More employers should offer graduates one-off joining fees
or interest free loans to help ease the burden of starting a first job and
attract the right candidates.
Delegates at the conference heard that the idea of a ‘golden
hello’ payment will often help graduates, who on average have debts of £10,000
when they finish their studies, decide between employers.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate
Recruiters, believes the payments offer organisations a chance to get ahead of
rivals while helping graduates to settle into work.
"It gives firms a competitive edge and increasingly
employers recognise that starting work for the first time is an expensive
business," he told delegates.
"It makes sense for employers to offer loans and
joining fees. Organisations should help to reduce the anxiety of starting work
and all the costs associated with that."
NUS president Mandy Telford said not enough companies
recognised the benefits of providing ‘golden hellos’ even though AGR research
reveals one in four firms are now offering some form of financial joining
"The average amount of debt is £10,000 but many
students will owe much more. To work effectively graduates might have to buy a
suit or a car and if a company is in a position to offer these things, they
should," she said.