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UK cities failing to lure graduate talent

Words: Huw Morris

UK cities are struggling to attract high-achieving graduates who are crucial to economic growth, says a leading think tank.

Research by the Centre for Cities reveals that top students are instead moving to London for job opportunities and career progression.

A quarter of all new graduates from UK universities in 2014 and 2015 were working in the capital within six months of finishing their degree.

London also attracted more than a third of new Russell Group graduates with a first-class or upper second-class degree in 2014-15, some 13 times more than Manchester, the second most popular destination for this group.

More than half of Oxbridge graduates moved to London compared with 2 per cent in Birmingham and Bristol.

To redress the imbalance, the think tank urges cities to focus on strengthening their economies by investing in transport, housing, innovation and enterprise. They should also prioritise developing homegrown talent and improve educational attainment among local people rather than attracting graduates from other places.

“The government will not achieve its vision of extending prosperity and growth across the country unless it takes steps to help more cities attract and retain the UK’s top talent,” says Centre for Cities chief executive Alexandra Jones. “Wage subsidies and other specific graduate-retention policies will not tackle the root causes of this issue.

“Instead, the priority for national and local leaders should be strengthening city-region economies, and increasing local demand and opportunities for graduates.”

The Great British Brain Drain: Where Graduates Move And Why is available here.