Free Online Statistics - Destinations of leavers


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On this page: Employed leavers, Performance indicators, Longitudinal survey, Salaries, More HESA services, Publications, Unistats, External sources, FAQ

General early survey results (6 months after graduation)

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing six months after graduation. About three quarters of leavers complete the survey. Some published statistics are restricted to certain types of leaver such as first degree (bachelors level) graduates or leavers who studied full-time.

Statistical First Release 192

Overview of DLHE data 2011/12.

  Table 1 full-time leavers by level and gender
  Table 1a same for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  Table 2 part-time leavers by level and gender
  Table 2a same for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  Table 3 first degree graduates by subject area and gender
  All tables in one workbook
  Older Statistical First Releases

Press release 194

'Most important' activities of full-time first degree leavers

DLHE publication introduction

Sector level tables and charts

   Table A survey response rates
   Table B activity & employment
   Table C gender
   Table D age group
   Table E subject
   Table J further study
   Table L teachers
   All intro tables in one workbook


Most important activities of full-time first degree leavers 2011/12
Graphic from Press Release 194 - larger version here (751x511)
Leavers by activity 2011/12 (all survey respondents)
Activity Number Percentage
Full-time work 224645 54.7%
Part-time work 52390 12.7%
Primarily in work and also studying 16720 4.1%
Primarily studying and also in work 13230 3.2%
Full-time study 49765 12.1%
Part-time study 6000 1.5%
Due to start work 3020 0.7%
Unemployed 26790 6.5%
Other 18445 4.5%
Total employed 306985 74.7%
Total unemployed 29810 7.3%
Total survey respondents 411005  
More detail in Statistical First Release 192 and publication introduction
% employed by level and mode of study 2011/12
  Employed Unemployed
Postgraduate 83.9% 5.7%
  Full-time PG 80.7% 7.4%
  Part-time PG 89.8% 2.6%
Undergraduate 71.9% 7.7%
  Full-time UG 70.2% 8.4%
  Part-time UG 80.6% 4.2%
Total 74.7% 7.3%
More detail in Statistical First Release 192 and publication introduction

Employed leavers

Where leavers tell us they are employed, we ask them what sort of work they are doing (industry/occupation), where they are working and their basis of employment (permanent/self-employed/internship etc.). 

Statistical First Release 192

Overview of DLHE data 2011/12.

  Table 4a occupation (def) and subject area
  Table 4b industry (def) and subject area
  Table 5 salaries of UK first degree graduates
  Table 5a same for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
  Table 6a location of employment vs. location of study
  Table 6b location of employment vs. domicile
  All tables in one workbook
  Older Statistical First Releases

DLHE publication introduction

Sector level tables and charts

   Table F professional occupations
   Table G location (UK/EU/non-EU)
   Table H employment basis
   Table I location (UK region)
   Table K salaries
   Table L teachers
   All intro tables in one workbook


Employment basis of leavers in employment 2011/12
Employment basis Number Percentage
Self-employed/freelance 15620 5.1%
Starting up own business 2095 0.7%
On a permanent or open-ended contract 184595 60.8%
Fixed-term contract - 12 months or longer 44665 14.7%
Fixed-term contract - less than 12 months 25925 8.5%
Voluntary work 5265 1.7%
On an internship 6245 2.1%
Developing a portfolio/creative practice 1265 0.4%
Temping (including supply teaching) 11280 3.7%
Other 6430 2.1%
Unknown 3595  
More employment stats in the publication introduction
Occupations of leavers in employment 2011/12
Occupation Number Percentage
1 Managers, directors and senior officials 16815 5.5%
2 Professional occupations 136825 44.6%
3 Associate professional and technical 70000 22.8%
4 Administrative and secretarial 20725 6.8%
5 Skilled trades 3735 1.2%
6 Caring, leisure and other service 18220 5.9%
7 Sales and customer service 26185 8.5%
8 Process, plant and machine operatives 1295 0.4%
9 Elementary occupations 12680 4.1%
Total professional jobs (1-3)
223635 73.0%
Total non-professional jobs (4-9)
82845 27.0%
Unknown 500  
More occupation stats in Statistical First Release 192 and publication introduction
Occupation groups explained

For headline statistics on industry of employment see FAQ below

Performance Indicators (by institution)

Comparative data on the proportion of leavers from each HE institutions entering work or further study. PIs are specified by the HE funding bodies.

Press release 193 - overview of 2011/12 employment indicators

Performance Indicators - Employment of leavers

Institution comparison tables with benchmarks:

   Table E1a full-time first degree
   Table E1b part-time first degree
   Table E1c full-time other undergraduate
   Table E1d part-time other undergraduate

Sector level context tables. Undergraduate employment rates by:

   Table SE1 subject
   Table SE2 entry qualifications
   Table SE3 age on entry to HE
   Table SE4 gender
   Table SE5 ethnicity

PIs Definitions

Performance Indicators Summary. Note break in time series for 2011/12.
Performance Indicators sector level time series - % leavers in employment or further study
Click the graph for full-size version in context.

Longitudinal survey results (3½ years after graduation)

Every 2 years a sample of leavers who complete the early DLHE survey are contacted again 3½ years after graduation. 

Press release 195 - overview of the latest survey

Full report - 2008/09 leavers surveyed in November 2012

  All tables - download full results in an Excel workbook

Introduction - text and charts summarising the survey results

Earlier surveys - results for 2002/03, 2004/05, 2006/07 and 2008/09 leavers

Longitudinal DLHE satisfaction questions
Click the graph for full-size version in press release 195.

