Barclays Graduate Schemes
Barclays offers a range of roles in nine core career areas through its graduate schemes, with opportunities in a variety of roles from business banking to quantitative analytics to marketing.
Whichever path you choose, Barclays promises you will gain an in-depth understanding of how the business works and how your job there contributes to its success.
Many of the programmes offer a chance to rotate through several different areas to develop skills and expand your network, as well as the opportunity to study for a professional qualification.
In this article, we will provide more detail on the various Barclays graduate programmes available, along with information on the application process and tips for success.
What Graduate Programmes Does Barclays Offer?
Duration: Two years
On this programme, you’ll join a team that processes an average of 25 million transactions a day, worth £1.2 billion. You’ll help support small businesses and multinational brands take payments and manage their spending, as well as studying emerging payment trends.
The programme includes five rotations. You might also spend time with the Business Banking and Consumer Banking teams to deepen your understanding of how Barclays UK works as a whole.
Duration: Two years
Locations: London, Midlands, Northern
Graduates on the Barclays Business Banking programme work with businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to large global corporations. You could be working on a range of services including risk management, lending and trade finance.
You will gain an understanding of how Barclays works with its customers and how it uses data and analytics.
You will complete five rotations during the programme and may also spend time in Wealth Management, Consumer Banking or Barclaycard International.
Duration: Two years
Locations: London, Midlands, Northern
On this programme, you will join the team that supports large multinational organisations. Working closely with Barclays’ relationship directors, you will develop your ability to assess what a client needs and come up with appropriate solutions.
Work could include helping to prepare presentations and proposals to both new and existing clients, giving you the opportunity to begin building your network. The programme includes three rotations, each lasting eight months.
Customer Banking Solutions
Duration: Two years
Graduates on the Customer Banking Solutions programme are involved in helping Barclays find new and innovative ways to serve customers better. Work is split into three areas:
- Products – Designing and delivering products such as mobile payments and mortgages.
- Segments – Community Banking, which represents a large proportion of Barclays’ business, and Premier Banking for customers with more complex financial needs.
- Channels – All the channels through which Barclays connects with its customers, such as high street branches, telephone banking and apps.
The programme involves five rotations, including one in either Business Banking or Wealth Management.
This programme is divided into seven distinct functions:
- Human Resources
- Internal Audit
Depending on the function you choose, your work could involve collaborating with senior colleagues, clients and other teams within the business, working on digital marketing strategies, helping to manage key financial resources, or developing reports to maintain the value of the business.
Many of these programmes involve rotations to broaden your skill set and gain a more thorough understanding of the business.
See the Barclays Graduate Opportunities page for more detail on the different Group Functions programmes available.
Locations: London, Madrid, Milan, Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Zurich, Tel-Aviv, Dubai
Within investment banking, graduates can choose to specialise in several different areas, including:
- Quantitative Analytics
- Financial Resources Management
- Trade Capture
On the programme, you will develop your knowledge of global markets and build on your quantitative and analytical skills while working closely with clients around the world.
Work could include monitoring markets, analysing data, reporting on trends and coming up with investment ideas.
For more detail on individual programmes, see the Graduate Opportunities page.
Duration: Two years
Location: Glasgow, Northampton, Manchester
The Operations team is at the heart of the bank. Graduates on this programme will gain an insight into the inner workings of the business across three key areas:
Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank – Reporting on transactions, preparing and issuing terms and conditions for loans to customers, and analysing lending propositions for credit approval.
Barclays UK – Supporting a huge range of customer groups from personal banking to business. You could be involved in helping to develop the technology or services on offer to customers.
Cards and Payments – This is all about making transactions easier for buyers and sellers. You’ll be working on the processes and systems that make this happen.
Duration: Two years
Locations: London, Glasgow, Northampton, Radbroke Hall (Cheshire)
Radbroke Hall in Cheshire is Barclays’ tech hub, and this is where most graduate opportunities in Technology are based.
Graduates can choose to pursue one of two paths:
Developer – You will be part of a team coming up with innovative technical solutions to complex banking needs. Work will include helping to design and test new systems as well as maintaining existing ones.
