Graduate Schemes and Graduate Jobs: Advantages and Disadvantages


In your final year at University, it is likely you will be thinking considerably regarding your future. Graduate schemes and graduate jobs are two of the most popular routes to take. These two routes may sound the same, but there are differences to them – as this article explains. Essentially a Graduate Scheme is a more structured position than a graduate job, normally with set parameters in terms of duration. For more differences, consult the article above. Otherwise read on, where the advantages and disadvantages of both are discussed.


Being well prepared is crucial!


Graduate Scheme


  • Offer a great way of ‘kick-starting’ someone’s career.
  • Emphasis is usually placed on personal development.
  • Your salary is likely to be higher on a graduate scheme when compared with a graduate job.
  • Build a strong network with great contacts.
  • By moving around different departments within a business, you will gain great industry exposure.
  • Normally bigger organisations are the ones that offer graduate schemes. Therefore, you will have the chance to list a top organisation on your CV.
  • In some cases you can work towards attaining a professional qualification.
  • A graduate scheme is highly structured.
  • There are usually many others on the same scheme as you – meaning you won’t be alone.
  • While there isn’t a guarantee of a job at the end, in many cases you will secure one. If the organisation has spent two years or more training you, it is unlikely they will want to let you go to a competitor.


  • You won’t be guaranteed a permanent role in the business at the end of your scheme. However, it will look good on your CV in any case.
  • Graduate schemes are highly competitive, and as such feature a rigorous recruitment and selection process.
  • There are short application windows, giving you little time to prepare for them.
  • You could be tying yourself down for a long time. Graduate schemes can last anywhere from six months to five years. There isn’t much flexibility with a graduate scheme when compared to a graduate job.
  • When you actually start the job, it will be incredibly competitive internally too, with everyone hoping to impress.
  • While a positive for some, you may have to move locations frequently.


Many large companies have competitive graduate schemes


Graduate Job


  • Organisations who offer graduate jobs will typically be smaller, meaning there isn’t the high level of intra-competition, it won’t be too intimidating, and you can realistically get to know everyone.
  • Graduate jobs often appear much later than graduate schemes. Therefore, if you are unsuccessful with an application for a graduate scheme, you can still secure a graduate job.
  • There are nowhere near as many candidates, and therefore the recruitment and selection system will typically be quicker than that of a graduate scheme.
  • A graduate job will provide you with relevant industry experience.
  • Opportunities for promotion are available.
  • Working for a smaller organisation will mean you can make an active difference, as opposed to being a small cog in an engine.
  • You can realistically help a business
  • You can come and go as you wish, you will not be tied down to a long-term contract.
  • If you don’t have a long-term plan, a graduate job can be ideal, as if can be something to secure you money and experience while you decide what to do.



  • A graduate job is unstructured – so you may well end up doing a huge variety of tasks – some of which you won’t be familiar with.
  • Your salary will usually be less than someone who is on a graduate scheme.
  • With smaller companies typically offering graduate jobs, you won’t get such a well-renowned employer on your CV as you would with a graduate scheme.
  • It is unlikely you will have much opportunity to travel – although for some this might be a benefit.
  • You are very much thrown in the deep end, with little training provided. On-the-job training is expected.
  • With no fixed duration, you could feasibly be fired within six months (or less) of starting, and back to square one.





Hopefully this article has provided you with some clarity on which of these two routes would suit you best. Both are very useful to any individual, and ensure there is something to return to after your University experience has ended. We’ve picked out a few more helpful articles above – do consider reading them, or there is a link below the message from UniEel that sends you to our entire advice section, featuring dozens of articles!



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


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