Talent & Skills

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Home grown talent

From the next generation of digital innovators to pioneering life scientists, Kent has all the talent your business needs within easy reach.

Kent has strengths in several core sectors, offering companies that are relocating or expanding in the region a wide range of high quality skills. The county is also home to a large multinational population, including a large European and Indian diaspora.

Our proximity to London coupled with competitive house prices and enviable quality of life has made Kent a magnet for young professionals. With four universities, a strong college network and specialist training schools, our county can provide a workforce of scientists, engineers, architects, surgeons, web gurus, designers and high-profile entrepreneurs.

Access to Talent

Kent has a resident population of over 1.8 million that continues to rise as more development takes place to meet housing demand. The county attracts a high number of professionals from London and other parts of the South East thanks to its competitive property prices and high quality of life.

With excellent transport links including four motorways and the UK’s only high-speed rail line, means that 46% of our population live within a 45-minute commute to London. But with so much to offer, 79% of people in Kent find work within the county.

Kent’s working age population is set to increase by 15% by 2039, with more people taking an interest in the county’s combined quality of life and strong educational offer.

With well established sectors including life sciences, manufacturing, creative and digital, construction, food and drink and construction, Kent has a deep talent pool and highly skilled workforce.

Kent is a place of opportunity that values innovation and collaboration including four award winning universities that have forged close links with industry, including the Kent and Medway EDGE Hub and the Kent and Medway Medical School

1,129,000 people

of working age


graduates from Kent’s universities each year

1.8 million

resident population, the largest of all English counties

Graduate Talent

There are 15,000 plus graduates coming out from each one of our four universities each year with specialisms in creative arts, life sciences, education, communications, health care, law and engineering and technology

Kent consistently draws a number of graduates into employment from its immediate neighbours East Sussex, Surrey and Essex

In 2016/2017, 37.2% of graduates from Kent who studied elsewhere returned to the county to work, among the highest retention rates outside London.  And of those studying in Kent, 28.2% took up employment in the county, giving the county a student retention UK ranking of 15th.

Work has continued in the years since to attract, retain and build talent in the county, including encouraging Kent businesses to support apprenticeships and sponsor university and college places.

Of those who graduated from university and are resident in Kent over 45% enter professional occupations, according to the latest available figures from 2016/17 with manufacturing and construction the sectors seeing the biggest gains.

North Kent College, Mid Kent College, EKC Group and Hadlow College support people of all ages to gain the technical, professional and vocational skills needed for businesses to thrive in Kent and Medway. The college campuses feature some of the best facilities in the country offering everything from extensive academic resources for higher education courses, to ‘mock’ hospital wards, graphic design studios, construction workshops and cabin crew for the best vocational qualifications.


Kent and Medway is a world leading region for research and development, with outstanding, purpose-built facilities. Sites include Discovery Park in Sandwich – an internationally renowned life sciences park (where Pfizer is an anchor tenant) and ‘incubator’ space for life science start-ups and SMEs – and Kent Science Park now part of The Knowledge Factory, one of the UK’s largest science park networks.

NIAB EMR in East Malling has developed a worldwide reputation for its ground-breaking research into improvements in crop and fruit production.  Investment in an Innovation Campus for horticulture and viticulture will further enhance Kent’s reputation as the centre for important work addressing global food security.

The University of Greenwich at Medway is also part of a growing ecosystem of agri-tech and healthcare research taking place here in Kent, often collaborating to deliver change and innovation. The university’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) has a focus on food, agriculture, the environment and sustainable livelihoods. Recent research has ranged from developing new protein-based alternatives for meat-free diets to mosquito control.

As part of the Growing Kent and Medway project Growing Kent and Medway , led by NIAB EMR, NRI is developing a plant-based food accelerator as an incubator for new food start-ups.

The University of Greenwich has also emerged as a leading centre for research into human nutrition, with a degree programme that is helping to drive improvements in people’s health and welfare.

Our universities are supporters of The Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPS) linking forward thinking businesses with key hubs of world class knowledge, including Kent and Medway.

The University of Kent takes a collaborative and global approach to research and innovation specialising in cultural heritage, cyber security and digital communications, social care, social justice, and sustainability.

Canterbury Christ Church University has dedicated research centres committed to shaping policy and practice across Kent, Medway and the UK, including the Centre for Sport, Physical Education & Activity Research and The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health.

Recruitment & Training

The cost of hiring staff will vary by sector and skill level but, on average, the median salary in Kent is £4,000 lower than equivalent roles in London.

The average full-time salary ranges from £30.4K a year in Thanet to £40.8K a year in Dartford.

As per every county in England, the National Living wage rate for employees over the age of 23 is £8.91 per hour as of April 2021. This will rise to £9.50 per hour in April 2022.

As well as salaries your business will need to pay pension contributions and employers’ national insurance per employee, as well as employers’ liability insurance.

More information can be found in this UK Government guide

We’re Here To Help

Locate in Kent can help you attract, develop and retain skilled professionals. Whether you need advice about relocating your own staff to the UK, introduction to recruitment agencies, contacts with universities and colleges or support services to help you recruit apprenticeships and graduates.

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Tell us what your business needs. Call the team on 01732 520 700 or complete the below form and one of out experts will be in touch shortly.

    Speak to one of our advisors now to find out how our service can help you

    Simon Ryan, Investment Director
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Direct: +44 (0)1732 520700

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