00Executive Summary

The economic performance of UK cities is increasingly dependent on the skills of their workforce. Cities across the UK face the challenge of both attracting and retaining high-skilled talent.

This briefing looks at the nature of migration and graduate mobility into and out of Crawley.

It finds that overall Crawley lost people to most regions. Between 2009 and 2015, the city lost people to all regions with the exception of London and this resulted in a net outflow of 2,300 people from the city.

The majority of these migration flows were between Crawley and the rest of the South East. 62 per cent of the people that moved out of Crawley remained in the South East, while 57 per cent of those moving into the city were from the rest of the region. This resulted into a net outflow to the rest of the South East.

It gained 22 to 30 year olds but lost people in all other age groups. Unlike other small cities, the number of 16 to 21 year olds leaving Crawley was greater than that of those coming into the city and this can be explained by the lack of a university campus. But it attracted 22 to 30 year olds and this group includes new graduates moving into the city for work.

The majority all young people who went to university stayed in the Greater South East. 75 per cent of those who moved remained in the Greater South East. When we look at cities, 27 per cent moved to London and 15 per cent moved to Brighton.

A third of Crawley’s students returned to the city after graduation. Among UK cities without a university campus, only Slough, Basildon and Aldershot have a lower return rate than Crawley. For all these cities the pull of London is likely to explain this pattern.

But Crawley is very successful at attracting new graduates from elsewhere. 80 per cent of new graduates working in Crawley had no prior connection to the city. Almost half of these came from the Greater South East. When we look at which cities these new graduates came from, Brighton – 20 per cent – and London – 15 per cent – were the two largest contributors.

This means that Crawley gained new graduates. This gain took place despite the city not having a university campus and reflects the strength of its economy.

Crawley has a strong private sector. Among UK cities, it has the lowest share of new graduates working in publicly-funded services jobs and this indicates the strength of its economy. Crawley also had the highest share of new graduates working in the Logistics and Communication industry.