London may not have the largest student population in the UK (that accolade goes to Manchester) but it remains the preferred destination of choice for graduates starting out in their careers, according to research by Intern Avenue.

The research has revealed the extent to which the capital and the wider South East region is attracting and retaining top graduate talent.

It found that despite the relative higher cost of living compared to elsewhere in the country, more than two-thirds (41.7 percent) of graduates choose the region as their career destination of choice – whether to remain after their studies or relocate from elsewhere in the country.

Andrew Little, chief operating office at Intern Avenue, said: “There is no escaping the fact that London and the South East are the regions with the most jobs. You can get a start in pretty much any type of graduate career here without having to relocate to another part of the county.

“Of course there is a plethora of roles outside the capital, but the range and volume of roles available is invariably smaller. Career opportunities in key sectors such as marketing, advertising, finance, software engineering and IT for instance far outweigh those in the same sectors elsewhere. So for any graduate looking to forge a successful career in these areas, London is best places to help them achieve these ambitions.”

However, Little warns against complacency among graduate job seekers who are planning to make London their career destination of choice – he says that the decision to do so must be an informed one.

“Today’s graduates are very savvy but they must also manage their own expectations. Graduate unemployment exists in London just as much as it does as everywhere. But although there has been an increase in the number roles being advertised, graduate job seekers need to plan their search properly to be sure that the jobs they want to be doing are actually there.”

While London and the South East remain attractive to many graduates, the Midlands and North West regions are hot on their heels. So what can the region’s employers do to ensure they don’t lose talent to elsewhere in the country?

“Large-scale graduate employers should be looking to consider offering a greater breadth of choice of entry level roles and internships. Local employers also have a key role to play.

“By forging closer partnerships with local universities and providing work experience and internships to students before they graduate, local employers can help to stem the flow of graduate talent leaving the region if they also hold the role open after they graduate.

“In doing so employers reduce their time to hire and save on associated recruitment costs. At the same time they get to take on a graduate who understands the requirements of the job and the culture of the organisation.

“The graduate, on the other hand, will feel a sense of loyalty to the employer and are more likely to shun any attempt to move away in favour of staying in the region if there is a role waiting for them.”