether a graduate scheme or job is right for you. Both are very useful, and offer an excellent chance of completing relevant industry experience.



Graduate Schemes and Jobs: Advantages and Disadvantages


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