North East good at retaining graduate 'stayers' in the workforce

New data maps the migration of graduates six months after leaving university

Chris Ison/PA Wire University graduates
University graduates

The North East is one of the best regions at retaining graduates who come to study in here, new data shows.

Nearly 14% of the region’s employed graduates were “stayers” – those who had come to the region to study and work.

The data, collected from those who left university in 2013, shows the North East is only behind Yorkshire, the East Midlands and the South West in terms of the number of stayers it retains.

The region also has the highest proportion of “loyals” – those who live, study and then find work in the region.

Some 62% of graduates employed in the region fell into this category.

Most of these graduates were employed in retail, health and education, while more than half of those who moved away from the North East to study, before returning for work, were employed in “professional-level” jobs.

The research comes from the Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) and its Graduate Market Trends study, which gauges how successful regions are at retaining graduates six months after they leave university.

The North East was shown to have the smallest proportion of inbound graduates, who had neither studied or lived in the region. Those who did come to the region for work were more likely to be in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) jobs.

Last year North East technology industry seniors rebuffed suggestions that too many North East STEM students were leaving the region after graduation.

They were responding to a report from centre right think-tank Policy Exchange, which showed 37% of North East STEM students left the region after graduation. This proportion was much higher in Yorkshire and the Humber at 55%.

North East technology figures said the region’s industry is able to retain and attract top talent, despite the dominance of London and the South East.

Charlie Ball, head of higher education intelligence at Prospects and its parent charity HECSU, said: “Graduation migration patterns are complex. The research demonstrates the differences between different forms of retention, the challenges in thinking of graduate retention, and what that might actually mean.

“It highlights different approaches for universities and local authorities looking to secure graduate talent – targeting graduates originally domiciled in their region and those who went to university there.

“A skilled and educated workforce is a boon to any region looking for economic growth and the regional agenda for graduate employment is becoming increasingly important.”

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