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. The Great British Brain Drain investigates migration within the UK, specifically between cities.1 It finds that migrants tend to be younger and more highly-skilled than the population overall. Looking specifically at graduate migration, many university cities lose some of their graduates to London and this movement is especially strong for the highest performing graduates with 2.1 or 1st class degrees from Russell Group universities. Despite this, most university cities experience a ‘graduate gain’; they gain more graduates than they lose. This is because the majority of movements to and from cities consist of students moving to a new city for university, and then moving again for work, with over half of all graduates following this pattern.

This briefing is a complementary piece of analysis to the main report, in which we look in detail at the nature of migration and graduate mobility to and from Newcastle. Firstly, it looks at overall migration patterns into and out of Newcastle. Secondly, it looks specifically at the movements of students and new graduates. Finally, it looks at the new graduate labour market in the city.

Centre for Cities uses the Primary Urban Area (PUA) definition of cities. For Newcastle this comprises of Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside and South Tyneside local authorities. For more information visit: centreforcities.org/puas.


  • 1 Swinney P and Williams M, The Great British Brain Drain: where graduates move and why, London: Centre for Cities