Analyst – This would suit graduates who are not coders but are still interested in being involved in the design and development of new technology. You will play a role in digital advancements that provide solutions to financial challenges. After one year on the programme, technology analysts can choose to stay in the role or try another area.
Locations: London, Glasgow
There are two graduate programmes within the Wealth business area:
Savings, Investment and Wealth Management – This programme lasts two and a half years. You will be working with a wide range of clients, helping to manage their various savings and investment requirements. The programme includes a number of rotations, so you could also spend time on Barclaycard, Consumer Banking or Business Banking.
Private Bank and Overseas Services – This programme lasts two years and you will be part of a team working with Barclays’ high and ultra-high net worth clients. You will help to provide these clients with personalised solutions, gaining expertise in key financial markets. You will also collaborate with colleagues in Corporate and Investment Banking.
How Will I Be Supported on the Barclays Graduate Scheme?
Barclays aims to provide the best possible training, mentoring and support to its graduates and sets out its framework for achieving this in its Graduate Development Journey.
Its training structure is 10% formal (including technical training and professional qualifications), 20% social (including a buddy programme, mentors and peer-to-peer learning), and 70% experiential (including desk-specific training, regular feedback and interactive online learning resources).
Development journeys are tailored to the individual but are structured around nine Learning Groups:
- Understanding financial markets
- Gaining business skills
- Your professional skill set
- Regulatory qualifications
- Professional qualifications
- Barclays’ policies, processes and values
- Role-specific technical skills
- Finding your career path
All graduate recruits begin by taking part in the Initial Training Programme (ITP) which involves training in business-specific and professional skills, as well as sessions exploring financial markets and concepts in-depth. The programme is designed to equip graduates with a wide range of skills before they join their specialist team.
With a focus on experiential learning, graduates are given the opportunity to contribute from the day they join their team. You will be working on live situations and projects and gaining an understanding of how the business works and the challenges it faces.
Graduates are assigned a dedicated career coach and have the chance to explore their career goals, plans and ambitions throughout the programme. The career coach offers regular guidance and feedback and you will also be supported by more experienced colleagues while developing your career through networking events and talks from senior figures.
Alongside this, graduates are offered on-going technical training and can take advantage of many graduate development opportunities.
What Qualifications Do I Need?
Barclays uses a series of contextualised assessments in its recruitment process. These are designed to evaluate candidates on their merits, which means there are no specific grade requirements.
However, there are minimum prerequisites for each role. Applicants for the graduate scheme must at least hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent. A finance-related degree is not generally required but some roles will have more specific qualification requirements:
- Associates are required to have appropriate and significant work experience.
- Quantitative Associates are required to hold a PhD or comparable qualification.
- Analysts are required to hold a bachelor’s degree or comparable qualification.
Qualification requirements can be found listed under the relevant vacancy on the graduate opportunities page.
Any additional requirements (such as language skills) will be made clear to applicants once they have selected their role choice on the application form.
The Barclays screening process also takes into account mitigating circumstances. For applicants wishing to highlight any circumstances that may have affected their achievements, there will be an opportunity to do so during the initial application stage.
When Should I Apply?
Recruitment for the Barclays graduate scheme is carried out on a rolling basis; each opening is filled as soon as a suitable applicant is found.
With this first-come-first-served approach in mind, it’s crucial that you are proactive in your search and application.
Barclays do run on-campus recruitment events at certain universities. If that includes your university, your careers advice service should be able to offer information on all available opportunities and their respective deadlines.
Alternatively, you can visit the Barclays graduate opportunities page for full details on all current vacancies.
Key Skills That Barclays Looks For
Throughout the Barclays screening process, you will be assessed on a number of key abilities and personality traits.
Each assessment stage (detailed in the following section) is designed to provide you with the chance to demonstrate the characteristics that Barclays looks for in all employees.
Be sure to familiarise yourself with them, and take every opportunity to show them in action.
There are six key traits that Barclays looks for in particular:
Teamwork. Throughout the application process, demonstrate your collaborative skills by presenting yourself as a team player. Show that you can listen, contribute and lead where necessary, to make the most of the collective knowledge and talent within the group.
