According to figures from the Higher Educations Statistics Agency, 70% of graduates in 2014 achieved either a first or a 2:1. And because the default classification for many graduate programmes is a 2:1, the moment you find out that you haven’t met that criteria can be heart shattering.
But Donna Miller, the European and UK HR director of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, said that it needn’t be the end of the world, and you should definitely not see it as the end of your career aspirations.
The global car hire business is recruiting 1,400 graduate management trainees out of 30,000 applicants. Although the firm has stressed that getting on the scheme is tough, the firm does not take the degree classification into consideration in the selection process.
Donna Miller said: “Someone with a lower degree grade could have a lot of skills that are useful in the workplace,”
“It could be they’ve had to work full-time to fund their studies or had family or caring responsibilities or have just been really active doing valuable extracurricular things on campus. Often this sort of candidate is going to be a lot more interesting than someone who has got a first but has rarely set foot outside the library.”
The London School of Economics posted 11 tips on the subject, including a point of looking elsewhere for jobs. Smaller companies tend to not list a grade of degree, and could offer a wider range of experience and responsibility at a quicker pace.
When searching for jobs, graduates should take notice of how job posts are written.
Graduate, undergraduate and apprentice recruitment manager at Jaguar Land Rover, Rob Gill said: “If a job advertisement clearly says candidates need to have a 2:1 and you have not got it, then you do have to think hard about whether it is worth applying. But it is worth reading the wording closely to see whether there is any flexibility. Does it say ‘ideally’ a 2:1, for example? In that scenario it may well still be worth applying.”