Network Rail, the company that owns the UK’s railway infrastructure, is
still attracting top graduates despite unveiling heavy losses of £300m and
The crisis-hit company has just filled its 42 graduate training positions
after attracting 1,250 applications – a number which was ‘significantly up’ on
Network Rail attributed the success to a ‘warts and all’ approach to
recruitment, coupled with the breadth and depth of training that it offers.
Linsey Perry, head of graduate recruitment, admitted she had encountered
potential applicants who were dismissive, but she had to challenge them to look
beyond the name of the company to the first-class training and development it
This includes fast-track schemes to chartered or incorporated engineer
status and post-graduate management certificates, which could lead to MBA
The benefits package also includes a £2,000 ‘golden handshake’, London
allowances and 28 days’ holiday.
"We don’t pretend it’s all easy," said Perry. "We sell it
warts and all. If you want a nice gentle environment, this is not for you. But
we have also shown people that they have prejudicial judgements, which have no
basis. The rail industry offers challenging careers which are very individually
Perry also stressed that online recruitment made the application process
easier for potential trainees. In three years, online recruitment has gone from
zero to 96 per cent of recruits.
The ‘save facility’, allowing graduates to store incomplete applications and
return to them later, has proved popular.