Graduate retention in the Sheffield City Region

  1. Alumni
  2. News
  3. Graduate retention in the Sheffield City Region

Graduate retention in the Sheffield City Region

Friday 31 August 2018

Although Sheffield has an above average 42% of graduates who choose to stay in the region after graduation, the retention rate two to three years later is significantly lower when compared to other national benchmarks.

The ‘Future Leaders’ Project has been developed by the University to further understand the issues linked to medium to long-term graduate retention. The findings from the project will help to co-create and inform a post-graduate level course that will support leadership development, talent retention and business growth in the region.

We caught up with Project Manager, Danielle Bhalla, to find out more about the project.

What motivated the Future Leaders Project and what are its aims?

I suppose it's a bit of a myth that in Sheffield we do well with retaining graduates. We do well initially but then two to three years in, when graduates are looking for their next job move and career progression, we are losing those skills at quite a high rate compared to other cities and this is where the project has come from. The aim of the project is to develop an innovative leadership development programme at master’s level for these graduates to try and help address some of the issues with short to medium term graduate retention.

What are your findings so far?

Our full findings are not quite ready to be shared yet but early indications are that there is a lack of visibility of opportunity and progression in roles in the region and this has come up as a key motivator for people to move away. Graduates like to know that progression and development is an option in an organisation even if they then choose not to follow that path.

We're exploring what leadership means to people and what the perceived knowledge, skills and behaviours gap is (if any) between current leaders and this group that we're identifying as possible future leaders. There are a lot of interesting things that we need to explore further.

Why have people stayed in the Sheffield City Region?

There have been a lot of strong themes such as family ties, the geography of the area, and its friendly culture. Some people have said that the decision to stay has been led by the company they currently work for, its prestige, reputation and most importantly organisational culture. There are some great organisations in the region, but we don't always shout loudly about the things that South Yorkshire is really good at. We're hopeful that the findings from this project, as well as the course itself, will be of real benefit to our stakeholders, particular businesses and recent graduates.

If you are currently working in the Sheffield City Region, and would like more information on this project, please contact to find out more about how you could help play a part developing the Future Leaders Project.

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?