Employers consider graduate top-up fee support system

Some
of the UK’s top employers are considering increasing their financial support
for graduate recruits once universities start charging top-up fees.

According
to the annual Financial Times/Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) survey
two thirds believe that they may offer more financial support. The remainder
are not contemplating significant changes to the packages they already offer to
graduates. 

The
survey is intended to provide an early indication of how employers anticipate
changes to the higher education system will impact on graduate recruitment. The
results come in the wake of the Government’s January White Paper The Future of
Higher Education, which outlined plans to allow universities to charge students
tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year.

A
quarter of respondents to the survey think it likely that their organisation
will increase starting salaries, nearly 10 per cent may offer larger joining
bonuses and a few believe they may offer to pay off student debts accrued by
employees – either in total or in part. 

More
than 17 per cent of recruiters think it likely that they will offer more paid
internships and in excess of 12 per cent predict that they may offer students
some form of sponsorship. 

Carl
Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR said: "This survey suggests that
employers are considering bearing some of the cost of top-up fees. I think
employers want their new recruits to concentrate on their induction and
training rather than being worried about paying off debts. But it’s still early
days, and policies may change as employers see how the new system will work in
practice. It will be interesting to discover in time whether the remuneration
packages that employers offer are going to influence graduate career
choice."

By Quentin Reade

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