Drawn from the best perks offered by the companies in its “Top 100 Undergraduate Employers” list, RateMyPlacement created the ultimate dream job description.
“You will spend your year in an exciting, supportive environment in which your progress is guided by both your line manager and an appointed buddy, who will act as your confidante and friend throughout the placement,” it said. “The work will always be stimulating and you’ll be given space and time to grow and to learn.
“You will be given access to a range of sumptuous perks including theatre vouchers, ice-cream at your desk, lunchtime yoga sessions and Friday fancy dress parties at the complimentary company bar. You may even represent your company at cricket or netball.”
It concluded: “Your year will end with either the offer of a job or an unbeatable reference in your back pocket and a portfolio of experience to entice and delight potential employers. You will look back and think of your placement or internship as one of the very best experiences of your life.”
The description comes just weeks after it was revealed that more than 50 per cent of UK graduates are currently employed in non-graduate jobs – one of the worst rates in Europe. And it came hand in hand with a table, which ranked organisations that had provided 15 or more students a year with placements, internships, vacation schemes and insights.
At the top of the list is Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which allegedly finally gained the coveted number one spot after several years of steady progress up the chart. The bank received reviews averaging over 9.05 out of ten in areas such as the amount of responsibility given, feeling valued by colleagues, impression of the company overall, training opportunities and transferable skills gained.
The dominance of financial companies in the Top 100 is clear but there have also been successes in other sectors. Warner Bros climbed an impressive 39 places to occupy the number three spot, and suggested that it had a plethora of perks to offer. These include employee and family movie screenings, tickets to television show tapings, discounted merchandise at several of the studio’s stores, discounts at both local and national businesses, and regular opportunities to enter to win prizes.
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Microsoft returned to being ranked at number six. Lucy Saunders, university recruitment lead at Microsoft UK said: “We are going through a huge transformation at Microsoft and to have undergraduates coming to us with their fresh ideas and modern perspectives is so important to us.”
On its website it claimed that those working at the company could enjoy substantial savings on Microsoft products through its company store. “Take advantage of tons of nationwide and local lifestyle discounts, like restaurants, travel, spa services, pet care, and car repair,” it said.
For those wondering about the free ice-cream, you’ll need to find a placement at Unilever first. Other perks at the company included free fruit, tea and coffee, very cheap Unilever products, and full financial support during moves.
Out of the entire list, five were SMEs: Toshiba Medical Visualisation Systems, ProspectSoft, Golfbreaks.com, Borro, and SilverDoor.
Serviced apartments business SilverDoor actually pays employees a “punctuality bonus” for turning up on time.
“Many will appreciate just how much time can be wasted each week if staff habitually arrive 20 minutes late and then have a coffee before settling down,” said director Chris Gee. To avoid what he calls “arrival creep,” the company offers £150 per month for maintaining a 100 per cent blemish-free lateness record.
“We don’t penalise people for being late when they’re ill or suffer things genuinely outside their control,” said Gee.
RateMyPlacement.co.uk also provided insight into what undergraduates could expect to be paid during their placement or internship. Although salaries have risen in half of the UK regions, they have seen no increase or have decreased in the other half. Salaries in London have dropped four per cent since 2014, while Wales has seen a decrease of seven per cent.
Ollie Sidwell, co-founder of RateMyPlacement, said: “The drop in salaries paid to undergraduates in some areas is concerning. A placement or internship is a brilliant place to gain vital experience and it’s important that students are paid at a reasonable level that allows them to complete their time at a company without financial worries.
“That said, the fact that so many UK companies are seeing it as a matter of pride that they feature in our Top 100 table can only be a good thing. This will ensure that the quality of opportunities for our young people will continue to rise and will bring a myriad of benefits, not only to the students and their employers but also to the country as a whole.”
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