Responsive learning. Show that you are keen to learn by continually building your knowledge throughout each assessment. Adapt your thought process to each new situation, based on a sound understanding of Barclays’ working practices.
Resilience. Rise to every challenge that is presented to you and demonstrate your ability to thrive under pressure. Show determination and respond accordingly, if and when what is being asked of you becomes unclear.
Relationship building. Show that you understand the importance of building strong, mutually beneficial working relationships – not just within your immediate team, but across departments and geographical locations. Be open to asking for and offering help where needed.
Critical analysis. Demonstrate your enthusiasm for problem-solving; use every opportunity to think outside the box to find appropriate solutions. Don’t jump to an obvious conclusion but explore multiple avenues to identify the best possible resolution.
Numeracy skills. Show that you are able to interpret numerical data in such a way as to uncover the meaning behind it. Use your numerical skills to solve any issues you are presented with, based on a full understanding of the facts and figures at hand.
You should have ample opportunity to display these key traits during each stage of the application process.
The final stage will include a face-to-face interview, so it’s important to have examples to hand that demonstrate when you have used each of the six key traits – be it through work experience, education or any extra-curricular activities.
Applying for the Barclays Graduate Scheme
The application process for the Barclays graduate scheme takes an interactive approach. It's designed to give both parties the opportunity to learn more about the other, through a series of contextualised assessments.
It is also designed to be time-efficient for the applicant and, in the initial stages, does not require a large time commitment.
As you progress, each task will take a little longer but, as a whole, the process should take between four and seven hours – depending on your individual working speed, plus any time spent on preparation.
The Barclays graduate scheme application process consists of four stages:
1. Registration of Interest
The Barclays screening process no longer requires that applicants submit a formal CV and cover letter.
Instead, the first step is to select the relevant opening for your career ambitions and skill set, and submit a form to register your interest in the role.
This initial application form will ask for your educational and career history, and standard personal details. It will also ask you to state why you wish to partake in the Barclays graduate scheme.
2. Business Insight – Stage 1
If your registration of interest is successful, you will be invited to participate in the first stage of the Business Insight assessment.
This stage consists of an interactive video that presents applicants with a number of hypothetical scenarios. A series of strengths-based questions will be asked throughout.
It is designed to fulfil two purposes:
- To evaluate your cognitive abilities, work ethic and skill set
- To offer a realistic impression of what a graduate role with Barclays will entail.
There are four question types that you will be asked during this assessment phase:
Situational strengths-based questions. Designed to assess workplace behaviour based on criteria held valuable by the employer. They usually consist of a particular scenario and four or five possible responses, which you will be asked to rank in order of preference.
Numerical reasoning questions. These will test your ability to interpret numerical data and deal with figures in an accurate and timely manner. They may test your knowledge on things such as percentages, ratios, number sequences, currency conversions or financial analysis. Both the time taken to respond, and the accuracy of your answers, will factor in your score for this stage of the assessment.
Verbal reasoning questions. These will test your ability to interpret verbal information and respond appropriately in various scenarios, as well as your general command of English. You may be presented with a variety of question styles here; the most common is to provide the applicant with a passage of text and a set of related statements. The applicant will then be asked to decide if the statements are true, false or if they are unable to state either way, based on the information provided. Again, how long you take to respond will factor into your overall score.
Critical reasoning questions. Created to assess your problem-solving skills, your objectivity and your ability to make rational decisions based on information analysis. Questions will take the form of passages of text, from which you will be expected to draw conclusions without assumption or pre-existing bias.
Before participating in the first stage of the Business Insight assessment, be sure to familiarise yourself with the types of questions that you may be asked.
Take a practice assessment to get to grips with how these various question types are presented, and the ways in which you may be asked to respond to each.
Though response times will be taken into account for certain question types, the overall assessment itself is not timed and should take between 35 and 40 minutes.
3. Business Insight – Stage 2
As with the previous assessment, the second stage of the Business Insight test will take place through an interactive video.
This time, however, there will be a greater emphasis on the particular business area for which you are applying.
You will be presented with a relevant project and asked to complete a number of related tasks, as well as answer a series of questions throughout.
Questions will be presented with multiple-choice options, and you will also be able to record video responses.
