A 2:2 is a worthless degree June 11, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Finance & IT, Selection Process , 5comments
So the results are in. How did you do? Did you get that 1st class degree everyone hopes for? Or do you feel there are no options now you failed to grasp that 2:1? You are not alone. Around 30% of graduates leave with a 2:2 degree and the good news is that there are still lots of options open to you – your degree still has great value. The notion that a 2:2 is worthless is yet another myth.
As careers consultants we often see graduates with a 2:2 suddenly start to talk about doing a masters course. Typically there are three reasons for doing a masters: a) desire to specialise and increase employability; b) passion to learn more about the subject and c) compensate for poorer grades achieved to date. Unfortunately the third reason doesn’t usually work. Many graduate recruiters don’t differentiate between a masters and an undergraduate degree – although some (e.g. ExonMobil) will take a 2:2 plus a relevant postgraduate qualification. If you want to do a masters then make sure your motivation is right.
So before you get depressed and hit the ice-cream, there is more than a glimmer of hope.
OK so many of the Graduate Schemes are closed to you because they require a 2:1 or above. But there are some schemes out there that are open to 2:2: degrees. Some examples that might help you get started:
- Barclays Retail
- PWC Inspired Talent
- GIST Logistics
- Mitchells & Butlers
- Civil Service Fast Stream
- London Treasurer’s Graduate Scheme
- NHS Management
- Scottish Power
- Jaguar Landrover
So from that (non-exhaustive) list you can see the diversity of schemes available – from Government to manufacturing, professional services to retail. Trawling through the internet should help find many others. Bear in mind that within the same company there may be different entry requirements depending on the role – e.g. IT. In many cases the 2:1 requirement isn’t necessarily about the ability to do the job, but a means of reducing the volume of applications.
It’s easy to get distracted by graduate schemes. These corporations often have large budgets to market their career opportunities to students. But typically only about 10% of graduates go into a graduate scheme. That’s all, just 10%. Maybe about 35% will do further study, leaving 55% of graduates doing something else.
“It’s tough out there. There aren’t any jobs.” The media keeps broadcasting a message of doom and gloom about the job market which isn’t very helpful. The graduate job market is generally always challenging and competition is usually strong. When thinking about your next steps there are several factors to consider.
- If you wanted a specific graduate scheme, why was that? Was it because of the company (if so, search entry level positions in same firm), the role (find alternative employers with similar roles) or location (refine your job search geographically but broaden criteria).
- What can you do in the short term to position yourself better in the future? For example, aspiring accountant and Royal Holloway graduate is building on his 2:2 by putting himself through the ICAEW Certificate because it shares the same modules as the ACA.
- Can I do it myself? Many current entrepreneurs have started their businesses with very little money, just a positive attitude and some basic business skills.
A 2:2 is not the end of the world. Alumni from across the University of London have done very well in life despite their 2:2 degrees. It may seem like it’s a barrier but, by thinking differently, it shouldn’t be a major disadvantage. When I last published a version of this post, this lovely comment was left:
As someone who got a 2:2 I thought that was it in terms of any ideas about continuing to study.
I had no idea there were graduate schemes to go on. Thank you
Similarly, whilst graduate schemes will generally be closed to those with degree levels lower than 2:2, it doesn’t mean that the company is. You may just need to work your way up from a lower level. But it’s still very achievable. You need to play to your strengths to compensate for your lower level degree.
Graduates can continue to get careers support from their colleges in the University of London Careers Group by joining Gradclub.
This is an updated version of this previous post.