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Durham University

Careers & Enterprise Centre

Opportunities with a 2.2, 3rd or pass degree

Many organisations do stipulate a 2.1 as part of their graduate scheme entry requirements, but not all. In fact there is an increasing number of graduate training programmes open to graduates with a 2.2 degree or lower.

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a high profile example of a 2.2 graduate scheme and the professional services firm, EY, accept applications from all regardless of grade, but opportunities exist across all sectors. Your options will be increased if you expand your search, and think beyond the most familiar graduate recruiters, there are some excellent opportunities to be found.

It is also worth noting that graduate schemes, primarily with large, blue-chip organisations, constitute only 20% of the graduate job market. The wider graduate job market consists of graduate trainee posts, entry level roles and graduate internships. which provide marketable insights and experience, often with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

In this context academic performance is important, but there is not necessarily the same rigidity in respect of entry requirements. The most widely cited consideration among graduate recruiters when selecting recruits, is that candidates can demonstrate the attitudes and aptitudes that will enable them to be effective in the workplace (CBI Education and Skills Survey 2019). Irrespective of the type of opportunity that you are applying for, all employers will expect graduates to present a well-rounded profile, demonstrating a high level of employability through work experience and extra-curricular activities, as well as academic performance.

Some employers who state a 2.1 requirement may still be willing to consider your application if your results have been affected by mitigating circumstances.

For more information and examples of employers, please see the following links:

Small and Medium Employers (SMEs) - Information on what they are, what they look for in potential employees and how to find vacancies.

'How to job hunt if you get a 2.2 when you graduate' (TargetJobs)- Overview of graduate job search strategies and recruiters that do not stipulate 2.1 requirement in the following sectors: Big 4 accountancy firms; Engineering; Construction; Property; Public Sector; Retail; Hospitality, leisure and travel.