Posted on Friday 15th July 2016 by James Howell

Graduate jobs in Sales and Recruitment seem to dominate online job listings, but why are they so popular?

Sales and recruitment opportunities for graduates are unmissable when you scroll through job listings. The high volume of opportunities in these sectors is not just limited to graduate-jobs.com but can be found on all graduate-specific job sites.

According to our research, 21.1% of the live roles on graduate-jobs.com are sales related and 11.1% are related to the recruitment sector. Sales and recruitment offer a massive dominance, especially when the next most populated sector is Computing and IT with just 6% of the open jobs.

But why! Before we explain our theories, let's be clear on what are graduate jobs in sales and recruitment.

What is a sales job?

A sales person will be responsible for selling and marketing products or services on behalf of their business. For example, you could be sell advertising space in a national magazine or sell products on behalf of a tools manufacturer like at TTI.

What is a recruitment job?

A recruitment consultant or head-hunter (terms and titles vary) works as an agent to find the best person for a vacancy. They may specialise in individual industries, for example banking or marketing. Graduate recruitment consults will have a roster of candidates who want to move jobs and a selection of vacancies that need filling, and as a recruitment consultant they work to find the best fit.

Here are three possible explanations for why these sectors are so popular...

1. Ready for the demands

Employers in the sales and recruitment sectors specifically target the graduate market because they believe graduates possess the enthusiasm, drive and skills to succeed in these sectors. In sales and recruitment you don't need so much specialist knowledge like some IT careers, but strong communication and personality.

If you combine this with the nature of the sales and recruitment sectors and their focus on reward and bonus structures – it is a match made in heaven. Many sales and recruitment roles are built around targets and goals with big rewards for the most ambitious and hardworking which is perfect for graduates who want to make a big impact in their first job.

2. Quick careers

Similar to the bonus structures and reward schemes commonly found in sales and recruitment jobs, there is also the opportunity for quick progression. Sales and recruitment industries are very fluid and once you have amassed sales or recruiting skills, you can begin to apply these in different sectors and companies.

Sales and recruitment workers tend to move between companies at a higher rate than other industries as opportunities for progression open up. Graduates are no different and you can expect to take big strides forward in your career early on.

3. Seasons change

If you look for graduate jobs during the summer time there will be more sales and recruitment jobs available because of the seasonality of the graduate "milk round". Sales and recruitment companies will start their recruitment drives when they are not competing with the household names.

Traditionally graduate schemes open September and close around the turn of the year. These attract thousands of applications from graduate job hunters, so why would smaller recruitment agencies or companies try and compete with names like Marks & Spencer, Jaguar Land Rover or the Civil Service?

And now here's three reasons they should be considered...

1. Don't believe the hype and stereotype

Sales and recruitment is a changing industry. The sectors have a lingering stigma of cold calling, impossible targets and creepy sales pitches – but times have changed. The sales and recruitment industries are no longer about the quick sale or quick placement but are now relationship focused and longevity.

Careers in sales and recruitment are as much about being personable as they are about "closing deals". If you want a career which deals with people and can be fast moving and exciting, sales and recruitment should be at least considered.

2. Money, money, money.

It can be crass to think you just want to earn money during your first job, but after years of scrimping, saving and struggling through university you can be forgiven for chasing the pound. Sales and recruitment sectors can pay extremely well if you just put the work in.

The sales and recruitment industries are results focused and bonus driven. You might be offered a comparatively low basic salary, but once you start to seal placements, complete sales and exceed your target, the additional payments into your bank account will look truly handsome.

3. Great first step

Many graduates begin their careers in sales or recruitment, but move on to different fields further down the line. Sales and recruitment positions can offer you the chance to find your feet in the working world before you decide what career is for you.

Alternatively, it may provide you with a stepping stone towards your dream career. For example, taking a role in media sales may provide you with the commercial awareness you need to find other roles in advertising or media.

Sales and recruitment careers can be extremely exciting for graduates. Don't disregard them as "the left over jobs" who nobody wants. These can be financially rewarding, constantly changing and have the longevity for years to come.

View graduate jobs in Sales

View graduate jobs in Recruitment

Image credit: Lucas Gallone