Manchester Metropolitan University homepage
Library homepage

Covid–19 Library update

Important changes to our services. Find out more

Employability skills resources

Company and industry research

Student's in a group study space.


Library Services' resources can provide you with a range of information on companies and industries. Using these materials can help you research your career path and provide you with information on specific companies and industries. By researching your potential future employers you will not only be preparing yourself for job applications and interviews, you will also be developing your commercial awareness.

Commercial awareness is an essential graduate skill, particularly for students going into the business sector. Some graduate recruiters have identified that commercial awareness is a skill often lacking in graduates applying for jobs. Therefore, improving your knowledge in this area could give you the edge over other candidates.

Photo by Elevate Digital from Pexels

Databases for locating company and industry information

The key databases that provide company and industry information are listed here.  Short videos demonstrating how to locate relevant information on these databases can be found below

Business Source Premier provides UK and international company and industry profiles. Company profiles also include a company SWOT analysis

​Mintel provides market research reports which include company information in the context of that particular market.

​Passport provides UK and global company reports within the respective industry sector and region in which the company operates

Whilst Lexis Library is primarily a law database, it also includes full-text articles from a range of UK national and regional newspapers. Use the News link to search for newspaper articles

Online version of the Financial Times newspaper. Create an account with your Manchester Met email address - see our help guide

Financial reports of major British companies, covering over 7 million companies in the UK and Ireland.

Retail Week provides breaking news, insight and intelligence for the retail industry

Videos for locating company and industry information using Library databases

The playlist below includes videos demonstrating how to locate company information on the five databases listed above.  Click play to view all videos, or use the drop down menu on the top left hand corner to select a specific video.

Tools for researching companies

  • PESTLE analysis

     The PESTLE analysis is a simple tool which can be used to effectively identify key external factors that may affect a company or organisation:

PESTLE analysis diagram


Company Recipe Sheet

Researching a company: Recipe sheet


Researching a company's background
Name of company Include any other names the company has operated under
Year founded Include founder if known
Main location and other
areas of operation
Include address of Head Office
Web Address Include main address and recruitment address
Outline of main business

How company sells? (e.g. online, stores, phone)

What is their main industry?

What product do they deal with?

What is the company’s current global position?

Company vision or mission
This is usually located on the company website


Researching a company's size
Number of employees
Number of stores or
premises etc.

Financial data

Researching a company's financial data
Latest recorded revenue Is this an increase or decrease from previous year?
Size of market area Consumer expenditure in this area
Top competitors You may want to do a peer analysis of their top competitors

SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis of a company
Strengths Include details of the strengths of the company
Weaknesses Include details of the weaknesses of the company
Opportunities Include details of opportunities the company has
Threats Include details of threats that face the company


Researching a company's communications
Press coverage Recent coverage in newspapers – what are the important articles and headlines for this organisation?
Awards Has this organisation won any awards for its training, website or products, etc.?

The Job

Researching elements of the job
Sector developments
Research the sector you are applying to in detail.
What training and career development is available?
What are the issues and trends in this profession or industry?
What impact will economic & technological changes have?
What skills are likely to be needed now and in the future?
Finding an employer that
is right for you
You need to show commercial awareness; How does an employer operate? What are their ethical values?
Any specific job-related
skills or experience

Do I have what the employer is looking for? Look at case studies and profiles from current recruits.
Visit the Graduate Fairs/ presentations and ask the recruiters what they are looking for – Network.

Company Culture How does this employer like to see itself?
What are its core values?
What are its policies relating to equal opportunities, flexible working…?
Selection processes What are the selection processes?
What happens after the application?
Tests? Telephone interview? Assessment centre?
Understanding the job What will the typical duties be?
What is the work environment like?
What can I offer this
What evidence can I offer to address all the skills and experience which the employer is looking for?
What can I do to make my application and interview stand out?
Can I visit the employer’s site/store/location as part of my research? (Some employers
expect you to do this!)
Interview Questions What am I likely to be asked?
Can I find out what others interviewed by the company have been asked?
From my research, what questions do I want to ask the employer?
What are the opportunities for progression and career development?

Content developed in conjunction with MMU’s Careers and Employability Service.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

Employability library workshop information

The Library deliver online workshops throughout the year. You can find upcoming dates the Workshops booking page.

Details of our employability skills related workshops are also listed here:

Researching commercial companies for career preparation

Managing your digital identity for your professional life

Evaluating information online to avoid fake news and misinformation

Researching the law: an introduction to legal research for non-law students


Careers sessions are run by Manchester Met's Careers and Employability service throughout the year.  Browse the full list and further details on their Events page.

Guardian business news

Loading ...

The Independent business news

Loading ...