Graduate jobs in business and management

Jemma Smith, Editor
September, 2018

Whether you're looking for a business job, management job or consultancy job, the sector has lots to offer. Discover which career path is right for you

Business adviser

You'll provide information, support, coaching, advice and guidance to business people, from individuals looking to start their own business through to supporting established businesses.

Many business advisers are graduates from a variety of disciplines, who started out in a professional and financial service such as HR, recruitment, marketing, accountancy, finance and banking. Many business advisers have worked in industry and have run their own businesses.

Entry-level salaries for start-up business advisers range between £18,000 and £25,000.

Learn more about the role of a business adviser.

Business development manager

Concerned with improving and growing a business, you'll foster and develop relationships with customers, suppliers and other partners. You may work to improve profitability through careful strategic planning and positioning in the appropriate markets, or to enhance the operation of the business, position or reputation in some way.

Your starting salary as a graduate business development manager will be in the region of £22,000 to £25,000. To be successful you'll need tenacity, excellent communication skills, initiative, good networking skills and the ability to think strategically.

Discover what qualifications you need to become a business development manager.


As an economist you'll use theories and knowledge to provide specialist advice, by studying data and statistics and using your understanding of economic relationships to uncover trends. You'll carry out research and collect large amounts of information, which will then be used to assess feasibility, produce forecasts of economic trends, determine the implications of your findings and make recommendations of ways to improve efficiency.

You'll advise economic consultancies, major companies, banks, financial institutions, higher education establishments and investment groups.

Entry is possible with a degree in economics, or a joint degree including the following combinations:

  • economics with finance
  • economics with law
  • economics with management studies
  • economics with mathematics
  • economics with politics
  • international economics.

Gain an insight into the role of an economist.

Environmental consultant

Not all consultancy jobs confine you to a desk. To become an environmental consultant you'll need an honours degree in a subject such as environmental and earth sciences, environmental management, geology or hydrogeology. You'll also need sound business skills and commercial awareness.

In this role you'll work with organisations on a range of environmental issues, offering expert advisory and assessment services to your clients with the aim of minimising or eliminating environmental damage.

You'll usually be employed by a consultancy firm and work on a range of commercial or government contracts, addressing a variety of environmental issues. Work is office based with time spent outdoors on site visits.

Graduate starting salaries typically range from £22,000 to £25,000.

Find out more about working as an environmental consultant.


By scientifically studying the relationship between people, environments and equipment, ergonomists use their findings to improve human interaction with processes and systems.

To be a successful ergonomist you'll need good numeracy and problem-solving skills, the ability to understand technical concepts and an interest in people's behaviour in different situations.

You'll also need an undergraduate or Masters degree in ergonomics/human factors, accredited by the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors (CIEHF).

Concerned with the safety and efficiency of equipment, systems and transportation, you'll use scientific information to ensure the health, comfort and protection of the people using them, and may be involved in designing new products. You could work in the defence, energy, health and safety, healthcare, IT, manufacturing and transport sectors.

Take a look at the skills you’ll need to become an ergonomist.

Health service manager

In this role you'll be responsible for the strategic, financial and day-to-day running of hospital, general practitioner (GP) or community health services. Working in either an NHS or the private healthcare setting, you'll manage the cost, delivery and quality of healthcare services. You'll work with both clinical and non-clinical staff, as well as other partner organisations, while considering the demands of political policy and local circumstances.

You'll typically work 9am to 5pm, although in certain roles and specialist areas you may need to work shifts. Managers are sometimes on-call during evenings or weekends and you should expect to work extra hours during certain periods.

As a graduate with a minimum 2:2 degree (or equivalent) in any subject, you can apply to the fast-track NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme. The starting salary on the scheme is £23,125 (excluding the location allowance where this applies).

Gain an insight into the role of a health service manager.

Hotel manager

A friendly personality, with a genuine desire to help and please others, the ability to think clearly and make quick decisions and numeracy and logistical planning skills are essential for working as a hotel manager.

Responsible for the day-to-day management of a hotel and its staff, as well as holding commercial accountability for budgeting and financial management, you'll need to plan, organise and direct hotel services, including front-of-house, food and beverage operations and housekeeping. In larger hotels you'll often have a specific remit, such as guest services, accounting or marketing.

You'll work regular unsocial hours - late nights, weekends and bank holidays. Working hours can be long and could restrict your social and family life.

Read more about the role of a hotel manager and discover 6 reasons to get into hotel management.

Internal auditor

Working in the public sector, for private companies or accountancy firms you'll provide an independent guarantee that an organisation's risk management, governance and control processes are operating effectively.

Auditing also includes a consulting service, advising management on how to improve their systems and processes.

The career is open to all graduates but a degree, HND or foundation degree in accountancy, economics, finance or IT may be considered beneficial. If you don't have a degree, HND or foundation degree, it's still possible to enter the profession, particularly if you have some related pre-entry work experience.

Find out what you could earn as an internal auditor.

Office manager

Also known as business, administrative or operations managers, office managers are responsible for organising all of the administrative activities that facilitate the smooth running of an office. This includes organising people, information and other resources. You must make sure that office equipment is maintained, relevant records are up to date and that all administration processes work effectively.

To successfully carry out your duties you'll need excellent organisations skills, strong IT knowledge, the ability to prioritise, team working skills and interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.

Salaries for office managers vary depending on the type of industry, employer and level of responsibility involved. Typical starting salaries may range from £18,000 to £30,000.

For further information, see office manager.

Operational researcher

Operational research (OR), sometimes known as management science, was developed in Britain during the Second World War, when it was used to apply mathematical and scientific techniques to the planning of military operations. Today it's utilised throughout industry, commerce and government services.

As an operational researcher you'll examine an organisation's operations and use mathematical modelling, computer software or other analytical approaches, to find more effective ways of working. The organisation is then able to use the information to develop a strategic policy and make better decisions.

Most operational researchers are graduates who have at least a 2:1 degree or higher. A pre-entry postgraduate qualification is desirable for work in some sectors.

Take a look at the qualifications you need to become an operational researcher.

Product manager

Career opportunities are available with any company which makes a product of some kind, be it technical, financial or manufactured.

Working with the people who make a product, those who use the product and those who manage the business, you'll ensure that the product is being made as efficiently as possible and that the people building it have access to the latest technologies and techniques. You're also responsible for the life cycle of the product, ensuring that everyone is following the product roadmap and that features are being released on time and are of a high quality.

Starting salaries for product managers and junior product managers are usually between £25,000 and £40,000.

Learn more about a career as a product manager.

Retail manager

Aiming to maximise profits while minimising costs, retail managers are responsible for the day-to-day running of stores or departments. You'll ensure promotions are run to the company's standards and make sure that staff are working towards targets. It's also your job to ensure that excellent customer care standards are met.

Although this area of work is open to all graduates, an HND or degree in business studies, fashion management, marketing, and retail management may increase your chances.

Gain an insight into the role of a retail manager and discover 6 questions to ask in a retail management interview.

Risk manager

Working to advise organisations on any potential risks to the profitability or existence of the company, you'll identify and assess threats, put plans in place if things go wrong and decide how to avoid, reduce or transfer risks.

Technical acumen, decision-making and problem-solving ability, planning and organisational skills, commercial awareness and the ability to understand broad business issues are all essential to the role.

Risk management is not an entry-level role. Typical starting salaries for those starting in a risk technician role are around £21,250.

Discover what it takes to become a risk manager.

Find out more