June 16, 2010 / 12:33 PM / 9 years ago

Most students "optimistic" about prospects

LONDON (Reuters) - The majority of final year students graduating this year are optimistic about their prospects after university, whether in a career or not, according to a survey.

Students cheer as President Barack Obama attends the 2010 Kalamazoo Central High School graduation at Western Michigan University in Michigan, June 7, 2010. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Three-quarters of those asked said they would not rule out becoming a full-time carer to an elderly parent and 32 percent of men said they would consider quitting their jobs to look after a child.

“Graduates hold very progressive attitudes when it comes to family, gender roles, and work-life balance, but our workplaces and our tax system are not set up to reflect these views,” said Jen Lexmond, of London-based think-tank, Demos.

The study of 1,312 students aged 25 or under was carried out in May for Endsleigh insurers and will contribute to a more detailed study that Demos is conducting over the Summer.

It found that this year’s graduates are concerned about the impact of the recession on their immediate futures.

Half of those questioned said their prospects of finding a job had decreased from when they first started at University. Yet despite this, they had an optimistic outlook about their careers, family life and wider impact on society.

Ian Passmore, Managing Director of Endsleigh, said the “Class of 2010” will be a unique set of graduates.

“The vast majority started university before the economic downturn began to bite yet they will all be entering a working world hit by private and public sector job cuts,” he added in a statement.

“Half of those questioned have, accordingly, experienced a decrease in their prospects.

“However, students for the most part identified a good work-to-life balance as the most important factor in choosing a career as opposed to only 15 percent that identified salary as the most important factor in choosing a career.”

Most students expect to earn starting salaries of 20-25,000 pounds, the survey revealed.

Aaron Porter, President-elect of the National Union of Students said: “Out of the rubble of the economy and labor market, graduates are, of necessity, taking an increasingly creative and imaginative approach to building and shaping their lives after university.”

Reporting by Jonathan Parr; Editing by Steve Addison

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