Study There, Work There, Profit There

Times Higher Education, March 27, 2014 | Go to article overview

Study There, Work There, Profit There


Investing in regional universities would rebalance UK economy, study finds. David Matthews writes

Last December, Vince Cable, the business secretary, memorably described London as "a kind of giant suction machine, draining the life out of the rest of the country".

But at least when it comes to universities, new research suggests that the city is not so much a suction machine as a geyser, drawing in students and then hurling them back out after graduation.

In fact, the North retains a greater proportion of the graduates who have studied there than the capital and the South and East of England, and so keeps more of the economic impact of universities, according to a report titled Smarter Regions, Smarter Britain: Boosting Regional Growth Through Universities.

Investment in higher education could therefore help to rebalance the UK economy and stimulate growth outside London, according to the research by Million+, which represents a number of post-92 universities.

Million+ commissioned the consultancy London Economics to track students who graduated in 2011-12 and were employed in England six months later, to see where they were working. Their economic impact was calculated by looking at how much they were earning and the taxes they were paying.

Eighty per cent of the economic impact from graduates of universities in the North East stayed in the region, it finds. Overall, these graduates produced an impact worth £1.73 billion across England; just £20 million of that was in London.

Yet only 43 per cent of the economic impact of London graduates stayed in the capital, with the remainder distributed across the rest of England, particularly the South and East.

The North West retained 76 per cent of the economic impact of its graduates, according to the report, while Yorkshire/Humber (68 per cent), the East Midlands (60 per cent) and the West Midlands (60 per cent) also held on to the majority of their graduates' earning power. …

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