CEF – Graduate sales jobs with a difference

City Electrical Factors – big yet little.

It’s not often that graduates know who City Electrical Factors are. After all, you don’t hear of many people aspiring to work as an Electrical Wholesaler, do you?

Who, what, why?

Established in 1951 by Thomas Mackie, City Electrical Factors, commonly known as CEF to most in the industry is now the UK’s leading Electrical Wholesaler, sporting 393 branches. In addition to it’s UK presence, CEF can also be found on the other side of the Atlantic in North America, as well as in Canada, Australia, Spain & Ireland.

Still not sure what CEF actually do?

The main bones of the company is to sell electrical products to the consumer. Be it B2C or B2B, products include cable, lighting, consumer units amongst many others for both domestic and industrial use. CEF’s mantra is ‘the customer always comes first` and the company has always prided itself on being able to cater for every customer’s needs – no matter how big or small.

Things you may not know about CEF:

  • CEF is still owned by the Mackie family and is one of the most successful privately owned companies in the UK, ranked 7th in the Times top 250 in 2013.
  • CEF employs over 6,000 staff members worldwide.
  • In 2013 CEF’s turnover exceeding £1.1 billion.
  • Some of the most successful staff members within the business started off behind the trade counter (sales assistant or van driver) including one of the current MDs.
  • CEF are the only UK Electrical Wholesaler to have an in-house manufacturing & distribution arm.

Why CEF?

There are many reasons to choose CEF as a place to develop your career. A wide range of opportunities, including within wholesale, manufacturing and distribution, a worldwide presence, and the company still being privately owned, all help to create a range of career opportunities at CEF.

Many university students dream of working at a well-known blue chip company after graduating, meaning that sometimes CEF may fall slightly lower down the list of graduate brands to work for. However, what CEF may lack in brand awareness, they make up for in variation of work offered and international presence similar to those blue-chips.

Where they do stand out is their ability to ensure their graduate employees are given every available opportunity to ‘really work their way to the top`, where they can be mentored and developed every step of the way. CEF want every single graduate to succeed and stay with the company for the long term.

At CEF academic ability is important – but it’s not everything; well-rounded individuals who can demonstrate commitment & dedication, entrepreneurial vision (CEF is always interested in hearing new and innovative ideas) and a desire to succeed are just as vital. They reward hard work regardless of any other factors such as length of service and if you’ve proven yourself to be successful there’s no reason why you can’t work your way up the career ladder.


Still not sure? See what Phil O’Nions, a former Graduate trainee who is now a Group Manager at CEF, had to say about joining the scheme in 2005:

Courtesy by Tom Bunkham

Leave your thoughts