03A more detailed look at the movement of students and graduates
This section explores the migration patterns of students and graduates into and out of the city using two data sets from the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA). The first looks at admissions (for all students at university in 2014/15). As Crawley does not have a university campus, the focus will be on where Crawley’s students moved to for university. The second is based on a survey of graduates six months after graduation (for leavers in 2013/14 and 2014/15). Unlike the ONS data used above, this covers the whole of the UK.
Almost half of all young people in Crawley who went to a UK university stayed in the Greater South East
If we look at where Crawley’s students decided to study, the data shows that the majority of those who moved to study elsewhere did not go very far: 44 per cent of those who moved remained in the South East and 25 per cent moved to London (Figure 8).
If we look at the cities they moved to, 27 per cent of these movers went to study in London and 15 per cent of these moved to Brighton (Figure 9).
Movements of new graduates post university
As Crawley does not have a university campus, the city needs to attract new graduates from elsewhere be that returners. These can either be that returners – those students that leave for university and return after graduation – or new graduates that move to the city for work. These two groups determine the size of the graduate workforce in the local economy.
A third of Crawley’s students return to the city for work
When we look at the number of students who left Crawley for university, only a third came back to the city after graduation. This is the 4th lowest return rate among UK cities; London had the highest one – 74 per cent.
Figure 10 compares the return rate in Crawley with the other 13 UK cities without a university campus: only Slough, Basildon and Aldershot have a lower rate than Crawley. Interestingly, all these cities are located in the Greater South East and in all more than a quarter of the students who do not return ended up working in London. This is not surprising given the capital’s attractiveness as a place to work.
Figure 11 shows the employment destinations of those students who did not return after graduation. The majority of these new graduates did not end up working very far from Crawley: 32 per cent worked in London and 54 per cent in the rest of the South East.
Figure 11: Employment destinations of Crawley’s students who do not return to Crawley after graduation, by region, 2013/14 – 2014/15
Looking on a city basis shows that London attracted over a third of these new graduates. Brighton was the second most popular destination, attracting 5 per cent (Figure 12).
Figure 12: Employment destinations of Crawley’s students who do not return to Crawley after graduation, by city, 2013/14 – 2014/15
More than half of those who move in for work come from the Greater South East
Another component of graduate migration comprises of those attracted into Crawley for the first time after graduation to work. While graduate retention figures tend to get a lot of attention, the ability of a city to attract in new graduates from elsewhere is an important part of increasing the number of degree holders in a city. For cities without a university campus, attracting new graduates is even more important. New graduates who moved to Crawley for work represented 80 per cent of the new graduate workforce, the highest share among the UK cities without a university campus, showing the success of the city of doing this.
Figure 13 shows the origins of those who moved into Crawley for work. The majority of these new graduates came from the rest of the Greater South East: 45 per cent came from the rest of the South East and 11 per cent from London.
Figure 14 shows that a fifth of these new graduates who moved to Crawley for work came from Brighton. London was the second largest contributor to Crawley’s new graduates’ labour market – 15 per cent of this cohort came from the capital.
If we look at the breakdown by institution, the largest share – 17 per cent – came from the University of Brighton. The second largest share – 5 per cent – came from the University of Chichester (Figure 15).
This meant that Crawley experienced a “new graduate gain”
Combining this data on student and new graduate moves shows that overall Crawley gained from these migration patterns. Between 2013 and 2015, 615 graduates who responded to the survey had left Crawley to go to university elsewhere. Of these, 185 returned after graduation. These returners were joined by 735 graduates who did not grow up in Crawley moved to the city for work (Figure 16).
Overall this means that the city gained 920 new graduates. This gain occurred despite the city not having a university and reflects the job opportunities available. In the next section, we turn to look at new graduate job opportunities in Crawley.