Graduate talent pool set to get shallower as almost a third of UK international students reconsider staying and working in the UK

A poll of over 2,300 students has found that almost a third (29%) of UK-based international students have changed their post-graduation plans as a direct result of the Brexit vote.

The survey, conducted by Trendence UK, showed that many international students who were intending to find employment in the UK after graduation are now considering employment either in their home country or elsewhere in the EU.

Overseas students currently account for around a fifth of the UK higher education student body. The reason given was the post-Brexit fear of being unable to secure a job after graduation, or at least the reluctance to go through additional hurdles to secure a working visa, compared to the current working provisions provided by EU members.

David Palmer, UK Research Manager at Trendence UK, said:

‘These findings are a warning: in 2017 graduate recruiters can expect to feel the impact of international students leaving the UK’s graduate talent pool. This research also suggests that the number of international students available to the UK graduate recruitment market is going to decline even more sharply in 2018 and 2019 – the most dramatic shift in post-graduation plans was among first-year international students. Universities are also likely to be affected, because we’re now beginning to see an indication that fewer international students plan to pursue masters and PhD programmes in the UK.’

The pessimism about securing a job after graduation was echoed by domestic UK graduates too, with 37% believing that it will be harder for a fresh graduate to get a job in 2017 than it was in 2016.

A growing doubt about the availability of international study and career options outside of the UK was also felt by domestic students, with 77% believing that there will be a reduction of study and career options outside the UK, as a result of Brexit.


Trendence UK is Europe’s leading research institute specialising in employer branding, personnel marketing and recruiting. Every year, more than 500,000 school-leavers, students and young professionals from all over the world take part in Trendence UK studies on their career ambitions and employers of choice. To find out more about the research packages available to UK recruiters contact