Vital statistics: ICI has around 33,000 employees worldwide and last year recorded sales of £5.6bn. These days only 12 per cent of those sales are in the UK, where 4,500 people work for the company.

The office: The global head office is in London's West End, with major administrative centres in the USA and the Netherlands. In the UK, there are 29 manufacturing, research and administration sites - one of the biggest is in John Betjeman's least favourite Thames Valley town, Slough.

Is this you? Around 40 graduates are recruited every year to the European Graduate Development Programme. They're earmarked for roles in commercial and technical fields, as well as for the new paints operation in China, where Mandarin speakers are needed. You'll need a 2.1 degree and to be eligible for a EU work permit.

The recruitment process: Online applications via are screened manually against specific job requirements, after which interviewees are selected. Two rounds of interviews and an assessment centre reduce the field to those offered jobs, who will normally hear within 24 hours of participating in the final stage of the process. Training lasts between 18 and 24 months, and consists of a mixture of core business and personal training, together with work placements, where recruits can expect real challenges from day one.

Top dollar? In the UK, staring pay ranges from £23,000 to £26,000 depending on previous experience and academic achievement.

Beam me up Scotty? This scheme is designed for high fliers who have the ability to reach senior management status. The company promises that those with potential and drive will be given the training, environment and opportunities to succeed.

Who's the boss? ICI's chief executive, Dr John McAdam, clearly isn't short of grey matter. He got a first in Chemical Physics at Manchester University, before post grad research into macro-molecular motion of polymers in solution, at Cambridge.

Little known fact: Next time you're up the ladder, ponder this: in any hour of the day around the world, 10,000 people will using a pot of a paint made by ICI.