Debt and the maiden workers

January 27, 1995

The cost of getting a steady job means that graduates who get permanent work within six months of taking their degree have on average nearly Pounds 1,200 more debt than those who are still on the dole, according to a survey by Barclays Bank.

A study of 886 recent graduates shows that while 45 per cent are lucky enough to find the first job they are looking for, they are saddled with an average debt of Pounds 2,716. By contrast, the 19 per cent who remain unemployed six months after graduation are left with an average debt of only Pounds 1,554.

Andrew Croft, graduate marketing manager, said that the 22 per cent difference is explained by the "transitional costs" involved in starting a job.

"When graduates get a job, they often have to move house and buy a car, a season ticket and work clothes," he said.

Employed graduates are also more likely to have studied vocational courses, which again are more costly.

Yet employed graduates -- earning about Pounds 12,687 -- are more likely to be unconcerned about their debt. Some 49 per cent said they were "not bothered" about it, whereas just 14 per cent of those in temporary stop-gap jobs -- earning Pounds 7,620 -- could say the same.

Overall, 10 per cent of graduates said they were "angry" about student debt compared with a third of students three years ago.

The survey found that eight out of ten graduates start working life in debt, owing an average of Pounds 2,233. Most is owed to the Student Loan Scheme, an average of Pounds 1,015. The next largest creditors are banks and building societies, about Pounds 561, and parents, Pounds 255.

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