Less than a third of students in Scotland say they plan to stay in the country after they graduate, a survey has found.
The figure of 32 per cent compares to 69 per cent of London students who said they want to remain in the UK capital after graduation.
Grant Thornton, who questioned 1,080 UK university students, said Scotland faces a talent retention challenge.
The research looked at what matters most to students when choosing where they want to live and work post-graduation.
Having a good work-life balance was considered the biggest motivator (48% of respondents), closely followed by proximity to family and friends(47%).
Time spent travelling (43%), housing affordability (43%), career development (42%) and job availability (42%) also ranked highly.
Keely Woodley, partner at Grant Thornton UK, said: “The challenge facing Scotland is to ensure that it can keep hold of its best and brightest young talent. The survey shows that students want more from their future home than just career and pay.
“There are steps that businesses can take to encourage students to commit themselves to Scotland help improve the overall vibrancy and economic stability of the country.
“As we continue to see skills shortages across many sectors and the impacts of Brexit on the talent pool become more apparent, this will become an increasingly business critical issue and companies need to be thinking about this now to alleviate potential problems in the future.
“There’s also a clear role for Scottish higher education institutions to play in tackling this problem. Universities need to be proactive in fostering stronger links with local businesses and creating a viable and attractive pathway for departing students to enter the local economy.”
The survey of 1,080 current students was carried out online between April 10 and 17.