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

Human resources (HR) jobs at leading graduate employers attract plenty of interest in terms of the volume of applications. However, don't let this competition put you off, as you'll find there's 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).

Which companies run HR graduate schemes?

Organisations in every sector have a need for HR professionals. Whether you're looking to work for a leading financial services company (for instance, KPMG or PwC) or forge a career in healthcare with the National Health Service (NHS) or pharmaceutical company GSK, there are various human resources graduate schemes to consider.

Here are some more examples:

  • Construction - the human resources strand of the two-year Balfour Beatty Business Graduate Scheme enables graduates to study for CIPD qualifications while they receive formal development training from this leading British construction services firm.
  • Energy - the human resources strand of BP's Business Graduate Programme also allows graduates to achieve CIPD qualifications while rotating across placements during three years of training.
  • Hospitality - the two-year Mitchells and Butlers HR Graduate Scheme will train you in disciplines such as recruitment, L&D and employee relations, as you embark upon three-month projects. Again, by studying for a CIPD qualification, this provides you with the platform to progress your professional HR career.
  • Public services and administration - the Civil Service Fast Stream in Human Resources gives 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 programme, you'll have completed a CIPD-accredited professional qualification at Level 7.
  • Retail - on the two-year Boots HR Graduate Scheme you'll get to take on a store role alongside a regional HR partner before moving to the support office and specialising in areas such as reward, recruitment, learning and development, or employee relations.
  • Transport and logistics - Rolls Royce has a training and development programme that offers a route to CIPD membership. The two-year Royal Mail Group Human Resources Graduate Programme is designed for ambitious graduates with commercial acumen and strong interpersonal skills.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in some schemes being put on hold so you will need to check what individual employers are offering.

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 there's also the possibility of studying towards relevant CIPD or Chartered Management Institute (CMI) qualifications.

How do I get onto an HR graduate scheme?

To be eligible to apply for human resources graduate programmes, you'll typically require at least a 2:1. However, some ask for a 2:2 or take work experience or postgraduate qualifications into consideration. The degree can usually be in any subject.

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

Before you get a place on one of these two or three-year HR graduate programmes, you'll almost certainly have to navigate a lengthy application process, which involves assessment centres and psychometric testing.

This is because recruiters will typically be investing their money in graduates with the potential to thrive in a pressurised situation - often providing financial support while new recruits study with professional bodies such as the CIPD. See HR courses for more information on the range of qualifications available.

What will I do on an HR graduate scheme?

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.

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.

How much will I be paid?

To give you an idea of how much you could be earning, here's a list of current salaries offered by leading employers running dedicated HR graduate programmes in 2020/21:

  • Civil Service Fast Stream - £28,000.
  • DHL - £27,000, plus benefits package.
  • Mitchells and Butlers - £27,500.
  • Royal Mail Group - £27,000, plus location pay, annual bonus and other benefits.

 You can also view the human resources officer job profile for further salary information and to explore what this specific role usually entails.

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page