Working in Wales
Wales offers the opportunity for graduates to work for major industry players, as well as smaller businesses, in a range of sectors.
As of 2015, 62% of those who study in Wales enter employment in Wales, according to the Higher Education Careers Service Unit.
Employers in Wales
About 99% of businesses in Wales are small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employing less than 250 people – the majority are classified as micro-organisations employing fewer than 10 people. Don’t let this put you off considering Wales – many graduates working in SMEs are often amazed at how much responsibility they are given.
The major industry sectors, and some of key employers within each, include:
- financial – employers include Admiral, Santander, Barclaycard and Lloyds TSB
- creative and media – employers include BBC Wales, S4C and ITV Wales
- social care – employers include Social Care Wales, Ategi and Care & Repair Cymru
- professional services – employers include Deloitte, Eversheds Sutherland and Siemens.
However, the public sector is the largest employer in Wales, accounting for 26.7% of total employment in Wales in 2015. The top three industry sectors are National Health Service (NHS), education and public administration.
There is also a growing demand for Welsh-language skills. Find out more about using Welsh in the workplace.
Around a third of employers in Wales are graduate recruiters, including some large organisations with graduate training schemes, such as Welsh Water, BAE Systems, Aldi, Capita to name a few, and a range of small and medium-sized businesses.
In 2016, 35% of the Times Top 100 graduate employers had entry-level jobs on offer in Wales, according to High Fliers Research. The Guardian UK 300 also lists many leading graduate employers, many of which have a presence in Wales.
In Wales, opportunities for graduates are not always as visible or well-advertised and creative job search is key. Learn more about hidden jobs.
The 2015 Wales Top 300 reveals that Wales’ largest companies grew at an astonishing 8.5% in combined turnover, well above the UK economy which has grown 2.5%.
Graduates in Wales
The vast majority of graduates in Wales do not take up traditional kinds of graduate post in large companies, but go to a wide range of employment or further study. Around one-third of graduates take jobs where their degree is initially not seen as a requirement, according to the Institute of Employment Studies.
According to the 2011/12 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DHLE) survey, Welsh graduates are most likely to be employed in:
- sales and customer service roles (14.15%)
- caring roles (8.9%)
- administration jobs (8.5%).
It's worth noting that graduate salaries range widely in Wales and average salaries can be lower than other UK regions, reflecting lower overall salaries in Wales rather than a reduced return to degree level study. In 2015, the average salary in the UK was £20,637, according to the Higher Education Careers Service Unit.
For more advice on working in Wales, please get in touch:
Careers and Employability
- Telephone:+44 (0)29 2087 4844