Glasgow and Edinburgh ranked best for student retention in UK, says study

Credit: Citybase Apartments

Temisan Atsegoh

Glasgow and Edinburgh are the best cities in the UK for keeping students after graduation, according to new research.

Liberty Living, a UK student accommodation provider, listed Glasgow and Edinburgh top amongst 10 cities for student retention. The cities were rated on atmosphere, amenities and transport links.

Glasgow and Edinburgh had a retention rate of 51% while London had a retention rate of 47%, Birmingham at 41%, and Leeds at 39%.

The study questioned 2,000 recent graduates on where they moved to for work after university and what influenced their decisions. The research showed that 58% of students leave the city after graduation, with 33% returning home after graduation.

The biggest influencers on graduates’ decisions are family, job opportunities, house prices, relationships and career advice. 36% of graduates moved to be closer to their families after graduation while 27% moved due to the location of their jobs. Rent and house prices influenced 24% of graduates while 24% moved due to their partner. However, only 4% said that career advice influenced their decision.

Lesley Loftus, from Liberty Living, said: “Students are valuable assets to cities. Keeping these bright young minds improves the local workforce and helps boost local businesses. The research shows Scottish universities are doing many right things to help encourage their students to stay after graduation.

“Providing career advice and helping create good links and opportunities will help keep more students in the city they studied. Supporting students in finding graduate jobs will not only improve the local economy, but also advertise the university as an attractive choice for undergrads.”

Creative Arts, Computer Science and Law graduates are the most likely to stay in the city.

Glasgow School of Art are successful when it comes to retaining graduates, with just over half deciding to stay on after finishing their studies. Of those graduates who stay, 65% were not originally from Glasgow. 

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland also retained graduates who were not from Glasgow and their retention rate was even higher at 71%.

A study commissioned by the Royal Mail found Edinburgh as the most attractive city in the UK to live and work in. The Scottish city’s access to education, healthcare and green spaces saw it rank higher than anywhere else in Britain. ranked Glasgow as Europe’s top city for new graduates in October last year based on factors including rent prices, cost of living, salaries, the presence of other graduates in the city, sports and fitness facilities, and entertainment and cultural events.


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