We asked the top 50 graduate employers if they’re still hiring

Looks like the management consulting dream is still alive, baby

If you’re about to graduate and are trying to bag a job, the stories and headlines paint a grim picture. Stuff like: “Graduates face the grim prospect of fewer offers and lower salaries”. Scary.

About four in ten employers are planning to slightly or significantly reduce their grad intake because of coronavirus, according to research by High Fliers.

But when we contacted the top 50 graduate employers in the country – according to The Times – there was a slightly different picture. Of the 29 that replied, only seven admitted to any kind of reduction or delay in their grad schemes.

Civil Service: “We are anticipating a similar number to last year”

The Civil Service faststream is one of the hardest grad jobs to get into – if you’ve got an Oxbridge degree and dreams of being a diplomat, this is for you.

A spokesperson from the Civil service told The Tab: “Yes, we plan to open our application window, as usual, in the Autumn. We are anticipating a similar number to last year, at around 1,000 vacancies.”

PwC: “We had already recruited 90 per cent of our annual graduate intake”

Accounting, auditing, and consulting giant PwC said they’re still recruiting, and keep numbers steady even in catastrophes. Everyone needs consultants in a recession, of course.

A spokesperson from PWC told The Tab: “When Covid-19 hit we had already recruited 90% of our annual graduate intake. 10% of this year’s total was remaining and we’re recruiting for those audit positions now. In terms of next year, we don’t have an exact number yet but the numbers don’t tend to fluctuate much year on year, even for black swan events.

“Clearly Covid-19 is unprecedented but it’s too early to say if it’ll have an influence on our volume of student hires in 2021 – we think there is still time for the markets to rally before we commit to final 2021 numbers. Regardless, our student recruitment strategy is about building a pipeline of talent for the future so it remains extremely important to us.”

Aldi: “We are recruiting as normal”

Aldi, the grad scheme famed for its high salaries and company cars, insisted it’s business as usual.

A spokesperson from Aldi told The Tab: “We are still recruiting for our graduate scheme as normal and are accepting applications across the UK. Anyone who is looking for a role where they can make a difference can find details on our recruitment website.

KPMG: “We are not commenting on intake numbers at this stage”

Audit and tax firm KPMG were coy when asked about their graduate recruitment plans, refusing to outright say what their numbers would be, but saying any expected changes weren’t significant.

A spokesperson from KPMG told The Tab: “We have seen some changes according to business need in areas which had open vacancies, however overall this has not been significant. We expect the vast majority of our graduate offer holders to join as planned. We are not commenting on intake numbers at this stage.”

Deloitte: “No decision has been made on the graduate intake this year”

Professional services firm Deloitte said it was still waiting to make a decision on graduate intake.

A spokesperson from Deloitte told The Tab: “We are closely monitoring and managing the COVID-19 situation and continue to stay focused on supporting our people and clients and maintaining our economic resilience. However, no decision has been made on the graduates or apprentices intake this year.”

Teach First: “We’re going ahead with our 2020 Training Programme”

A spokesperson from Teach First told The Tab: “We know brilliant teachers working in disadvantaged communities will be at the heart of the country’s recovery. So we’re pleased to say that we’re going ahead with our 2020 Training Programme.”

Since that statement, Teachfirst announced 120 people it had offered jobs to have been told they won’t be getting placed in schools.

BBC: “There will be a delay to the start of some of our 2020/21 programmes”

Students applying to the BBC’s graduate trainee scheme were met with an email at the end of may informing them that applications are on hold, but still open, as the corporation plans for the months ahead.

A spokesperson from the BBC told The Tab: “The BBC is doing everything we can to support all our apprentices and trainees during this time and there are support structures in place to ensure we do this effectively, including extending some of our schemes that were due to end this summer to give people longer to find their next role.

“While the majority of BBC staff are still working remotely, it’s inevitable there will be a delay to the start of some of our 2020/21 programmes until we are able to provide full support to new recruits, and our plans remain under review.”

JP Morgan: No comment

In an encouraging sign, megabank JP Morgan would not publicly comment about their graduate intake numbers for this year.

HSBC: “There will be some delay in the start of our graduate programmes”

Good news for anyone starting at HSBC – all offers will be honoured, but with some slight delays to start dates

HSBC UK told The Tab: “HSBC UK had filled all of its graduate and intern positions before the Covid-19 situation developed and will be honouring these offers. In light of the current challenges, we expect there will be some delay in the start of our intern and graduate programmes, and are working with participants to arrange suitable start dates and programme structures.”

Goldman Sachs: “There are no changes to numbers as a result of COVID-19”

Another megabank, Goldman Sachs, said there was no change to the amount of (soon-to-be-very-minted) grads it’s recruiting this year.

Goldman Sachs told The Tab: “We are continuing with our graduate intake this summer and there are no changes to numbers as a result of COVID-19. We are working globally on the programming, and remain committed to our graduates.”

Barclays: “We have not reduced our graduate intake for 2020”

A spokesperson from Barclays told The Tab: “ We will still be holding our usual graduate programmes. Should any changes or adjustments need to be made as a result of Covid19 then candidates will be informed ahead of time. We have not reduced our graduate intake for 2020. We are looking at all our graduate programmes and exploring any changes that may need to be implemented in light of Covid19. Should any adjustments need to be made then candidates will be informed ahead of time.”

Amazon: “Graduate recruiting plans are not affected”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos managed to increase his fortune by $23 billion in early 2020. In a sure sign that trickle-down economics absolutely works, Amazon is still taking on grads.

