25th July 2013

Graduate Utilisation vs Retention

Most graduates are highly skilled, motivated individuals who are capable of offering new ideas and insights. Policymakers know that these qualities are the drivers of economic growth and for at least a decade have been asking questions about graduate 'retention'. How can we encourage graduates to stay on after university and give back to the city or region that educated them?

These debates are out-dated. They fail to take account of increased participation in higher education, the death of regionalism and the localism renaissance. As an organisation with its roots in graduate recruitment Gradcore has been as guilty of this insular view as any. But our focus, and that of policymakers, employers, universities and graduates themselves has to now change to graduate 'utilisation'. Utilisation is about how we ensure that we maximise the potential of graduates for their own benefit and for that of the local economy.

New questions raised by the concept of graduate utilisation include:

  • Is graduate under-employment a waste of our investment in higher education?
  • Are all graduates equal or are there certain types of graduates required in different locations?
  • Can SME's provide good enough progression opportunities to attract high calibre graduates?
  • What is the role of the university in local growth? How much responsibility do they retain for their alumni?

Martin Edmondson, CEO, Gradcore.