Graduates resigned to debt

March 28, 1997

GRADUATES are increasingly accepting debt as a fact of life, according to the findings of a national survey.

Only one third of students graduating last year said they were worried, concerned or angry, compared with 41 per cent the year before, the Barclays Bank probe found.

Women graduates have lower debts than men, an average Pounds 2,948 compared to Pounds 3,438, yet they are more worried about repayments. Forty per cent of women graduates said they were concerned about their debts, compared to 28 per cent of men.

The survey also found women graduates are increasingly losing out to their male peers in the race to get the best jobs and salaries. While women graduates reported an average starting salary of Pounds 11,749, male graduates averaged Pounds 13,660 - 16 per cent more. This compares with a salary difference between the sexes of 6 per cent among 1995 graduates.

Degree class and subject continue to be important factors in determining success in job seeking. Graduates with vocational and applied degrees were most likely to gain the job they wanted, while maths and science graduates were least likely.

Maths, science and social sciences students in their final year had the most unrealistic expectations about starting salaries. On average, they overestimated their likely starting pay by nearly Pounds 3,000.

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