BUSINESS bosses say it is vital to stop a "brain drain" of graduates from Gloucestershire.
Figures released last week show half of students who leave the county to study do not return here to work.
And only 31 per cent of University of Gloucestershire students find a job in the county after graduation.
Anne Compton from Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership said: "It has to be a concern.
"We need a supply of young people in the county to keep business thriving.
"Somebody who is born and bred in Gloucestershire and has local connections can be a real asset to a business here and is more likely to stay long term."
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) surveyed 1,710 employed graduates who had left Gloucestershire to pursue their studies.
It found only 765, or 45.8 per cent, were back working in the county.
Anne, also managing director of Rickerbys LLP solicitors, said of the figures: "I don't think it's something we can ignore and the LEP is already working towards improving things.
"We are working closely with educational establishments and the aim is for all students to have access to placements and work experience so they can understand what opportunities we have here."
University of Gloucestershire figures from a survey in January show that out of 1,235 graduates working in the UK, just 392, or 31.7 per cent, of them worked in Gloucestershire.
It also showed that 71 per cent of them would like to remain here to live and work after graduation. Nicki Castello, head of careers at the university, said: "Unfortunately, our graduates can't always find the opportunities in-county which they are looking for.
"Nevertheless, 31.7 per cent of the class of 2011 found employment in Gloucestershire and 48 per cent of our graduates found work in the South West region."
In the same survey, 93 per cent of students said they would like to be able to access a database of graduate jobs in Gloucestershire.
As a result, the university has set up a new opportunities website, which can be seen at www.ugo.pro spects.ac.uk, where local employers may advertise their vacancies free of charge.
It also has a new Degree Plus team working to encourage local employers to take on its undergraduates as interns to work on short-term projects.