Edition 183 - July 2016

UK: How graduates fare & where they go? New HESA data reveals post-study transitions


The UK Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) has released its newest findings from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, asking the key questions: What do graduates do and where do they go after completing their studies?

The data reveals patterns of employment and further study, at a point six months after graduation and also encompasses analytical breakdowns as HE provider, gender, ethnicity and subject of study.

Results of the DLHE, representing over 399,000 UK and UK domiciled European students, for the period 2014/15 show:

  • The proportion of graduates entering the workforce or further studies is at its record high (93.9%) since the DLHE commenced in 2011;
  • About 75% enter into the workforce (a close match to last year’s results), out of which 60% have full time employment and close to 3 out of 4 students are pursuing ‘professional’ types of occupation;
  • The pursuit of further studies saw a slight increase at 18 %, with younger undergraduate leavers more likely to continue studies;
  • The average graduate salary ranged between 25.700 and 26.800 EUR;

Looking at some of the more holistic indicators, the survey reveals that especially smaller and specialized institutions performed well in equipping their students to enter the workforce – Keele University transitioning as much as 97,5 % of their graduates into work or further study. Notably, a number of players in the Russell Group have experienced drops in successful transitions of their students, scoring blow a 94% average in the sample.  Moreover, the survey reconfirms the continuous growth of a long standing gender pay-gap. Although the proportion of unemployed males higher than that of women (73% vs. 70% at post graduate level), discriminatory salary levels loyally follow forgone patterns by now exceeding a 2400 EUR variance -  the most palpable gender gap is in the upper echelons , 27.5% of men vs. 9.1% woman (part-time study leavers) entering the top salary threshold .  

About 1.2% of full -time graduates left the UK to pursue work within EU countries, and 1.7% crossed beyond the union’s boarders.   Doctoral graduates, showed particular aptitude for working in EU-countries (4.4%) and together with higher degree leavers, they were more likely to venture both beyond European and UK boarders for employment.

The DLHE results will feed into the upcoming assessment of institutions against the Teaching Excellence Framework and their performance on graduate employment, alongside other metrics as student satisfaction and retention. How the positively trending employment and continued study rates will be affected in coming years by UK’s departure from the Union, is to be seen.

HESA – DLHE compilation of results

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