Many large organisations run HR graduate schemes to develop employees who can get the best out of their greatest asset - the workforce

Competition for human resources (HR) jobs is high but with the potential to work in almost any industry and even specialise in a particular area of HR, such as recruitment or learning and development (L&D) it's a great industry to work in.

Which companies run HR graduate schemes?

Organisations in every sector need HR professionals from financial services to healthcare, pharmaceuticals and construction there are various human resources graduate schemes to consider. Some examples include:

  • Balfour Beatty - The human resources strand of the two-year business graduate scheme enables graduates to study towards relevant professional qualifications while receiving formal on the job training.
  • BP - On their business graduate programme you'll split your time between two new roles over the three-year programme.
  • Civil Service - Giving graduates with at least a 2:2 in any degree subject the opportunity to work within both strategic and operational HR environments. On completion of the three-year Fast Stream in human resources, you'll have completed a CIPD-accredited professional qualification at Level 7.
  • Mitchells & Butlers - The two-year HR graduate scheme will train you in disciplines such as recruitment, L&D and employee relations, as you embark upon three-month projects.

What do HR graduate schemes involve?

Many graduate schemes involve rotational placements between different areas of HR, such as employee relations, learning and development, performance management and recruitment and resourcing, as well as travel across different office locations in the UK or overseas.

For example, the HR scheme at Mitchells & Butlers involves placements, development workshops and teaching of technical skills. You'll also need to complete a pub or restaurant placement so you can see how things work.

On some schemes the main focus will be general business and HR will be one rotation of a wider placement. For example, the Balfour Beatty graduate scheme will see you work in bid management, business management, finance and human resources.

It's worth checking the precise details of the scheme you're considering applying for thoroughly, as what you'll be doing and where you'll be located can vary. Alternatively, browse different types of human resources jobs.

What are the entry requirements?

To be eligible to apply for a human resources graduate programme, you'll typically require a 2:1 degree in any subject. Some companies will accept a 2:2 and others will take previous work experience and postgraduate qualifications into consideration.

You'll also be expected to be flexible regarding where in the UK you're willing (and able) to travel in order to carry out the role.

How do I apply?

You'll need to fill out an online application form and complete any numerical or psychometric tests set by the recruiter. If successful at this stage you may have to take part in an assessment centre before moving on to a face-to-face interview with the employer.

It's important to tailor your CV to the HR role and organisation that you're applying to as employers can spot poorly thought out generic CVs a mile away. Find out more about applying for jobs.

Some HR graduate programmes recruit all year round, while others have set application deadlines so make sure you get your application in early.

How much will I be paid?

On average those on HR graduate schemes will receive a £27,000 salary, which can be enhanced with benefits packages, bonuses and location pay.

At Mitchells & Butlers you'll receive £27,500, a company car and opportunities for flexible working. The Civil Services Human Resources Fast Stream pays £28,000 but this increases throughout the scheme (dependent on your capabilities) and successful completion can lead to salaries between £45,000 and £55,000.

Take a look at the human resources officer job profile for further salary information and to explore what this specific role usually entails.

Will I get a job at the end?

While an offer of employment isn't guaranteed many companies use graduate schemes as a way of assessing employees before offering them a permanent job upon successful completion of the scheme. It's important to check with the individual company as to what happens at the end of their particular scheme.

What about recruitment graduate schemes?

Some recruitment consultancies also run training programmes for graduates or encourage newly-qualified graduates with the right personality traits to apply for roles with the agency.

For example, if you're eager to succeed within a high-energy environment, the REED Graduate Training Scheme develops talented graduates into leaders and senior managers, while allowing them to study towards relevant CIPD or Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualifications.

Find out more

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