Graduate Flows: Where do south west students and graduates end up working? Where do new graduate employees in the south west come from?

Posted on Friday, November 2, 2018 by Gradsouthwest TeamNo comments

Spoiler alert: the answer to both is the south west!

It is often assumed that graduates are highly mobile and select their location of work after they graduate based on the best career options open to them. This is actually far from the truth – graduates really aren’t all that mobile. The latest data from HESA gives us an insight into graduate flows for the 2016-17 graduate cohort^.

Let’s start by looking at where south west domiciled students end up working.

Students that live in the south west before attending university are very likely to attend university in their home region. In fact for students that live in the south west, 45% will also study in the south west, and 86% of them will then stay in the region to work. Of those that lived in the region, but left to study, 49% will return to the region to work.

So the answer to question 1: “Where do south west students and graduates end up working?” is that overall 65% of students and graduates from the region work in the region. 9% move to the south east to work, and 13% to London, with other regions and nations accounting for fewer than 3% each.

Looking now at where new south west graduate employees come from there are four sources:

  1. those who have stayed in the south west throughout living, studying and working here; 41% of new graduate employees
  2. those that lived in the region, but studied elsewhere, before returning; 26% of new graduate employees
  3. those that lived elsewhere, but studied in the region and stayed; 14% of new graduate employees
  4. those who had no previous connection with the region until they decided to work in the south west; 16% of new graduate employees

The largest inflows come from the south east and Wales, closely followed by the west midlands – hardly surprising if graduates aren’t very mobile as these are our neighbouring areas.

Here is all that data in one diagram for you thanks to HESA:

UK domiciled higher education leavers in work in the UK by region of domicile, region of HE provider and region of employment


So if you are a student, the message is clear – most students build their career in the region they lived or studied in.

For employers the message is equally clear – most of your new graduate employees will come from the south west. And you know how to target student in the south west don’t you… via of course.




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