Northern England “suffers brain drain as graduates flock to cities”


Northern England and the coastal regions are experiencing a ‘brain drain’ of university graduates as many move to London and other cities with better labor market opportunities, a report suggests.

Graduates are 10 percentage points more likely to have left the region they grew up in than otherwise similar non-graduates by age 27, according to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The researchers say that geographic inequalities are “exacerbated” by graduates who move from the most disadvantaged areas of the country to settle in cities to improve their career prospects.

Policymakers should think about how to attract and retain talent in less affluent fields, they add.

Ethnic minorities and people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds are less likely to relocate than their peers, according to the IFS report, funded by the Ministry of Education (DfE).

Graduates who leave the poorest fifth of families are more than seven percentage points less likely to move to cities than those of the richest fifth, the researchers found.

The report states that black and Asian graduates are no more mobile than otherwise similar non-graduates.

Cities like London, Bristol and Brighton, which are already producing large numbers of graduates, are earning more through migration, while there is a brain drain from the North and coastal areas, which are already producing low numbers of graduates. .

Researchers have found that only 19% of those growing up in Grimsby graduate from college. But many graduates are leaving, so by age 27, only 12% of the same cohorts living in Grimsby have degrees.

In contrast, 35% of those who grow up in London earn degrees. Even more graduates are moving to London, so 44% of the same cohorts living in London at 27 are graduates.

The researchers analyzed related administrative, academic and tax records for all pupils born in the late 1980s and having completed their GCSE in England between 2002 and 2005.

Tax records include data on where people live during their working lives, which has allowed researchers to assess how geographic mobility varies by education, socio-economic background, and origin. ethnic.

Xiaowei Xu, senior research economist at IFS and co-author of the report, said: “By moving from the most disadvantaged areas to London and other cities, graduates improve their own career prospects, but this exacerbates geographic inequalities in skills.

“In addition to ‘upping’ the level of education across the country, policymakers should consider how to attract and retain talent in places that are currently less well off. “

Ben Waltmann, senior research economist at IFS and co-author of the report, said: to be quite high.

“This suggests that reducing barriers to the geographic mobility of these graduates could be an important way to improve their labor market outcomes and therefore boost social mobility.”

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), said: “As many policymakers are among those who have left the area where they grew up for the bright lights of London, they tend to find it difficult to explain why it is a bad trip for others to take.

“It’s also a particularly big challenge in the UK, where a residential university experience away from home is the norm and where London is so dominant.

“So overall this is yet another challenge for the new ministerial team and especially those who have the responsibility to level up.”

A spokesperson for the DfE said: “This report shows that higher education is an important lever for social mobility, but we know that for too long young people have felt that they do not have the local opportunities necessary to realize their full potential.

“This is why we are providing billions of pounds of new funding to support leveling across the country, improving services and increasing local opportunities.

“Universities play a central role in this mission, engaging locally and partnering with businesses so that all students, regardless of location or background, can pursue rewarding careers. “

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