Where do bright young things settle after graduation?

Graduates from all fields of study other than agriculture are attracted to locate in places that have high overall quality of business, which tend to be the large cities. High quality of life is also an attractor for some students but its impact is more diffuse than is the pull of income opportunities.

A highly-educated population is one of the key drivers of local growth and prosperity. One of the main challenges facing non-metropolitan regions is the attraction and retention of tertiary educated graduates.

Local decision-makers wish to attract and retain young qualified people, but what are the specific drivers that encourage graduates to settle in a particular place? What are the chances of students returning upon graduation? Is there potential to attract other graduates to the area?

New research by Building Better researchers from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research has analysed the locations of choice of university and polytechnic students in New Zealand following graduation, with some interesting results.

“Predictably, graduates are attracted to locate in places that have high-quality production amenities, resulting in good job opportunities,” says Arthur Grimes, Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research and one of the authors of the paper.

“But what is also interesting is that both creative arts and commerce graduates are drawn to places that are attractive to business. It would appear there is a real symbiosis between ‘bohemians’ and business.”

Armed with this knowledge, local decision-makers for non-metropolitan towns and cities can seek to leverage their existing amenities to act as drawcards to recent graduates.

Read the report by the Motu/BBHTC Thriving Regions research team:

Grimes, A. Badenhorst, S., Maré, D., Poot, J. & Sin, I. (2020). Hometown & whānau, or big city & millennials? The economic geography of graduate destination choices in New Zealand. Motu Working Paper 20-04 for Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities Thriving Regions. July 2020, 68pgs. Wellington: Motu.

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Date posted: 8 July 2020