Stop talking about the talents! Start talking with the talents!
Stop taking decisions for the talents! Start taking decisions with the talents!
And give them the same stage you are standing on! Give them the recognition they deserve!
University Innovation Fellows

Download the research outcomes here: 

Summary of Outcomes

1. Image & atmosphere

The respondents trademark Twente with the keywords friendly and approachable. Generally, they were surprised by the I&E spirit and the number of startups. The difference between the city and the university is being pointed out: The university innovates, the region does not. Most of the respondents refer to the international character of the university and value its diversity. The region is considered being disconnected from the university. The nature is seen as one of the main character traits of Twente. However, the lack of sustainability was clearly mentioned. The respondents express their importance in this.

2. Culture & activities

Especially bars and the night clubs are rated low. The respondents are aware of the number of social activities but are criticising the lack of diversity and low international vibe. Initiatives like Tankstation are community building and stand out because they are internationally oriented and welcoming. Events and activities in the city do not reach the student population. Most of them are not inclusive to the international community.

3. Facilities & infrastructure

Generally, the respondents are satisfied with the infrastructure. The long traveling times and the disconnectedness of Twente explain the low ratings. Besides, the fact that international students do not get a discount for traveling is frustrating to many students.

4. Career

Students have the conception that Twente does not offer any job prospects but that they rather have better chances in the Randstad. The majority could imagine staying here if they would have a job offer. Generally, the respondents are more in favor of a friendly work environment, room for job growth, international opportunities and sustainable image & societal impact. The majority is looking for a personal and small-scale company. Besides, the English work environment plays a relevant role. The language barrier when applying to companies has been mentioned throughout.

Main Messages 

The goal is to unite forces and avoid creating new initiatives. The UIF team plays a substantial role in the follow up on the results to steer initiatives in the right direction. UIF can help the region reach its full potential.

Background Information

Keeping Talent in Twente

The educational institutions in Twente are becoming more and more attractive: each year hundreds of young talents come to the region for their study. Twente does not only excel in talent development, it also offers many opportunities for the future of talents as professionals. The number of job openings in the region is also increasing.

Nevertheless, the regional development is facing a matching problem. Many of the young talents are less inclined to pursue their career and life in the region. National, as well as international students, chose to leave Twente after graduation. This is why we started KTIT, to find the reasons why talent leaves this region.

Scope of Research

Our survey investigates the input of 454 students from all educational institutions on their perception of the region, what they find attractive and what hinders them to stay here. In the investigation we focussed on four areas of interest, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.

The outcomes are supported by alumni research 'Behouden van Hoger Opgeleiden in Twente' conducted by Claase Consultancy (2017).


Let's unite forces and avoid creating new initiatives. The UIF team can support you in the follow up on the results to steer initiatives in the right direction. We can help the region become its full potential.

  • create a personal connection by engaging with the students in projects during the study:
  • awareness & outreach of job opportunities
  • local Bedrijvendagen - support small businesses to be at student events
  • facilitate basic requirements to start-ups to stay here when they want to scale up
  • “I left because my partner could not find a job here” - also job offerings in non-tech related sectors are important
  • more varied housing possibilities for young professionals - also want to live in shared houses since that is cheaper and cozy
  • next to job offerings, make sure that cultural offerings/ activities are diverse and international
  • not only a job is decisive for staying here after graduation, a city also needs to have diverse cultural offerings and activities

Follow up

The survey gave us a better understanding of why students leave the Twente region. This data could have a tremendous impact on the innovation and strategy of Twente based companies. To get the most out of it we will organize a follow-up in the near future. If you are interested in being part of the follow-up, sign up for the email list:

Univeristy Innovation Fellows
Lisette van Leemput
Policy Advisor International Talent at Gemeente Enschede