Longitudinal survey definitions

Comparison of early and longitudinalsurveys for 2008/09 leavers
Click the graph for full-size version in press release 195.


Approximately half of survey respondents in full-time paid employment provide information about their salary.

Early survey (six months after leaving)

Statistical First Release 192:
  Table 5 - average salaries by gender & mode of study
  Table 5a - average salaries by country of institution
  Older Statistical First Releases

Publication introduction:
  Table K - first degree graduates by gender and salary band
  Older publications  

Early survey definitions (latest 2011/12)

Longitudinal survey (3½ years after leaving)

2008/09 report:
  Table 11a - by level, mode, gender, mission group, region
  Table 11b - by level and subject
  Table 11c - early survey comparison by level and subject
  Older reports

Longitudinal survey definitions


Median salary of full-time first degree leavers in full-time paid employment 2006/07 to 2011/12
Year of graduation Early survey Longitudinal survey
2011/12 £20,000 -
2010/11 £19,000 -
2009/10 £19,000 -
2008/09 £20,000 £24,000
2007/08 £20,000 -
2006/07 £19,000 £24,000

More HESA services

Other ways to get HESA information.

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Press and media enquiries

See the Press Office section for press releases and contact details

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Mobile app

iPhone app - UK HE Stats - free from the app store. Contains four years' data for all institutions. - mobile web version of the app

Subject Benchmarking Report

Subject-specific market intelligence with analysis of performance against chosen competitor institutions. Data and graphical analysis cover the student life cycle from enrolment to graduate destinations.

For more information, and to view a sample Subject Benchmarking Report go to


HESA publications are downloadable collections of the most useful data in Excel tables.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions 2011/12

See contents

Read the Introduction online - includes many more useful summary tables    

Destinations of
from Higher
Education Institutions
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions

To view all HESA publications and special offers see the Publications home page or the 2013 product catalogue.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey
Free report of biennial sample survey covering leavers 3½ years after graduation

2008/09 leavers (published 2013)
2006/07 leavers
2004/05 leavers 
2002/03 leavers 

Destinations of
from Higher
Education Institutions
Longitudinal Survey
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey

Older publications for 1994/95 to 2005/06 can be downloaded for free from the Publications Archive.


Unistats provides official data for all undergraduate courses providing key information for prospective students. This includes DLHE data on average salaries, % in employment, % in professional jobs and the most common jobs that leavers go into.

Unistats website - the official source for information on HE courses

Unistats dataset - raw data underlying the Unistats website available for developers to download in XML and CSV format

Unistats - from universities and colleges in the UK

External sources

The Higher Education Careers Services Unit (HECSU) is an independent research charity specialising in higher education and graduate employment.

HECSU publish What do graduates do a detailed report based on HESA DLHE data, along with other reports based on DLHE and sources of information. HESA is not affiliated with HECSU or responsible for the contents of its website or reports.

Frequently asked destinations statistics questions

Got a question? If the answer's not online contact one of our Bespoke Data Service experts by email:

Q. Which institution's leavers are most likely to be employed?

A. See the Performance Indicators section above for comparison tables.

Q. What do students on my course go on to do?

A. See the Unistats website section for information about undergraduate courses.

Q. What questions does the survey ask?

A. The 2011/12 early survey questionnaire is here:

The 2008/09 longitudinal survey questionnaire is here:

Q. How many leavers respond to the survey?

A. Response rates are published in the early survey publication introductions and the longitudinal survey reports.

For the 2011/12 early survey 439,295 UK and EU domicile leavers responded to the survey out of a target population of 567,390. This is a response rate of 77.4%.

The 2008/09 longitudinal sample survey received 62,205 responses out of 354,730 leavers who had completed the early survey.


Q. Which subjects have the best employment prospects?

% employed by subject area 2011/12
Subject area Employed Unemployed
Medicine & dentistry 89.1% 1.7%
Subjects allied to medicine 86.3%
Biological sciences 67.8% 7.4%
Veterinary science 87.1% 6.2%
Agriculture & related subjects 67.2% 7.8%
Physical sciences 61.4% 9.1%
Mathematical sciences 63.2% 8.4%
Computer science 69.7% 12.9%
Engineering & technology 73.1% 8.6%
Architecture, building & planning 77.7% 8.0%
Social studies 72.9% 8.0%
Law 63.2% 7.0%
Business & administrative studies 77.2% 8.2%
Mass communications & documentation 75.2% 11.4%
Languages 64.8% 8.1%
Historical & philosophical studies 62.8% 8.1%
Creative arts & design 70.7% 10.4%
Education 88.6% 2.7%
Combined 67.0% 5.9%
More subject tables in Statistical First Release 192 and publication introduction

Q. What industries do employed leavers enter?

Industries of leavers in employment 2011/12
Industry Number Percentage
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 735 0.2%
Mining and quarrying 1705 0.6%
Manufacturing 12755 4.2%
Electricity, gas & water supply 2350 0.8%
Construction 4720 1.5%
Wholesale/retail trade & vehicle repair 34245 11.2%
Transport and storage 3700 1.2%
Hotels & restaurants 13330 4.4%
Information and communication 16265 5.3%
Financial activities 11580 3.8%
Real estate 3135 1.0%
Professional, scientific and technical 30875 10.1%
Administrative and support services 11490 3.8%
Public administration/defence/social security 20695 6.8%
Education 61640 20.2%
Health & social work 60215 19.7%
Arts, entertainment and recreation 11365 3.7%
Other service activities 3885 1.3%
Private households with employed persons 285 0.1%
International organisations and bodies 335 0.1%
Unknown 1685  
More industry stats in Statistical First Release 192
Industry groups explained (external link to ONS)