Skip to main content

Salary data in LEO and DLHE

On 1 December, the Department for Education (DfE) released further findings from the Longitudinal Educations Outcome (LEO) dataset. This brings together information from various sources to provide insight into students’ journeys from education and into the labour market.

The LEO dataset is made up of information from the National Pupil Database (NPD), the Individualised Learner Record (ILR), the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs data (HMRC), The National Benefit Database, the Labour Market System and Juvos, the unemployment research database.

The availability of this dataset offers new opportunities for data on graduate destinations. Currently graduate salary data and employment rates are collected through HESA’s Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. However, HE providers report this to be challenging data to collect in this way, due to its sensitive nature. When asked in HESA’s NewDLHE consultation, 94% respondents agreed that opportunities to utilise linked data should be taken up. Therefore, as part of the NewDLHE review, we have been exploring with colleagues in DfE how the LEO dataset can fit in the wider picture of graduate destinations. For more information about the review, see:

This release is the second in a series of experimental data releases. The first of these, released on 4 August 2016, provided initial findings on the employment and earnings of graduates one, three, five and ten years after graduation:

The second release looks at the data in more detail with breakdowns by gender, subject of study, prior attainment, HE provider, ethnicity, age and home region. The experimental statistics in the publication are based on UK domiciled first degree graduates from HE providers in England, excluding those who were domiciled from the Channel Islands or Isle of Man at the start of their course. The figures are therefore based on a different set of graduates from the results of the DLHE survey published by HESA:

Further work by DfE compares self-reported salaries from the 2008/09 DLHE survey with earnings data from the LEO dataset coming directly from HMRC tax records. Since these turn out to give some discrepancies in the results it’s useful to note some of the key differences between the two sources. Firstly, the LEO data includes people in both full and part-time work, whereas the DLHE figures only report salaries for graduates in full-time employment. Secondly there is quite a difference in the timings of the two salary measurements. The DLHE survey asks graduates their pay approximately six months after they completed their degree. In comparison, the HMRC records are based on earnings in the first full tax year after leaving education, generally around eighteen months after graduation.

The report and experimental statistics are available for download now from:

Suzie Dent

Suzie Dent

Head of Data Engineering