Graduate role vs graduate scheme: the pros and cons

14th December 2018

FMCG is an industry that is increasingly popular with graduates. It offers the opportunity for fast career progression and the chance to maximise your talents. But if you are going make the move into the industry you face a choice between a graduate scheme or a graduate role. Here we take a look at the pros and cons or each option.

The pros of graduate schemes

Graduate schemes typically have a higher initial salary than standard graduate roles. They are also usually more structured and designed to develop the skills of a graduate in the work environment which appeals to many graduates, especially if they are used to the kind of framework set down by university.

The pros of graduate roles

On the other hand, graduate roles allow individuals to progress naturally as there are fewer hierarchical barriers. Additionally, unlike a scheme, the salary in a graduate role is not locked in for a period. This means that while the salary may be lower when you start, there are greater opportunities to increase your ways through your performance.

There may be more access to mentors with FMCG experience and there is less in the way of competition for promotion and career growth than compared with graduate schemes. Graduates can gain responsibility earlier on than in a scheme, and get a more varied exposure to the FMCG industry.

The cons of graduate schemes

One of the major disadvantages in a graduate scheme is that you will typically have a salary that stays the same throughout the duration of the scheme. While at the start of the scheme this is relatively high compared to what you might receive in a graduate role, by the end of the scheme you may be earning significantly lower than the wage that your skillset would demand.

And as graduate schemes typically work within businesses with hierarchical layers, there may be less access to learn from more experienced people in the company. Typically, you may find that there is more internal competition within graduate schemes due to the number of graduates taken on. And due to standard 6 month rotations, you may have to wait the full 24 months to start in the channel that you want to progress in.

The cons of graduate roles

Graduate roles have disadvantages too. As we have discussed, you are usually going to have to accept a lower initial salary in this sort of role. There is also typically less structure than you would find on a scheme – some graduates may find it more difficult to transition from education to this sort of job.

Overall, then it is clear that there are pros and cons to both graduate roles and schemes, and the one that is right for you may depend on your circumstances and goals. There are some further points that it is worth considering. For example, roles will naturally have much faster response rates than schemes.

Applying for a graduate scheme is often a long drawn out process and you have to wait around for a long time before you may be accepted onto the scheme. Applying for a graduate role is much faster, and you are much more likely to get a response within a short time frame.

It may be worth looking into your friends and family for those that have entered into graduate schemes and graduate roles. Find out from them how they found the whole thing, and whether they think it may be suitable for you.

If you would like to speak to experts in FMCG graduate positions, the team at Lime Talent would be happy to offer advice and guidance. Contact us today on 0207 042 3800 to learn more.