Students plan to live abroad after graduation

Students on The Student Room are planning to live abroad after graduation.

After a rise in tuition fees in 2012, a rise in unemployment in recent years that has been especially affecting young people, and an uncertainty around graduate job prospects, it is hardly surprising that students on The Student Room have been discussing their plans leave the UK after graduation.

The Student Room carried out a small poll of 97 students in which 34% were positively set on moving abroad, with another 28% strongly considering the idea. Worryingly only 8% said they were definitely staying in the UK.

Canada for its beautiful landscape, Germany for its prosperous economy, America for its amazing cities, and Australia for its glorious weather, are among some of the most popular destinations that students plan to live and work in after they graduate.

If the unpredictable, and let’s face it, disappointing weather is not enough to persuade students to move away from the UK, students also have a growing enthusiasm for the prospect of living in a new and exciting country, where they can experience an unknown culture.

Discussions on TSR included comments like, ‘it’s not because I hate the UK or anything like that, of course not… Well, not much :/ Think it would be good to live somewhere else, new that is. Bit boring staying the same place your whole life isn’t it.’

Another student said ‘I’m starting to learn German and would love to move there tbh, leaving family behind aside… It’s got better weather, better economy, better beer, better food and, most importantly, the women are better looking too.’

This idealistic view of a ‘better’ and more rewarding environment elsewhere is common among students, with UK politics and changes in legislation being a reoccurring theme persuading students to leave. Students pointed out a frustration with the recent debates over immigration levels, and broken promises made by UK politicians, ‘especially after the promises Clegg made’, referring to his pre-election policy to abolish tuition fees completely.

In fact, they felt insulted by the rise in tuition fees after such promises. For these reasons, alongside a general feeling of boredom towards life in the UK, and the fact that English is spoken in many other countries making it easier to find work, leaving the UK seems like an easy decision for some students.

Are graduate prospects actually better abroad? Here in the UK, graduate salaries average at about £24,000, or £27,000 in London, depending on the sector. The average male starting salary is £30,900 compared to £24,356 for women. In Canada, the average starting salary for a graduate is £23,560 for men and or £19,685 for women; in the US it is £26,437; in Australia it is £30,300 for men and £27,550 for women.

And what about employment rates? According to The Guardian last November, almost half (47%) of recent graduates are in non-graduate jobs. Today, Ri5 reported that ‘half of UK graduates don’t work in their field of study’ and only ‘a third of graduates find full-time work after university’.

The Telegraph reported that more than 1.3m Brits with university-level education are living abroad, more than any other developed economy, and another 400 British citizens emigrate every day. If our graduates are our future skilled workers then the UK, employers and HEIs included, need to consider how they will retain them.

Not all share these views however, with some students pointing out that realistically many of those who look forward to basking in foreign culture will fail to make the huge move to life outside the UK. According to HESA, only 3% of graduates ended up working abroad in the school year of 2012/2013.

One student who had made the jump commented, ‘I was annoyed at the people I lived with in halls for keeping me awake all night, I was annoyed at the immigration, the EU, the rise of the tube in London. I left, and honestly, I miss it soooo much. It’s so easy to play on all the UKs negatives when you think a better country may be elsewhere. That may be true, but from my experience, I cannot wait to come back!’

Perhaps countries like Germany, Canada and America will prove to be just as disappointing as the UK, but perhaps it is the lack of experience in these countries that accentuates the negatives within the UK, and directs its students elsewhere. As the proverb goes; the grass is always greener on the other side, and maybe it takes the experience of life outside the UK for students to gain an appreciation for the luscious lawn that Great Britain has to offer.



UK graduate salaries

UK graduate employment rate

Canadian graduate salaries

Australian graduate salaries

US graduate salaries

The Guardian on graduate employment