employment 4 students - The UK's most visited student jobsite


More Graduate Recruiters Accepting Lower Grades

21 Oct 2019

More Graduate Recruiters Accepting Lower Grades

The number of graduate recruiters willing to accept lower grades is growing, according to new figures from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE).

The ISE figures, in their annual Inside Student Recruitment report for 2019, show that more than 1 in 5 graduate recruiters (22 per cent) are now setting no minimum entry requirements for their jobs.

That represents a tripling of the number of employers not demanding certain grades since 2014 when just 7 per cent, or fewer than 1 in 10, were so lenient in their requirements for graduate applicants.

The ISE says that the relaxation in grade requirements is being fuelled by graduate employers looking to improve social mobility by recruiting students from across a range of more diverse backgrounds.

Over a third of graduate recruiters now remove applicants’ names and the universities at which they are studying at from applications before they are processed; a technique of ‘blind recruitment’ designed to bring further diversity into the workplace.

Even amongst those employers still stipulating minimum entry level grades, the numbers are dwindling. Five years ago, over three quarters (76 per cent) of employers were looking for applicants with at least a 2:1 degree. That figure is down to just over half of employers (56 per cent) in the 2019 report.

Likewise, employers seem to be getting more relaxed about A Level grades, too, with only 16 per cent of graduate recruiters now demanding minimum A level grades or UCAS points, down from 40 per cent in 2014.

The actual subject studied at university also seems to be becoming less relevant to graduate employers, with almost 9 in 10 recruiters not stating that applicants must have a degree in a certain subject for their 2019 intake.

Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive of ISE said: “Over the last five years, we’ve seen the beginnings of a major shift in employers using grades to determine the best people for their organisations. Academic criteria are a crude measure of potential. Companies are becoming more sophisticated in how they use data and they have more tools to predict success.”

“It’s important not to overstate this trend though. With more than half of employers still using 2:1s as an entry requirement, qualifications remain important. But there are concerns that relying on grades alone raises diversity issues as well as a sense that they may be too broad a brush to successfully identify the people that employers are actually looking for,” added Mr Isherwood.

Other findings in ISE’s 2019 report show that the average starting salary for a graduate is now £29,000, up by £750 on last year. There are also ten per cent more graduate vacancies on offer than there were a year ago.

Whatever your background, and whatever grades you are expecting to achieve at university, we want to help ease you in to a suitable graduate career in your chosen field. Take a look at the latest vacancies in our graduate jobs section now.

Find your perfect job now!

Register now to let employers find you and be notified about the latest relevant jobs