Brighter minds.


Satisfaction guaranteed? How to keep top talent in Nottingham

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The team and I were heartened to read last week that satisfaction rates among students at Nottingham Trent University have risen for the fifth consecutive year to a record level of 89% in the latest National Student Survey (NSS).

It gives the university the sixth highest score nationally and an increase of 12 places since last year to 34th out of 157 institutions, with 93% of those who responded to the survey saying they would recommend Nottingham Trent University to others.

Student satisfaction rates are assessed at an individual course level and the outcome shows that the number of Nottingham Trent University courses achieving 100% satisfaction has risen to 28 this year. Regionally the university has swept the board in key specialisms – being top for overall satisfaction in Law - our own specialism here at Bygott Biggs.

It is great news that our city boasts two fantastic universities which are so highly regarded by students but it would even better if this were to lead to us retaining top talent in the city after they graduate. This does remain a challenge for us all and creates a huge talent gap, especially in the professional services sector.

Our universities are superb at attracting students to Nottingham to study but too great a proportion of this talent pool often moves away after they finish their studies here. This is a real shame, as there are some really outstanding opportunities available here in the city.

Just taking the legal services sector as one example, there are opportunities for graduates to undertake legal apprenticeships with law firms such as Freeths, as well as Paralegal roles with many different types of law firms or even in-house legal departments of large corporates such as Experian or Capital One. This is aside from the opportunities available for would be lawyers, looking to secure training contracts.

Also, take a quick glance at the award winning employers in the region e.g. Freeths - “Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for 2015”; Eversheds  - “The Times Top 50 Employers for Women 2016”; Shoosmiths - #1 in Employee Satisfaction Survey and rated a 'Best Employer' for twelfth consecutive year in 2016 - Legal Week; Browne Jacobson - “Guardian UK 300” – ranked as one of 300 employers university students most want to work for. Gateley - industry trailblazers as the first UK commercial law firm to float on the London Stock Exchange.

So, the big question is what can employers and the universities do to ensure that we are as successful at retaining students after graduation as they are at attracting them to study in the city?

As legal recruiters, we are constantly trying to delve deep into the motivations and aspirations of potential candidates to find out what they’re looking for in an employer and what they hope to achieve in their careers. To that end we are about to launch our next annual survey of the legal profession, which will focus on the issue of partnership. To take part in this, or to view last year’s exhaustive survey, email

Finally, we’d love to hear your views on how we tackle this challenge. It is an opportunity for the city to become a powerhouse in professional services so let’s see what we can do when we pull together.

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