Students who leave home 'get best jobs'

April 2, 1999

"Rich kid" students who can afford to study away from home have better job prospects than their poorer counterparts, two Newcastle University economists have found.

Tuition fees and other financial constraints are forcing students to study at universities close to home, they argue in a paper for the Royal Economic Society annual conference this week.

Rick Audas and Peter Dolton found that graduates who decide to attend a local university are less likely to move to find suitable work after graduating.

As the trend towards local study grows, so will the polarisation between the job prospects of the mobile rich and the less mobile poor. Students from the more affluent backgrounds, who can afford to study away from home, will be likely to be more mobile after graduating and "better placed to take on the better-paying jobs that require a move", the paper said.

The paper, Fleeing the Nest: Sample Selection, Local Labour Market Conditions and Migration among UK Graduates, is based on a survey of 13,000 graduates. It found that of the students who moved away from home to study, 69.9 per cent were prepared to move to work. This compared with 37.6 per cent of those who studied locally.

The authors believe that the introduction of fees and loans will spur a trend away from student mobility that could have a knock-on effect for the whole economy.

"A mobile labour force is fundamental to a healthy economy because the more skilled candidates seek out the best positions," said Mr Audas. "This kind of job matching could lead to increased productivity, lower staff turnover and often higher wages."

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