Glasgow and Edinburgh top graduate retention survey

Recent research conducted by student accommodation providers Liberty Living has revealed Glasgow and Edinburgh are the best cities in the UK for keeping students in the city after graduation.

Over half (51 per cent) of students who studied in the Scottish university cities decided to stay to work after their studies.

The study questioned 2,000 recent graduates on where they moved for work after university, and what influenced their decision. It was found that 58 per cent of students leave their city of study after graduation, with one-third (33 per cent) returning home.

London takes third place with 47 per cent of its graduates staying to work in the English capital after finishing their studies.

There are clear reasons why Glasgow is retaining its graduates. The recent graduates were asked to rank various factors of their university experience, 78 per cent rated the city’s culture as good or excellent, making it the best in the UK. It was also voted as having the second-best atmosphere, with 79 per cent of graduates rating it as good or excellent.

While Scottish cities are doing well, Brighton is struggling to keep hold of its students after graduation. The seaside town currently has the worst graduate retention rate in the UK with just 23 per cent of its former students staying for work after they finished their studies.

The research was conducted to uncover how much of a ‘brain drain’ there is in university towns and cities after students graduate, and what caused this.

Family proved to be the biggest influence on students when deciding where to settle after university, even more so than job opportunities. Over one-third (36 per cent) moved to be closer to their family after graduation, compared to 27 per cent of students who said they were influenced by job opportunities.

Twenty-four per cent of students said that house and rent prices influenced their decision on where to work after graduation, while the same percentage also said they moved to be closer to their partner.

These results highlight that ‘brain drain’ is an issue. just 4 per cent of students said that career advice and support from their university influenced their decision on where to work once they had graduated. Universities need to be working with their students and local businesses to help generate further career opportunities in the city.

Top ten university cities for student retention

Glasgow – 51%

Edinburgh – 51%

London – 47%

Birmingham – 41%

Leeds – 39%

Sunderland – 39%

Cambridge – 39%

Newcastle – 36%

Norwich – 33%

Southampton – 32%

Article published 21st November 2019