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The real cost of job hunting

New research from Barclays reveals that landing a job after university costs over £500, with the bank offering free accommodation to graduates across the UK to help cover the costs

  • UK graduates spend an average of £506.55 attending job interviews before securing a full-time role

  • A quarter (25 per cent) of graduates attend five or more interviews before securing a job offer

  • Half of graduates (50 per cent) didn’t apply for a job they wanted because of the associated cost of attending the interview

  • To give university leavers a helping hand in their job search, Barclays is offering those attending interviews in three of the most popular UK cities the chance to apply for free accommodation


New research from Barclays reveals that graduates across the UK are spending an average of £506.55 to secure a job after leaving university, on top of the average student debt of £50,800[1].


With the average graduate attending 3.3 interviews before being given a firm offer, the cost of buying appropriate clothing (£58 per interview), travel and accommodation (£52 per interview), as well as other smaller costs, quickly adds up. And with a quarter (25 per cent) of graduates attending five or more interviews before they are hired, the financial burden can be significant.


The findings showed that more than 43 per cent of graduates hadn’t been able to attend interviews they had been offered because of how much it would cost them, while half (50 per cent) didn’t even apply for jobs in certain locations for the same reason.  With an already limited budget, many are having to turn to their family and friends (42 per cent) to fund the cost of interviewing and even use their overdrafts or credit cards (32 per cent) to cover the costs.


To support those looking to start their careers, Barclays will offer graduate interviewees the chance to apply for up to two nights’ free accommodation in some of the UK’s most popular cities. City centre apartments will be available for free to graduates interviewing in London, Birmingham and Manchester for one month, from the 30th October 2017.


Sue Hayes, Managing Director of Personal Banking at Barclays commented: “It’s shocking to see the true cost of landing that first job out of university. Graduates already face a challenging job market on top of record levels of student debt, so it’s disheartening to see how many of them are struggling to cover the costs of even attending an interview.


“We hope that by offering free accommodation in some of the most popular cities for graduate jobs, we’ll go some way to helping those who would otherwise struggle. We also offer a range of additional benefits for graduates who bank with us including the added security of a £3,000 fee-free overdraft in the first year, as well cashback on over 150 retailers across the country.”


Available for two nights at a time per graduate, the apartments will offer a home-away-from-home for the 56 per cent of graduates who choose to work outside of their city of study, giving them a comfortable space to prepare and get ready for their interview, and a base from which they can explore their chosen city.


The three apartments are provided free of charge and are available first-come, first-served for a month from 30th October. To book or find out more visit: [] or search for ‘Barclays Graduate Rooms’ on Eventbrite.


For more information about Barclays Graduate Accounts, visit:  


For Barclays LifeSkills interview tips and more information on how to prepare for the workplace, visit

[1] Institute for Fiscal Studies, 2017

Notes to editors

Mortar polled 2,000 graduates and graduating students for Barclays in August 2017.


About the apartments

To apply, graduates can search for ‘Barclays Graduate Rooms’ on Eventbrite. If you match the terms and conditions, then hit the register button to select the city and dates you would like to attend.

After reserving a spot you will be contacted by Barclays and asked to provide a degree certificate, or student card showing a 2017 graduation date and proof of an interview. Once this is received your place will be confirmed.

About the Barclays Graduate Account (Higher Education Account)

  • Graduates are eligible for up to a £3,000 fee-free overdraft in the first year after graduating. Representative example: Fee-free overdraft up to £3,000 (subject to application, status and lending criteria) while you stay within that limit.  

  • Graduates can sign up to Barclays Blue Rewards and earn a £7 monthly Loyalty Reward. To be eligible, Graduates must have at least £800 paid into their account every month, two direct debits paid out, be registered for Online or Mobile Banking and pay a £3 monthly fee.

  • Cashback at over 150 retailers, including 6% on selected hotel and 3% on selected hotel and flight bookings with Expedia.

  • For full information and benefits of Barclays Higher Education account, visit

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .