Government ranked as one of Britain’s best graduate employers

By on 09/10/2015 | Updated on 27/01/2022

The British government’s Civil Service Fast Stream has been ranked among the country’s top five graduate employers, according to an annual table compiled by the Times newspaper.

This year’s Times Top 100 Graduate Employers directory, which is based on research with 18,412 graduates who left UK universities this summer, is topped by professional services firm PwC in first, Aldi in second and Google in third place.

It ranks the fast stream, which offers talented graduates an accelerated route to leadership roles in the civil service within three to five years fifth – up from sixth place last year.

Jerry Arnott, a former senior civil servant who led the biggest UK government training consolidation programme in modern history by creating a central training offer for the whole civil service, today told Global Government Forum that the ranking “once again reinforces the tremendous reputation of the Civil Service Fast Steam for excellence and career opportunity.”

Arnott said: “The future of the civil service depends upon attracting some of the best young talent around and the high standards and rigorous selection criteria ensure that an early pipeline of future civil service leaders are given a tremendous platform upon which to build their careers.”

But, while he said that the fast stream “provides a breadth and depth of opportunity for personal and professional development”, he added that “one of the big challenges facing the fast stream programme is for it to be seen as a truly corporate asset and not one influenced by departmental or functional interests.”

The fast stream is accepting applications for the 2016 training scheme until 2 November.

This year’s list ranked the National Health Service (NHS) in seventh place – down two from fifth place last year.

The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme is two to three years long, dependent on specialism, with rotating full-time work placements and post-graduate education and leadership development.

It has produced many senior leaders in the NHS, including its former chief executive Sir David Nicholson.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Global Government Forum this August, Nicholson said the scheme was “what’s described as a ‘Cook’s tour’ of the NHS, which gives you a fantastic grounding and understanding of it.”

He said he did everything from looking after patients as a nursing auxiliary to working as a porter; covering shifts in the administrative office to washing uniforms in the laundry, giving him an understanding of what working life is like for these various hospital professions.

As a result, he added that, when he took up the chief executive post almost 30 years later, the training scheme gave him the ability to “always be thinking about how a policy would work out in practice – for the ward sister or the person in outpatients.”

Other government bodies in the ranking include the Army, in 35th place – compared to 28th last year; the Royal Navy, ranked 47th – up from 68th last year; and MI5 – United Kingdom’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agenc – which this year came 83rd, down 31 places from 52nd last year.

Earlier this year, Kevin White, a senior official who was closely involved in the cross-government HR reform agenda before retiring this July, told Global Government Forum that the civil service should take a fresh approach to developing talent.

White, whose mother had joined the government via the fast stream, warned that the civil service is “at the risk of having a slightly simplistic view that the only real high-flying talent is made up of people who have come from universities.”


See also:

Our full interview with Jerry Arnott, former chief executive of Civil Service Learning

Our full interview with Kevin White, former director-general of HR at the UK Home Office

Our full interview with Sir David Nicholson, former chief executive of NHS England

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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