Manchester's Large Graduate Population Attracts Investment Opportunities - MIDAS

Manchester’s Large Graduate Population Attracts Investment Opportunities

21 January, 2009

Research released by MIDAS, Manchester's inward investment agency, reveals that universities in the Manchester City Region (MCR) should build better links with small and medium sized enterprises (SME) and encourage students to join a SME.

‘The Graduate Retention and Language Skills Report: an Analysis of the Graduate Pool to support the development of the investment proposition of the Manchester City Region (MCR),’ also highlights the strength of the MCR’s universities in attracting and retaining high quality graduates.

The city currently has over 100, 000 students across five universities including: Manchester University, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Salford, the University of Bolton and University Centre Oldham. In addition to the five universities there are a further 18 universities and HEIs in the Northwest with the number of students rising to 400, 000 within the MCR.

The development of relationships with SMEs is particularly pertinent in the current economic climate where large companies are curbing graduate employment schemes and university leavers are having problems finding employment. MIDAS works with growing companies, looking to expand in the region as well as large foreign owned companies to source the best graduates. A healthy SME sector ensures that there is organic growth within the region which, in turn, attracts investment from large international companies.

Other key findings include:

· 70% of graduates from Northwest Higher Education Institutions (HEI) who entered employment remained in the Northwest
· Evidence shows that Manchester is a net importer of graduates from other regions
· The regions where the greatest number of students go to study are: London (180,915), Northwest (140,370) and Southeast (130,765)
· Manchester University has the highest number of overseas students of any HEI in the UK
· The Northwest produces 20% of all UK language students

Sector analysis:
· Universities need to build better links with SMEs and encourage students to think about joining an SME
· There is a shrinking demand for sector specific skills and a growing demand around company unique skills
· ICT, biotechnology, healthcare and aviation require quality graduates with the research rating and capacity of Northwest universities and professors a key attribute
While there are many factors which contribute to a company making a decision about where to locate a new operation, skills availability and employee retention rates are viewed as amongst the most important factors. The Omis ‘Britain’s Best Cities Survey 2006-2006’ identified skills issue as a key driver when deciding on the location of a business.
Manchester has traditionally attracted students from all over the world and as a result, there is 14% of all overseas students study in the region, producing 20% of the UK’s language graduates This, along with a large international airport provide strong incentives for global companies to locate European headquarters, sales and support offices, shared service centres, language contact and outsourcing centres and research and development facilities in the region.
“As the results of this review prove, the MCR is not only a popular place to study but has an excellent record in retaining graduates in the region. It is also interesting that Manchester attracts a large proportion of graduates from other regions. This is testament to the region’s reputation as a major global centre for financial and professional services, creative industries and biotechnology and ICT sectors. We are also working with local partners to improve vocational training,” said Colin Sinclair, CEO, MIDAS.

MIDAS, partnered by the University of Salford and Innovas Consulting carried out the research into Graduate Retention and Language Skills in the Greater Manchester area and the Northwest with the aim to analyse what role the graduate pool has in developing the investment proposition in the MCR and to improve graduate recruitment and retention within the local economy. The study covers the financial and professional services, advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors.

Source: MIDAS

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