Graduate recruitment best practice

The Graduate Market in 2014, a study of graduate vacancies at the country’s leading employers, has highlighted that employers are increasing their graduate intake by nearly 10% in 2014. Despite a dip in recent years, firms such as investment banks, law firms and the public sector are likely to see a sharp increment in applicant’s this year; holding both domestic and international qualifications.

Each recruiter has their own requirements, with a 2:1 and ABB frequently being required at bachelor and A levels respectively. This is obviously simple to regulate when an applicant has qualifications awarded within the UK, but how do employers ensure that these benchmarks are consistent across all applicants – how do they guarantee that applicants educated in countries such as Nigeria, India and China are held to a comparable standard?

UK NARIC has seen a sharp increase in communication with graduate employers over the last 12 months. The majority of our conversations have been with HR Managers hoping to ensure that they are providing a consistent message to all applicants; aiming to stand behind UK NARIC information when decisions are questioned by the applicant.

As a result of this the International Grade Comparisons database was developed in 2013. Recruiters have been able to ensure consistency in grade equivalences from over 40 key feeder countries to the UK, with further consultation ensuring that an additional 20 countries will be added to the database in 2014.

The next step has been for recruiters to ask UK NARIC for help in streamlining their application systems; by providing data to support the application procedure recruiters have been able to ensure that applicants were signposted to appropriate jobs and the selection process has been made more efficient in terms of reduced unsuitable applicants.

We’d be interested to hear from any graduate recruiters in the hope of further discussing challenges, such as what has been mentioned above, as we continue to work towards providing information which is relevant and useful to all sectors. Please do get in contact ( should you have any thoughts, suggestions or questions about the above information or UK NARIC as a whole.

Where do you want to go next?

Making sure that employers and education providers understand the value of your qualifications is vitally important.

If you want to take the next step by either studying, looking for a first job or looking to change jobs, it is fundamental to make sure that your qualifications, skills and abilities are valued.

Not all employers, colleges or universities understand the skills and competencies that are associated with qualifications. So whether you hold academic, vocational or professional qualifications from the UK or from overseas we are able to help ensure your qualifications are understood.

Mobility across Europe

Whether you have studied in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, the Europass portfolio can help you stand out from the crowd.

Europass documents are used throughout the UK and Europe and can help employers, universities, colleges and professional bodies understand more about the skills and competencies that are obtained through training and qualifications.

Visit the Europass website to find out more.

Qualifications from overseas

If British HEIs or potential employers have difficulties understanding the level of your qualifications, UK NARIC can help you. UK NARIC can provide a Statement of Comparability to compare your qualifications to the UK’s qualification frameworks. So, if you want to work or study in the UK please visit the UK NARIC website to find out more.

Are Africa and Middle East the new areas of growth for UK?

Latest figures from UK NARIC (2011 vs. 2010) highlight that there has been a reduction in the usage of service related to Southern Asia , while there has been an increase for Africa and the Middle East.

Using data on page views of UK NARIC online databases, enquiries from members and individual assessments, a noticeable drop in numbers from South Asian countries has been identified.  This region has seen a drop in all three areas while Africa and the Middle East have experienced increases.

Other significant changes include a large increase in the proportion of individual assessments from the EU, while the other regions have remained steady.

“These are really interesting statistics,” commented Tim Buttress, Deputy Director, Policy and Communication, “we’re looking to illustrate in more depth how our customers are using our products and we can use this information to see where any changes are occurring.  We’ve seen a small overall reduction in the number of individuals using our service, but that is to be expected with the immigration changes.  On the other hand, our databases are being used more heavily and members are also submitting more enquiries.”

“Southern Asia has traditionally been a central market for us and we still receive a lot of enquiries from this region, but in 2011 we did notice a slight downturn in numbers.  Africa and the Middle East exhibited steady growth across all areas of our service, while on the individual assessment side applications from the EU grew significantly, in fact they are now comparable with the number we receive from Southern Asia.”

If you would like more information about the information included in this blog, please get in touch!


Tim Buttress, March 2012

What has happened to the A8 countries?

In May 2004 the EU expanded to include the A8 countries; the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.  In the subsequent period, there has been a lot of debate about the level of migration from these countries and what value these migrants bring to the UK.

Looking at the number of assessments we have undertaken for applicants from these countries over the past four years highlights some interesting points:

The total number of assessments has remained reasonably constant (3,514 in 2008 and 3,489 in 2011).  Over the past four years Poland has been near the top of our country league table.  In fact, in terms of individual assessments, it was third behind India and Pakistan between 2008 and 2010.  Last year Poland slipped behind Romania, but there were still well over 2000 assessment requests.

As far as the A8 countries are concerned, Poland accounted for nearly 70% of the volume in 2008 and 2009, whilst the proportion has reduced slightly to 60% in the last two years.  Conversely, Hungary, Latvia and Lithuania have witnessed increases in the same period.

Qualification level of migrants

The table below shows the breakdown of the level of Polish qualifications submitted:

Advice for Migrants

Many UK employers and education establishments do have a very good understanding of qualifications from outside the UK; however, we would still advise anybody wishing to come to the UK to work or study to obtain a Statement of Comparability (SoC). This is an officially recognised document that confirms the recognition of overseas academic, vocational and/or professional qualifications and their comparable level in the UK.

All sorts of organisations use UK NARIC assessments as part of their day-to-day work.  Universities, colleges, Blue Chip employers, immigration consultants, careers advisors and professional bodies all use the information and data we provide.  If an individual with qualifications from outside the UK is applying to any of these types of organisation then a SoC could be helpful.

If the diploma is issued in English it still would be beneficial to send it to UK NARIC for assessment; just because it is written in English, it doesn’t mean that it will be understood, or accepted. A SoC can help to demonstrate your qualifications and skills to those who are assessing them.

