The best graduate programs of 2018

The results are out: if you’re looking to apply for a graduate position, put these graduate programs on your immediate shortlist.

All about graduate programs

Graduate programs are structured programs (usually lasting for 1-2, but sometimes up to 4, years) which are tailored to the specific company and industry.

The best graduate programs will provide:

  •         Extensive induction and training programs
  •         Mentoring programs
  •         Career progression planning
  •         Excellent supervision and feedback
  •         Compensation and benefits
  •         A good work/life balance and inclusive company culture

The programs often include structured rotations across various company departments. Not only does this broaden your range of skills, but it allows graduates to find the career area that fits them best. Graduate programs are definitely not the only option for uni graduates, but they can provide a more extensive career development program than other entry-level jobs.

How to find the best graduate programs

A great first step is to look at feedback from current graduates themselves. Each year, the Australian Association of Graduate Employers releases the top 75 Graduate Employers based on the survey results of thousands of graduates who joined their employer’s graduate program in 2017.

Click here to view the full 75 or here to see our breakdown of the top 10, including locations and the qualifications they’re looking for.

The recently released Top 100 Graduate Employers of 2018 list is another indispensable guide for career seekers. The list, which is a joint venture between The Australian Financial Review and career portal GradConnection, reveals the companies most in demand for new jobs. The popularity is determined by the number of Australian university students who apply for open positions via GradConnection in a given year. The data gives an insight into the industries that are experiencing huge growth in graduate opportunities.

The best programs by industry

Professional services, audit, tax & advisory

The top 3 graduate employers (PwC, KPMG and, Deloitte) are all professional service providers. These companies support businesses in a wide range of industries with finance, business advice and management consulting. With such a broad range of skills involved, they generally recruit graduates from all degrees.

Other award-winning graduate programs:

EY, Protiviti, Evans Dixon, AMP

Computing, technology consulting and data analysis

It’s no secret that tech companies are major employers, with opportunities available in diverse roles such as software design and development, analytics, sales consulting and marketing. STEM, business and marketing consultants are always in demand.

Award-winning graduate programs:

IBM, Accenture, ThoughtWorks, Capgemini, Bain & Company, Quantium  

Retail and logistics

Retail and logistics companies have been recognised for their great professional development programs, and they look for outstanding graduates in all fields of study.

Award-winning programs:

ALDI, Coles, Stockland, Mainfreight

Banking & insurance

Graduate programs at Australia’s leading banks will provide diverse and transferable skills and are usually tailored to graduates in three streams: accounting; economics and finance (including STEM graduates) and IT.

Award-winning programs:

Westpac Group, ANZ, Suncorp, NAB, Macquarie Group, Commonwealth Bank


Engineering graduates can find opportunities across a broad range of sectors, such as mining, building services, water and infrastructure, and tailored graduate programs will assist in gaining certification as a professional engineer.

Award-winning programs:

AECOM, Monadelphous Group, Aurecon, Jacobs, Lendlease

Government and utilities

AFR noted that government departments have experienced one of the largest increases in attention over the previous year, with growing investment in infrastructure (such as the National Broadband Network) leading to great job opportunities for all graduates.

Award-winning programs:

NBN, NSW State Government, WA State Government, Water Corporation WA


Manufacturing companies provide a broad range of graduate career pathways for STEM, business and commerce graduates, with opportunities available in engineering, finance, HR, R&D, marketing and logistics roles.

Award-winning programs:

Mars, Dulux

Telecomm, internet and digital marketing

Telecommunications, internet services and digital marketing are key drivers in our tech-based economy. They recruit graduates in computer science, software engineering, design, IT and marketing.

Award-winning programs:

Telstra, Dentsu Network Aegis, REA Group

Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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