How flexibility can solve Cardiff's graduate retention crisis

CoStar - 21 September 2023
Tracey Holloway
2 min read
Published: 21 Dec 2023 3:48

Such a trend is concerning in any area; but in a capital city such as Cardiff, this exodus of talented graduates takes on extra resonance.

Boasting a student population of almost 20%, Cardiff should enjoy a vibrant younger workforce; yet with a significant number of the city’s graduates moving away after university, the Welsh capital fails to fully benefit from this potential. 2

Changing mindsets

One factor driving this strain on graduate numbers lies in a recent shift in graduate priorities, with younger workers becoming increasingly concerned with job flexibility in a post-pandemic environment. A recent survey by A.Team found that over 57% of those who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree this year preferred a hybrid work model and would be more inclined to accept a job offer that accommodated this. 3

As mindsets change, a brain drain is inevitable for towns and cities that fail to keep pace. For graduates, traditional methods of working no longer appeal, as their careers now enable them to pursue more experimental and dynamic ways of working. For example, with the rise of social content creation within business, graduates can take up roles that see them in and out of office environments – capturing content and attending events to keep up with the latest social and technological trends.

With young workers now having the opportunity for such roles, neither the old-style cubicle nor the vast open-plan office space seems to resonate. Instead, graduates seem more concerned with finding an interesting and stimulating work environment.

As graduates seek out their ideal places to work, local amenities such as attractive rest areas or leisure centres come into the equation, as well as in-office facilities that promote stimulation. 4 A workplace that has close public transport links, and that is within walking distance of cafes, sports centres, parks, music venues and restaurants ensures employees have access to the things they enjoy outside of the office. This is particularly important for taking a break from the busyness of the workplace.

How flexible offices can improve retention.

Businesses wanting to improve graduate retention should consider how they can make themselves

attractive to potential employees. Moving forward, a primary focus will be around hybrid working