Graduate Career INDEX

After putting in all that hard work and finally earning that all-important degree certificate, graduates face another huge decision: where do they want to live and work as they enter the rest of their adult lives?

It’s definitely something of a juggling act, with graduates having to consider career prospects and affordability, as well as making sure there’s a decent night out on offer!

We’ve analysed some of the UK’s biggest towns and cities based on a range of factors which are important to graduates, to reveal the best places for recent graduates to move to after leaving university.

Top 3 Locations

The Best Graduate Towns/Cities Ranked




Monthly Cost of

Average Rent
(1 Bed


% of
Aged 18-25

Pubs & Bars per
10,000 People

Restaurants per
10,000 People



We took the UK’s 50 most populated towns and cities and compared them on the following seven factors, giving each a normalised score out of 100 on each factor, before calculating a weighted average out of 100, with double weighting given to the median salary.

Median Salary

Full time median salary according to the Office for National Statistics’ Earnings and hours worked, place of residence by local authority data: ASHE Table 8.

Monthly Cost of Living

A monthly estimate from Numbeo which takes into account a number of monthly expenses such as groceries, transportation, eating out and utilities.

Average Rent (1 Bed Property)

Average monthly rent for a one bed property according to Zoopla.

Employment Rate

Employment rate for people aged 16-64 according to the Office for National Statistics’ Regional labour market: Local indicators for counties, local and unitary authorities dataset.

% of Population Aged 18-25

The percentage of the population aged 18 to 25, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Pubs & Bars per 10,000 People

The number of public houses and bars per 10,000 population according to the Office for National Statistics’ Public houses and bars by local authority dataset.

Restaurants per 10,000 People

The number of restaurants, takeaways or food shops per 10,000 population, according to the Food Standards Agency.