Attracting and retaining talent – a view from the Centre for Cities, and what we can learn in the South West.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
It is well known that students and graduates are mobile – with many travelling away from their home to study, and then again to find their first graduate job.

The ability of a place to attract students and retain graduates impacts its economy and potential for growth. The Centre for Cities has shown that Bristol, Bournemouth, Exeter, Gloucester, Southampton, Swindon and Plymouth are all net gainers of graduates. This is good news for the South West!

Quoting from their blog on the work: “Our research suggests that cities that gained the most graduates did so because of their strong economies and the opportunities they offer. 

It is not graduate salaries which explain the differences in graduate gains in cities across the country, but instead the job opportunities and career progression that they can provide. And this applies in terms of both retaining graduates who studied locally, and attracting others from other places. Looking at the type of jobs, our data shows that graduate gains were generally larger in places where knowledge intensive businesses employment accounted for a larger share of all new graduate positions.”

So what can we learn from this?

- If we want to attract and retain graduates then opportunities need to exist and be visible.

- We need to support the creation of more knowledge intensive jobs in an area – to generate career paths and routes for development.

- We need to make places attractive to live and work.

Gradsouthwest can’t create opportunities, but we can certainly help make them visible to students and graduates. We can, and do, encourage employers to consider recent graduates as suitable recruits, and we support career development activities. We are currently working with Universities and Colleges to help with employability and mentoring. And we think we are blessed in the South West with having a naturally wonderful place to live and work.

Now it is over to the employers to create more high-skill, knowledge jobs… and of course to advertise them on Gradsouthwest!


Dr Deborah Watson

Director, Gradsouthwest Ltd.



Centre for Cities -