Big Four loan deals to lure graduates

The Big Four are offering university students more incentives than ever to
accept jobs, sparking a record number of graduates joining the profession.

Interest-free loans have more than doubled over the last two years throughout
the Big Four, from around £3,000 to an average of £7,000 in 2005.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will see its first 50 ‘gap scholar’ graduates, who
have benefited from a ‘non-repayable’ fee of £1,500 each year join in 2006,
while Deloitte is offering students an interest-free loan of £1,000 up to 18
months before graduation.

Sarah Shillingford, head of graduate recruitment at Deloitte said: ‘Students
must first sign a contract but it allows them to defer entry to the firm and use
the money for a gap year or to reduce debt before joining.’

Gary Watson, managing director of the finance division of recruitment company
Michael Page, said the Big Four were also being forced to ramp up incentive
packages in order to retain key staff, including sabbaticals, MBA funding and

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