Adviser on the Edge

careers in island communities: research, theory and practice

“Moving home” or “moving for employment” – Trends in Graduate Migration

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I have just been reading a short paper: ‘The complex migration pathways of UK graduates[1]. In this project an online survey was conducted of graduates from Southampton University (2001-7) capturing data about their movements and statuses over 5 years.

The main finding is that migration choices after University can be complex with: ‘approximately one quarter of respondents [being] highly mobile during the five year period after leaving university (they moved between 5-8 times)…’ (p.1)

However, what interested me particularly were the reasons behind the migration patterns… So where the most common reason for a graduate’s first move was ‘return to parents’ (32.7%), the most common reason for a graduate’s second move was ‘employment’ (32.3%). Further, with each subsequent move, greater proportions of migrants moved to London, or back to Southampton. To me, this is interesting because I wonder what impact the parents’ location may have on migration pathways. For some graduates, for example, the parental home may be in a very remote area some distance from University and / or from London, whereas other parents may actually live in the London area. So, what impact does this have on rural graduates? Is ‘going home’ more or less likely after graduation if it involves moving a long distance away? Once home do graduates feel the pressure to move back to an urban environment more acutely or once they’ve moved is it harder to move such a long distance back to an urban area? If anyone reading this blog has any thoughts about this I’d love to hear them!

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London – preferred destination for Southampton graduates… even if it takes them several moves to get there.

One further interesting point for me, is that in the research paper, hidden away towards the bottom of the list of reasons for the first move post-graduation is the phrase ‘urban-rural’ which accounts for 3 answers or 0.5% of the sample… while this is a very small number, this reason intrigues me…! There is simply not enough detail in the paper to be able to read between the lines about what this might represent though, so I may just have to remain intrigued!


[1] ESRC Centre for Population Change Briefing 9 October 2012 Sage, J; Evandrou, M; and Falkingham, J.

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