It’s a myth that students move to university and then leave en masse for London after they graduate. So says the latest What do Graduates Do report from Prospects Luminate which details employment outcomes for the graduate cohort of 2016/7.
For the south west, the figures bear this out; most working graduates are drawn from within the region with 67% originally domiciled and 66% studying here. Indeed, the south west fares well as the fifth most popular of all twelve regions.
It is also a myth that south west graduate employment is predominantly in SMEs. Over 55% of the surveyed cohort work in large businesses with over 1,000 employees - a fact often overlooked by the students we talk to. Only 31% work in SMEs.
Interestingly, unlike some other regions, recruitment agencies and websites like Gradsouthwest are the most popular way for graduates to find work, closely followed by employers’ websites. If you want to recruit graduates into your business, the implication is clear – make your website the best it can be to attract the talent.
And attracting the talent is critical for the occupational shortages particular to the south west, namely:
- Medical practitioners
- Programmers and software developers
- Business and financial project managers
- Marketing associates
- Sales accounts and business development managers
Conversely, the top ten industries entered by this graduate cohort are:
- Human health activities
- Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
- Public administration and defence; compulsory social security
- Food and beverage service activities
- Architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis
- Computer programming, consultancy and related activities
- Legal and accounting activities
- Creative, arts and entertainment activities
- Social work activities without accommodation
The overlap between these two lists might seem contradictory but suggests that, for those hard to fill vacancies, the talent is out there - employers may just have to work harder to attract it. This means making sure the salary is competitive (we see too many that aren’t resulting in a failure to recruit), offering training and opportunities for career progression, and thinking about what other perks might make you stand out; flexible working, gym membership, generous annual leave etc.
For this graduate cohort, the average starting salary was £21,454. Given that time has elapsed since this figure, and that graduate employment is high, employers may want to treat this as a benchmark for minimum starting salaries. Those recruiting to areas of occupational shortage will obviously need to consider more. Much more in some cases.
Whilst graduate employment is centred in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Devon, more graduates are located outside of cities than is the case in many other UK regions. This bodes well for those recruiting outside of the major centres although employers may need to consider how to explain the location and transport links to those not familiar with the area.
The full report, including references, can be found at Prospects Luminate.