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 incentive.
"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.