Students choose London due to great career prospects available in the capital

Today, London Higher has published Living and Learning in London in 2023, which is a follow-up to London Higher’s Living and Learning in London report, published via the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) last year.

The report uses 2023 HEPI/AdvanceHE Student Academic Experience Survey (SAES) data and focuses specifically on three key areas: paid work, value for money and international student experience. Although the demographics in London are very diverse, a common theme has emerged that students are drawn to the capital due to its great career prospects post-graduation.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of London students have a paid job, significantly higher than the UK average at 55 per cent, but despite their higher than average likelihood of having a paid job, London students work fewer hours per week on average than most of their peers in the rest of the country, slightly under the national average (12.95 hours compared to 13.54 hours).

The London student population is particularly employability-minded and have clear career goals in mind. London students do an average of 6.41 hours of internships and placements, compared to an English average of 5.57. These numbers indicate that London students are more likely to choose courses associated with placements and internships, and paint a positive picture of the employability-boosting activities available in the capital.

The report also finds that even with the ongoing cost of living crisis, the same proportion of students have found their courses to be good value for money, and that most international students were still very satisfied with their lives.

In light of these findings, the report recommends that:

  • Employers work with institutions to provide a wide range of opportunities for internships, placements and micro-placements;
  • Institutions work with relevant sector bodies to gather more data and feedback on student experiences, particularly groups such as international students or students with dependents; and
  • Institutions work with sector bodies and in collaboration with one and other to review the type of paid work students are undertaking, associated time commitments and student work schedules to better inform timetabling, module choice, student support and wellbeing.


Dr Diana Beech, Chief Executive Officer at London Higher said:

“Our Living and Learning in London in 2023 report is great news for the capital and cements London’s place as hotspot for graduate careers and opportunities. As the UK’s hub for finance, creative industries, life sciences and more – not to mention home to the headquarters of the world’s biggest companies – London is the ideal destination for students setting their sights on a rewarding career after graduation. The many exciting employability initiatives offered by London’s world-leading universities and higher education colleges are clearly key to the region’s thriving entrepreneurial scene and innovation successes and further strengthen London’s status as the world’s best student city.”

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said:

“The UK has a huge and diverse higher education sector, so it is incredibly important to shine a spotlight on the different parts of it to see how students are faring. This report from London Higher does just that and it is particularly valuable in reminding us of the similarities and differences between students in London and elsewhere. I was struck especially by the report’s findings on the careers focus of many London students, the high satisfaction among students at London’s many smaller and specialist institutions and the differential impact of the cost of living on different groups of students.”


  1. The report can be read on our website.