East Midlands struggling to retain young talent, latest study finds

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Less than one-fifth of the students studying at East Midlands universities say they plan to stay in the region after they graduate, according to the findings of a new study.

The research by Grant Thornton UK LLP surveyed 1,080 university students from across the country and examined student migration patterns, as well as the drivers behind where students want to live and work.

The study’s findings reveal the East Midlands is one of the worst UK regions for graduate retention, appearing to struggle to hold onto and appeal to its future talent, with only 17% of its students saying they plan to stay in the region after graduating.

Some 69% of the East Midlands’ university students said they don’t want to stay and live and work in the East Midlands post-graduation, with 33% of these saying they want to move to London.

The research also looked at what matters most to students when choosing where they want to live and work post-graduation.

This found that time spent travelling was considered the biggest motivator for East Midlands students (55% of respondents), closely followed by being able to visit family and friends (47%).

Also ranking highly were achieving a good work-life balance (42%), having things to do and places to visit in their free time (42%), and housing affordability (44%).

Career development and job availability were voted as being of equal importance by 36% of respondents.

Chris Frostwick, partner and practice leader of Grant Thornton’s East Midlands office

Commenting on the study, Chris Frostwick, practice leader of Grant Thornton’s East Midlands office, said: “Clearly the region as a whole needs to change how it works to retain the talent of the future and encourage the next generation of workers to stay.

“The challenge for the region is to ensure it can keep hold of its brightest young talent and put a stop to the evident problems of retaining student talent.

“Our universities also need to be proactive in fostering stronger links with local businesses and creating a viable and attractive pathway for departing students to enter the local economy.”