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Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs)

A common misconception amongst students is that a ‘graduate job’ is a job on a graduate scheme. This is possibly because graduate schemes get the most coverage through graduate recruitment fairs, careers publications and employer presentations.

In actual fact, a graduate job is any job which requires you to have a degree level qualification in order to carry it out effectively. It needn’t be part of a graduate scheme. This widens out the job graduate market for new graduates to small-to-medium-sized organisations (SMEs), many of which won’t run graduate schemes but will have graduate positions available.

An SME is defined by The European Commission (EC) as an organisation that employs fewer than 250 staff and has a turnover of less than 50 million Euros. According to a HECSU report in 2010 in the UK there are an estimated 4.8 million SMEs, employing 23.1 million people and together accounting for 99.9% of all enterprises so you would do well to tap into them in your job hunt.

What can an SME offer me?
Working for an SME can offer a range of benefits potentially including:

  • vacancies arising all the year round, usually with start dates fairly soon after selection
  • early responsibility and use of individual initiative with more scope for contributing your own ideas and seeing their implementation and impact
  • the chance to become involved in a wide range of different projects, useful in helping you decide where your strengths and interests lie

Read The Careers Group Guide to working for an SME to find out more about the rewards of working with in these organisations and how to access the SME job market.

Page last modified on 09 nov 13 11:59 by David Carter

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