Free Labor

Eager graduates face City struggle
Richard Partington

01 Sep 2011
University students who graduated earlier this summer are finding it tougher to find a job in finance than in previous years, according to a survey by

Only 16% of graduate jobseekers surveyed had managed to secure a job in finance, despite high numbers of students willing to work for free in the sector. In the same survey last year, 29% of those graduating said they had already been offered a job in financial services.

Of the 234 students that responded to the online survey between June 17 and July 24, 98% said they wanted to start work as soon as their studies finished. Only a handful said they wanted to take a gap year in order to allow the job market to recover.

Three quarters of students said they were willing to work for free in order to land a job, up from 63% last year.

More than a third of respondents said they thought it would take up to three months to land a job, while 28% said they thought it could take as long as six months.

The most sought after companies to work for in the survey were Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Barclays Capital, the same three firms that topped a similar survey last year.

James Bennett, managing director at, said: “Students fully understand that securing their first job in the City is going to be extremely challenging this year but our findings suggest that the overwhelming majority remain undeterred.”

— Write to Richard Partington at