London and the south east of England may still be the financial and employment powerhouses of the UK, but more and more graduates are preferring to live and find work elsewhere in Britain.
According to graduate careers' service Graduate Prospects, seven out of 10 recent graduates now choose to live and work outside the capital or home counties.
Its study, exploring the mobility patterns of 2003 graduates six months after leaving university, has dispelled the myth that all graduates head south.
While London and the south east remained the most popular destinations, with just over one in six heading for the capital and a further 12.3 per cent for the south east, the north west of England emerged as the third most popular destination, with 11.3 per cent finding work in the region.
Scotland, on 8.5 per cent, was not far behind, followed by Yorkshire and the Humber, (7.7 per cent), and the south west (7 per cent).
Least popular were Northern Ireland (3.1 per cent), the north east (4.1 per cent) and Wales (4.4 per cent).
Mike Hill, Graduate Prospects chief executive, said: "London and the south east have always been magnets for newly qualified graduates, which is not surprising given that this is where many of the blue chip companies offering fast-track graduate training schemes reside.
"What is surprising now is the extent of the drift away from these traditional graduate employment hotspots, perhaps reflecting the trend towards increased graduate employment in the public sector and SMEs – both of which have less regional bias," he added.
The report also highlighted the extent to which graduates choose to remain in their region of study post graduation.
At least 40 per cent of the 2003 cohort stayed close to their university or college, and most regions actually retained at least half of their student population following graduation.