Amazon told The Tab: “Graduate recruiting plans are not affected, we are honouring all summer intern places.”

Newton: “Slight increase to last year’s graduate intake”

Bucking the trend of Miss Rona taking everyone’s jobs, Newton – who specialise in “operational improvement” – said: “We are recruiting this year and will likely be looking for a similar number to last year, probably a slight increase”

McKinsey: “We are continuing to hire graduates”

I don’t know if Pete Buttigieg is a bit of a 2019 reference, but if you look at the former Democratic presidential candidate, you’ll understand consulting firm McKinsey.

McKinsey told The Tab: “We continue to hire and don’t foresee major changes to our hiring approach, including continuing to hire graduates and experienced professionals. We have honoured all the extended offers we made, including for our graduate hires and our summer interns.”

BP: “The graduate schemes continue as planned”

Business as usual for BP, apparently. A spokesperson told The Tab: “The graduate schemes continue as planned, but with the need to work from home, if possible, whilst government guidelines remain in place.”

Lidl: “Our plans have not changed”

Not to be outdone by Aldi, Lidl told The Tab: “We can confirm that our plans to take on Graduates have not changed”

RBS: “No changes to student intake and numbers”

If you’ve bagged a job at RBS, everything seems to be going ahead smoothly.

“No changes to student intake and numbers,” RBS told The Tab. “They are set to join in September as per previous agreements. The only changes we are intending to make at present is by doing virtual inductions. The precise content of the induction programme is still being worked through.”

Clifford Chance: “We have made all graduate and training contract offers for 2021”

While the rest of the country relitigates World War II on Twitter, some bright young things are ready to get stuck into some actual litigation. And as law firms put people through law school, Miss Rona hasn’t disrupted things too much for Clifford Chance.

“As with many law firms, we recruit trainees a few years in advance and will continue to identify the most talented individuals who will play an integral role in the long-term success of the firm,” a spokesperson told us.

“We have made all graduate and training contract offers for 2021, the majority of offers for 2022 trainee cohorts, and some offers for subsequent years (via the SPARK scheme). These are all due to be honoured.Due to the way we recruit in the law our incoming trainees for 2021 will already be studying towards the GDL/LPC and will continue to do so.”

Shell: “Our 2020 graduate programme is going ahead and all offers have been honoured”

The oil and gas company told The Tab: “Our 2020 graduate programme is going ahead and all offers have been honoured.”

Defence: “There has been no reduction in the numbers of opportunities available”

An MOD spokesperson told The Tab: “Defence offers a great career to graduates with fantastic opportunities across the Armed Forces and the Civil Service and there has been no reduction in the numbers of opportunities available as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Procter & Gamble: “We cannot afford to stop recruiting top graduate talent through our graduate roles”

P&G, the multinational consumer goods corporation who make about half of the things in supermarkets, told The Tab: “We cannot afford to stop recruiting top graduate talent through our graduate roles and internship schemes. All of our graduate and internship roles open in September as usual – students can set up alerts for when they are released here: pgcareers.com/stay-informed.”

Boston Consulting Group: “BCG is upholding all new hire offers”

A spokesperson from the management consulting firm told The Tab: “In the UK, BCG is upholding all new hire offers including those we have offered for the graduate programme. We will be continuing to recruit graduates for future intakes. We have staggered some start dates for new hires—with the majority delayed only briefly.”

Think Ahead: “Our programme is going ahead as planned”

Think Ahead, the social work grad scheme, said all of their 100 grads would be starting as normal.

A spokesperson from Think Ahead told The Tab: “Our programme is going ahead as planned, we’re taking around 100 graduates in this year’s intake, they will begin in July. We are working with our academic partner and host organisations (the NHS Trusts & Local Authorities who our participants do their on-the-job training with) to make necessary adjustments to the programme, including taking our teaching days online for the time being.”

BAE Systems: “We may have to reduce our numbers”

Bad news for BAE Systems – the arms company told The Tab it’d probably have to cut the amount of grads it recruits this year.

“We are still taking multiple intakes throughout the year but we may have to reduce our numbers,” a spokesperson said.

AstraZeneca: “We haven’t reduced our graduate intake”

A spokesperson from the multinational pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical company (say that with a mouthful of multivitamins) told The Tab: “We’re on target to hire into our Graduate Programmes as planned for 2020. We have 8 Graduate Programmes covering a range of business functions, most of which hire into the UK.

“We haven’t reduced our graduate intake. Midway through our recruitment process we switched to running virtual assessment centres, and adapted assessment processes to make best use of the latest digital technology.”

Police Now: “We aren’t cancelling any programmes”

Firmly resisting pressure to abolish the police, Police Now told The Tab: “We aren’t cancelling our programmes.”

Tesco: “The graduate scheme will operate as normal”

A spokesperson from the supermarket chain told The Tab: “the graduate scheme will operate as normal. We are still taking on graduates and will have graduates and apprentices joining us this year as planned in the Autumn. We will be recruiting in September for graduates and apprentices to join us in 2021.

Unlocked: “We expect to recruit a similar number or grow”

The graduate scheme for prison officers told The Tab: “We’re definitely still taking on graduates. Over 100 we recruited last year will be starting their training in a few weeks and we’re already planning our recruitment for next year. We don’t know what exact numbers will be yet but expect to recruit a similar number or grow. In terms of how we’re adapting: it’s affecting lots of what we do but, as key workers and frontline prison officers, our recruits are almost all still going into work every day.”

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