Official Guide to Edinburgh
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Graduate Careers in Edinburgh

Stay on after graduating and you’ll be joining a huge, vibrant population of ex-students. It’s a community that’s strong-minded and highly skilled – a higher proportion of graduates live here than anywhere else in Scotland. This will continue to attract inward investment into the spheres in which Edinburgh’s residents live, work and play.

Edinburgh is a world influencer in technology, science, financial services, the arts and business. Here, you’ll find the headquarters of Standard Life, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS)… innovative world-leading science centres such as the Edinburgh BioQuarter and Roslin Institute …and the Scottish Government.

Staying on after studying gives you numerous career and job opportunities with world-leading companies such as these and more.

International Graduates

Scotland warmly welcomes overseas students and actively encourages graduates to stay and start their careers here. Many students stay on in Edinburgh City Region and the rest of Scotland – an average of around 600 international graduates start their careers and take advantage of job prospects in Scotland every year.

The Scottish Government actively encourages international graduates of Scottish universities or colleges to live and work in Scotland. Many choose to stay in the city, working within Edinburgh’s key sectors including business, science and the creative industries.

Start Your Career in Edinburgh

When you graduate, you have a world of opportunities open to you in Edinburgh City Region – an area that boasts the fastest-growing economy of 20 of the world’s top cities. With so much to offer, the area is a magnet for many talented people:

  • Graduate opportunities especially in engineering, IT, finance, marketing and design
  • One of Europe’s top cities for outstanding quality of life – culture, architecture, compact walkable size
  • An abundance of successful small to medium enterprises (SMEs) offering more hands-on experience for new graduates
  • Named as a Region of Innovation Excellence by the European Commission – numerous innovative companies with global influence
  • Strong reputation for developing people with commercial acumen, entrepreneurial flair, inventive minds and work ethic
  • The gateway to Scotland’s amazing landscapes – numerous leisure and sports activities – and a favourite tourist destination

Graduate Careers Help and Advice Rescources

Graduates for Growth

Recruitment consultancy specialising in the SME sector 

Job Centre Plus

This helpful local government agency provides a free service

Prospects planner

The UK's official graduate careers website


ScotGrad is a free programme that offers paid, project-based student and graduate placements in organisations across Scotland. ScotGrad placements are focused on tangible projects, and are suitable for all degree types with roles in every sector. Graduate placements last from 3-12 months and take place all year round, and student placements last from 8-12 weeks, over the summer break. 

Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies are an excellent source for graduates to find work. Good local companies include: Search, Hudson and Denholm Associates. Fees are normally paid by the employer. Your university or college may already have strong links with an agency 

Continuing Development

Many employers believe in continuous learning and are keen to continue your development. They maintain strong links with higher and further education establishments.

For example, in the financial service sector, Royal Bank of Scotland has arranged for Harvard Business School to provide courses for its staff under the title of ‘The RBS Business School’. These programmes help to develop the vision and quality of management that the RBS Group will need in challenging markets in the future.

Many other institutions also provide an opportunity for you to become a member of relevant professional bodies who may offer professional examinations, such as the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (CIBoS) and The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and the Chartered institute of Accountants of Scotland (ICAS).

Edinburgh city region also has an active business networking community that provides employees with a variety of personal development opportunities.

Starting a Business

If you’re inspired to start up a new business after graduating, there’s lots of support and advice available. The Business Gateway provides excellent advice to anyone looking to start their own business.  They can advice you on loans and grants and also run regular, free courses on setting up, promoting and running your own business.

Why start a business in the Edinburgh City Region?

  • Edinburgh has been named the fourth "Best Place To Do Business in Britain" by the UK-wide "Growing Business" magazine
  • Edinburgh is increasingly identified as a knowledge city and as an ‘ideopolis’. Factors such as Edinburgh’s highly educated workforce and the concentration of knowledge intensive industries have placed Edinburgh alongside London as one of only two ideopolises in the UK
  • Edinburgh workers are Scotland’s most productive. The Capital's hard-working employees each generate £25,900-a-year, the third highest figure in the UK
  • East Lothian is known for the strength of the small business sector where small businesses employ a greater proportion of all workers compared to Scotland as a whole
  • In the wider city region, fast-growing Stirling has the highest level of business start-ups and a business survival rate ahead of the national average.