Of course, the majority of academic documents from overseas are not issued in English.  If you are unable to provide a certified translation of your certificate and your language is one of those offered in our Translation Waiver Service, then we are still able to provide a SoC as we have many linguists working for us; we have  native speakers from the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia. More information about the Translation Waiver Service is available on the UK NARIC website.


Tim Buttress, February 2012

Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Please note that since this article has been published immigration guidance has changed. Please see our post UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Service launches on 6 April which contains more up-to-date information.


Focus on Immigration – Tier 2 and Post Study Work

Want to come to the UK to work?

Well there are a lot of good reasons to come …

It looks good on your CV – working in the UK will give you invaluable experience

Travel opportunities abound – London, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff, Dublin, continental Europe…

Tolerant multi-cultural society – the UK is one of the most tolerant and multi-cultural countries in the world.

Great history and character – Shakespeare, Churchill, Sir Isaac Newton, Brontë sisters, John Lennon, the Beatles, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Royal Family; the list goes on and on and on…

Events and entertainment – the 2012 Olympics, Glastonbury, the Proms, Wimbledon, Premiership football,  the Lake District, the Highlands, the Welsh Valleys, Giant’s Causeway…

So, in short, it will help your career and you’ll have a great time!

If you do want to come to and work in the UK, and you are from outside the EU, you’ll need to apply through the Points Based System for immigration.  The main route for workers is Tier 2, the Skilled Worker route.

Tier 2 – Skilled Worker*

Migrants applying under this tier must have been offered a job in the UK and have a sponsor before an application can be made.

Sponsors are the organisations that are going to employ migrants.  There are particular responsibilities that the sponsor must adhere to and employers wishing to bring individuals in from outside the EU and they must register with UK BA before they can bring migrants to the UK.

In order to be successful in this route the migrant must score a minimum of 70 points.

There are four categories in which a skilled worker can apply for Tier 2;

  1. General – if a migrant has an offer of a skilled job that cannot be filled by a settled worker. This category includes applicant coming to fill shortage occupations.
  2. Intra- Company Transfer – if a migrant is an employee of a multi-national company and are being transferred to a UK based branch of the same organisation, long or short term or frequent short visits
  3. Sportsperson – if a migrant is an elite sportsperson or coach.
  4. Ministers of Religion – if a migrant is a Minster of Religion undertaking preaching and pastoral work, Missionary or Member of a Religious order, taking up employment or a post/role within your faith community in the UK.

In addition there are points awarded for the migrant’s proficiency in English and their ability to support themselves and their dependents.

English Language (10 points)

Migrants can claim 10 points if they are from a majority English language speaking country; or they have achieved the appropriate grade in an approved English Language Test; or they have an English Language Assessment from UK NARIC.

If these criteria are not met then no points can be awarded.

Maintenance Funds (10 points)

You will score 10 points if you have £800 available in your bank account.  If there are insufficient funds no points can be awarded.

General (50 points)*

A limit of 20,700 visas per year is available through this route, with a set amount available each month.  So far this year the month limit has not been reached.

In order to be successful in a route a migrant must score 50 for Attributes, 10 points for English language and 10 points for having the necessary maintenance funds.

Attributes (50 points)

This section comprises two parts;

1.     Meeting one of the following criteria (30 points)

  • Shortage occupation (as defined by the Migration Advisory Committee)
  • Job offer with a salary of £150,000 or more
  • Completion of a resident labour market test by the Sponsor
  • Post Study Work
  • Extension – Continuing to work in same job for the same Sponsor

2.     Earning an appropriate salary, in the region of £20,000 a year (20 points).

If however a migrant is applying under the following routes, additional points will be awarded.

Minister of religion (50 points)*

Migrants can claim 50 points for their Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) in this category.   They must provide an official, signed letter from the sponsor with the application.  This letter must give an outline of duties, details of remuneration and an explanation of how the role passes the resident labour market test.

Migrants will also need to pass the English language and maintenance criteria.

Sportsperson (50 points)*

There are 50 points available through this route.  They are all awarded for a CoS, but it must be accompanied by an endorsement from the appropriate governing body for the sport and confirm that the individual is internationally established and that they will make a significant contribution to the development of the sport at the highest level in the UK.

English language and maintenance requirement must also be met.

Intra company transfer (50 points)*

Once again there are 50 points available to a migrant through this route; 30 points for a CoS and 20 points for appropriate salary (Between £40,000 and £24,000 pa).

In addition, those using this route will need to meet the necessary criteria for English language and maintenance.

Shortage Occupations and the Migration Advisory Committee*

Under Tier 2 (General) migrants can claim 30 points if the job is on the Shortage Occupation List.  If an occupation is on this list, it means there are not enough resident workers to fill the available jobs in that particular occupation. If a migrant comes to the UK to do skilled work that is on the shortage occupation list, they will get all the points they need to apply (except the points for English language and maintenance).

The Shortage Occupation List is compiled by the Migration Advisory Committee which made up by independent economists and it advises the government on migration issues.

Post Study Work*

From April 2012 the Post Study Work visa route through Tier 1 will close.  This route was available to those who had studied at a UK university or college and were looking for work in the UK.

The new scheme will be managed through Tier 2.  It is going to be very similar to the Tier 2 (General) route outlined above, but the main difference is that the employer (Sponsor) will not have to pass the resident labour market test.  This will make It easier for the newly graduated student and the Sponsor.

Make sure you check the UK BA website to ensure that you are up-to-date with the latest developments for Post Study Work

Other Routes*

The other routes for those wishing to work in the UK are Tiers 1 and 5; we will be covering these in future blogs.

Tim Buttress, December 2011


*Please check the Home Office website to ensure that you have the most up-to-date information.