The aim of the special issue is to address a number of areas in the field of youth and graduate migration that remain under-researched. In particular, the need to draw on longitudinal data sets such that can begin to examine longer windows of time to better capture how the spatial mobility of young people from school through university to the labour market intersects with their educational and occupational pathways and impacts on places where they study and work.
The Special Issue does this by assembling a select group of international leading experts in human capital mobility from a variety of countries, including Australia, China, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK, the USA and Sweden.
Through understanding these trajectories, there ise a greater capacity to guide regional development policy on the attraction and retention of human capital and develop more appropriate policy strategies to address skill shortages, particularly in rural areas, and enhancing individual employment outcomes.
Importance of graduate mobility
Young people are associated with high levels of geographical mobility which is linked to a series of life course transitions, involving leaving the parental home, skills development and entry to the labour force. Spatial mobility thus has important implications for both individual employment outcomes and the economic vitality of local labour markets.
Spatial mobility produces differentiated outcomes across the urban hierarchy. Rural areas typically experience net migration losses of young people, creating pressures to attract and retain young educated individuals to help redress accelerating ageing populations and replenishing labour gaps. By contrast, larger cities are magnets attracting the ‘best’ and the ‘brightest’ spurring local economic development.
Special Issue papers
Within the Special Issue there is a paper which draws on microdata for China to reveal how regional differences in wages are the main predictors of migration decisions. The paper authors suggest that policies which target increasing labour market returns in lagging regions in terms of wages are likely to be more effective at stemming the loss of human capital compared to education investment in these locales.
Another paper explores the sequential migration decisions of graduates and its connection to their labour market outcomes in the USA. Results reveal that repeat migrants tend to be associated with salary premia, while late migrants experience salary losses.
A paper by Dr Francisco Rowe and colleagues examine the role of youth and graduate pathways in Australia from an urban–rural perspective. They show that individuals who decide to remain in non-metropolitan locations were aligned with career pathways leading to lower wage returns, while those who migrate to metropolitan areas after school enhance their human capital and earning capacity after three years post-migration. They indicate that unobserved attributes, such as greater aspirations and motivation were major factors explaining higher wage returns following migration.