Liverpool IS attracting top graduate talent, says head of Deloitte’s Mersey operation

Accountancy giant’s senior Liverpool partner, Sean Beech, offers an upbeat view of the city region following a report by Centre for Cities that claimed London was hoovering up the best talent

Sean Beech, senior partner for Deloitte in Liverpool
Sean Beech, senior partner for Deloitte in Liverpool

There’s a lot of talk about the London brain drain, and it’s clear that London is a magnet for many of our region’s brightest and best.

In the post-Brexit world, it will be critical that London continues to act as the global financial capital, perfectly placed between the Americas and the Middle East/Far East, and benefiting from all the advantages of its cosmopolitan culture, the British legal system, and English as the language of business.

But a recent study by the Centre for Cities makes clear that it’s not all doom and gloom for our regional cities.

Brain gain

Drawing on data from the Office for National Statistics, the study ‘The Great British Brain Drain’ identifies that most cities experience a graduate brain gain and that universities play an important role in educating both local students and students who will choose to stay in the city to work after graduation.

In terms of Liverpool, there was a net inflow of almost 25,000 university students in 2014/15, helping to fuel the student accommodation sector and our expanding cultural/leisure offer.

In addition, over half of our students who went to other universities subsequently came back to the city region to work.

In overall terms, the study has calculated that our new graduate workforce in the period 2013-2015 comprises about 25% from the city who have studied here; about 30% who have come here to university and stayed; about 20% who have returned after studying elsewhere; and the remainder having been drawn here for work opportunities.

Above all, in order to continue this ‘brain gain’, Liverpool needs to grow its employment base, and this is one of the key objectives of the LEP as well as the foundation for new city areas such as the Paddington Village Knowledge Quarter.

Make the case

Local business leaders need to continue to make the case about affordability and the higher quality of living that our employees can enjoy compared to their London counterparts.

At Deloitte, we have recently taken on 10 new starters in our Liverpool office, and our UK leadership has set itself a clear objective of growing our regional teams faster than London.

As a business, we can (and do) ensure that we have a fair mix of males and female recruits.

Likewise, we are in the fortunate position that we can choose where we recruit our people, and going forward we will be deliberate about recruiting more of our graduates outside of London.

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