Regional concerns

October 30, 2014

It is difficult to understand the basis of the suggestion in the city growth report by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce that graduates do not work in the cities in which they have studied (“Graduates should be matched to local jobs, says report”, 15 October).

An analysis of figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency on UK-domiciled leavers in employment by level of qualification, matched with the region of institution and region of employment after graduation, confirms that the majority of graduates study and then work in the regions in which they originally lived. London records the lowest percentage, but even this stands at almost 56 per cent.

Moreover outside the capital, the South East and the East of England, the majority of graduates are employed in the region in which they studied even if they were not originally from that region. This analysis appears in the Million+ report Smarter Regions Smarter Britain (published in March).

The real issue is not graduate supply or whether graduates stay in the region in which they have studied but rather one of encouraging and incentivising employers to invest in high-quality jobs. The differential regional higher education participation rates must also be addressed. This requires a lead from government and the development of coordinated strategies involving local and regional stakeholders that reach to coast and country and go beyond the major cities.

Pam Tatlow
Chief executive, Million+

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