Your tasks may include things like responding to difficult emails, completing calculations or providing a video response to a hypothetical problem.
Example project and related tasks:
You have been presented with an issue related to your particular business area and are asked to produce a report containing recommendations for improvement.
Task 1 – summarise this report to your manager via the video response tool.
Task 2 – respond via email to a colleague that has raised criticism of the suggestions in your report.
Task 3 – reply via the video response tool to an email sent by your manager, in which they highlight mistakes made by you and your colleagues in the report.
As each project will be designed around the particular business area for which you are applying, it is important that you are fully up to speed with all relevant activities and the wider current climate surrounding your chosen business arm.
This is a timed assessment and should take on average around 45 minutes.
4. Barclays Business Meeting
The Barclays Business Meeting is the last assessment in the application process. This will be a face-to-face scenario held in a location relevant to the role you have applied for.
This final stage will present you with a challenge that reflects what it is like working in your chosen area. It will be designed to further test your skills and abilities, as well as preparing you to hit the ground running should your application be successful.
There will also be a face-to-face interview held at this stage.
As this is a strengths-based assessment, this is your opportunity to showcase in person the skills and knowledge you have gained through both education and your work/life experience. In particular, the six key traits that Barclays looks for in successful applicants.
It is also a chance for you to demonstrate that you have developed a solid understanding of Barclays’ working culture, through your participation in the previous assessment stages.
The Barclays Business Meeting should take anywhere between 3.5 to 5 hours. It will give you the chance to fully immerse yourself in a real scenario relevant to your potential future role.
Will I Be Paid?
Barclays states that it offers a competitive package of rewards and benefits. These depend on the country of employment and will be discussed when an offer is made.
Tips for Success
Do your research. Ensure you have a solid understanding of all services covered by Barclays and how they interlink, as well as a sound knowledge of the current financial landscape as a whole. Showing commercial awareness of the financial world will help you stand out from the crowd.
Be prepared for a variety of questions. While the Barclays graduate recruitment process focuses on strengths-based activities, you will still be asked a range of questions in the interview segment of your Barclays Business Meeting. You should make sure that you have considered and prepared for a range of question types including competency, situational and behavioural questions. The interview will be fast-paced, so be prepared to give quick-fire answers rather than elaborating at length. You can also take some practice assessments to familiarise yourself with the types of questions you may be asked during the Business Insight 1 stage.
Know your goals and motivations. One of the key factors outlined in Barclays’ graduate recruitment advice is that the company is looking for candidates who can clearly demonstrate what drives them. Even if you cannot provide clear examples, be sure to show enthusiasm for the things you enjoy and why they make you a good fit for the role. Understand your motivations behind applying for the Barclays graduate scheme and make sure you are able to articulate them clearly.
Demonstrate key traits. Before beginning the application process, you should spend time familiarising yourself with the key traits Barclays values and preparing examples describing how and when you have demonstrated them in the past.
Pay attention to what is being asked of you. From your first Business Insight through to your Barclays Business Meeting, pay close attention to the details of the briefs provided. These exercises have not been designed to trip you up – so as long as you take the time to fully understand them, you should do well.
Listen to feedback. At the end of each assessment phase, you will receive constructive feedback. If you are successful in progressing to the next stage, be sure to take this feedback on board and demonstrate that you are adaptable and open to advice. If you are unsuccessful, use this feedback as a basis for your application to any future graduate opportunities.
Use the right device. As the Business Insight stages are designed to be highly interactive, Barclays recommends that these are completed on a desktop and not a mobile device.
Receiving an Offer or Feedback
If you are successful in your Barclays graduate recruitment assessments, you will be made an offer. At this stage, you will be sent further details on the onboarding process, to help you get ready to start your career.
If you reach the Barclays Business Meeting stage but are unsuccessful, you will be provided with a personalised feedback report and offered the opportunity to partake in a feedback coaching call.
These should provide you with constructive advice on how to improve performance and achieve success in your future applications for graduate placements.
What Happens Next?
By the end of the Barclays Graduate scheme you should have a clear sense of what you would like to do next in the company, and all the skills and confidence you need to pursue your chosen path.
Your line manager and the team around you will continue to support and develop you in your role even after the programme has ended.