The New Generation of Golden Graduates
The New Generation of Golden Graduates
According to the most recent statistics revealed by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), companies will receive an average of 83 CVs per graduate vacancy. This number is the highest ever recorded and has more than doubled over the past three years. Graduate schemes have become an increasingly popular route into work for those in their final year of university. Traditionally this type of & lsquo;work experience’ scheme had a reputation of lots of work for very little reward, however as more and more top companies fight it out to secure the best new talent, graduate schemes now feature an entire package of benefits to lure in the best of the next generation of employees.
Investment specialists, Aberdeen Asset Management, which runs a graduate rotational scheme giving candidates the chance to experience different areas of the business, has received more applications for next year’s graduate scheme than in any previous year. The company confirmed that the 2012 graduate scheme received 634 applicants, which is nearly a 38% increase on last year.
The financial benefits offered by graduate schemes within large, international companies can be higher than some staff positions, with graduate salaries starting at £20,000 and in some cases over £30,000. Many also offer substantial holiday allowances, lunch allowances, interest free loans and very generous bonus schemes.
For Gavin Anderson, a graduate currently on the Aberdeen Asset Management graduate scheme, the opportunity to gain experience and work in a number of different areas was highly appealing. Gavin explains: “I was sourced by Aberdeen after completing six week internship programme in Edinburgh. The programme has been extremely beneficial to me as it operates a rotational scheme so I am given the opportunity to gain hands on experience in different departments within the company. Since joining Aberdeen as a Graduate Business Analyst in September 2010 I have completed rotations with Business Risk in Edinburgh, Distribution Division Management and Global Financial Institutions in London and I am currently with the US Compliance Team in Philadelphia. My next rotation will take me back to London and the Private Equity Desk with my end goal being to work in either Direct Property or Private Equity. This type of experience has not only benefited my career, but on a personal level I have had the chance to live in different places and immerse myself in new cultures.
“Within the scheme I am working through a tailored training programme which is geared towards my own personal development and I have completed various courses focusing on business and new manager skills. I’ve also attended a number of 'Lunch & Learn' presentations, where an experienced member of the business presents their specialist area, including Global Equities, Property, Marketing or Legal. This has given me exposure to different parts of the business, which has been extremely helpful in identifying the areas of the business I’m most interested in and ultimately, where I’d like to work at the end of the scheme.
“Aberdeen also supports me through my professional studies, to date I have completed the Investment Management Certificate (IMC) and I am now studying for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualification. These courses have given me a well rounded understanding of the business and the regulatory framework in which it operates. Study leave time is provided by the company and this has been exceptionally valuable in the completion of coursework and exams. The structure of support around the scheme ensures you have the scope to complete all elements to the best of your abilities.”
The benefits of graduate schemes do not stop with the graduate themselves. Graduates have become the lifeblood of many organisations as they can bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm, with the potential of becoming the next generation management team. Kerry Christie, Global Head of HR at Aberdeen Asset Management said “We have created more positions in recent years as well as streamlining the scheme so that graduates can choose which area of the business to specialise in. Graduates are vital to our business as they bring a fresh perspective and our rotational program means that they can learn about various parts of the business and find the niche that suits their own skill set.”
The recruitment process for graduate schemes can sometimes be grueling. Most prospective graduates are expected to go through endless interviews, exams and project work to prove their worth before they are considered suitable for the position. Once through the door, graduates are expected to continuously prove their dedication, often facing long hours and extremely hard work to stay on top.
However, for many career hungry graduates the benefits far outweigh the negatives and most are willing to fight to secure their place at the top of their career ladder. On completion, graduates are often rewarded with a well earned place within an established organisation which could possibly set them up for life.
Gavin concludes, “The graduate scheme route is definitely of benefit to people who have the drive and ambition to work in a specific industry, as it provides the navigation and support to see you succeed in your goal. The Aberdeen scheme benefits me both professionally and personally, it enhances the skills and knowledge I gained from my studies and internship whilst giving me the opportunity to apply these within the working environment. Without this scheme I believe it would have taken me a long time to gain the experience I have to date and access the career progression opportunities available to me.”