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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Wages of youth

ANALYSIS

Many of the recent letters complaining at the low salaries paid to new graduates suggest that civil engineers alone face this problem and that graduates in other disciplines have little difficulty in finding jobs in the City at fabulous salaries.

The problem is much wider and affects new graduates more generally. In the central government department where I work as a civil engineer, almost all the new entrants to clerical and secretarial jobs, that used to be taken by people with 5 'O' levels, now have degrees. Many are perfectly respectable degrees from traditional red brick universities. Among my own children's friends, many science graduates with good degrees have difficulty finding work in their own field. And when they do it can be at much lower salaries then those enjoyed by civil engineers - see the appointments pages of New Scientist.

The truth is that there are far more people graduating than there are traditional graduate level jobs available and this is common to all disciplines. Architects appear to be having an even worse time than civils.

No doubt there are examples of graduates entering the City and paid £20,000 a year and more. Management consultants and accountancy firms have always paid good salaries to ensure they get the very best graduates. But to suggest such salaries can be had for the picking by most graduates is plainly wrong.

Martin Sergeant, msergeant@btinternet.com

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