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Graduate Outcomes Statistical Releases FAQ

This FAQ relates to the structure and contents of statistical releases on the HESA website. More detail is available in the dissemination section of the Survey methodology. If you have a question that is not answered here please email [email protected]

For detailed questions and answers about tables in the releases please see: Graduate Outcomes statistical releases - detailed questions and answers
If you have a question about the data in any release please contact [email protected].
Information about publication dates can be found in Upcoming data releases.


In 2022, results of the 2019/20 Graduate Outcomes survey will be published in a single data product Graduate Outcomes 2019/20: data and statistics. This will include both high level national results and detailed breakdowns by HE provider, subject of study and graduate characteristics.

The new data product will include all of the data cross-tabulations provided in previous years’ outputs along with some new material following feedback from users.

Graduate Outcomes 2019/20: data and statistics will be published in May 2022.

We may also publish:

  • Ad-hoc Statistical Bulletins - statistical analyses published where there is a pressing need for official statistics in the public interest.
  • Research Insights - detailed analysis of specific issues using Graduate Outcomes data.

For the first two years of Graduate Outcomes, the survey results were published as ‘Experimental Statistics’. These were Official Statistics that were defined as newly developed or innovative and undergoing evaluation. This process is now complete and the combined product Graduate Outcomes 2019/20: data and statistics will not be labelled as Experimental.

In previous years, Graduate Outcomes survey results were published as two separate products; a Statistical Bulletin containing overall HE sector-level statistics and a larger open data product containing more detailed tables. This year, the two outputs have been combined into a single product as our users have indicated that they would prefer access to the full content as early as possible.

No data content will be lost in the combined product, but the table structures and/or formats may differ in a few places. Where this happens, we will include information to enable users to understand where previous content can now be located.

Please see this blog post for more details: ‘Why Graduate Outcomes statistics are experimental’

The design and content of the Statistical Bulletin and open data release were informed by an informal consultation with representative sector organisations and public authorities. The intention of these outputs is to make the survey data as useful and accessible as possible. Please see this blog post for more details: ‘How to publish Graduate Outcomes data?

If you have comments or suggestions to improve the statistical outputs, please use the feedback buttons in the right hand menu of any Statistical Bulletin or open data page.

Definitions: Graduate Outcomes gives definitions for each data field used in table titles, filters, and column and row headings.

Industrial and occupational classifications shows the codes and groupings for industries and occupations used in tables showing the activities of working graduates.

The Quality report is a broad assessment of the quality dimensions of the Graduate Outcomes data and provides information on any known general or specific quality issues.

Known quality issues with specific data items are highlighted in notes under tables, where relevant. It is important to read and understand these notes so that you can engage with the data in an informed and considered way.

HESPA (Higher Education Strategic Planners Association) have produced a guide to using and interpreting Graduate Outcomes data:

Download Graduate Outcomes: A Guide to Using and Interpreting the Data

Open data release

The open data release ‘Graduate Outcomes 2019/20: Data and statistics’ is a large suite of open data tables providing detailed views of the data.

The release covers multiple pages of interactive Google tables and charts on different themes within the survey results.

At the top of each table you’ll find filters which you can use to restrict the table to particular populations (e.g. only show postgraduate leavers or Scottish HE providers).

Under each table are links where you can 'Download table' or 'Download source' data.

The 'Download table' link provides a CSV version of the data table you have selected using the filters. This will normally open in Microsoft Excel.

The 'Download source data' link provides a CSV file containing all the data available for building the Google table, including breakdown for all the available filters.

For some tables the source data is a very large CSV file which may be too big to open in Microsoft Excel directly (over 1,048,576 rows). Other options for opening very large CSV files include using the Data > Get & Transform Data > From Text/CSV process in Excel, or opening the file using different statistical software.

If you need a data breakdown that is not included in the open data release you can request a Tailored Dataset from Jisc. See Other Graduate Outcomes dissemination products and services below.

Please see the Definitions and Notes which provide detailed explanations of each data item that make up the columns, rows and filters for each table.

Further supporting information on the open data homepage for graduates gives context and background to the Graduate Outcomes survey and the statistics produced from it.

If you have questions about the published statistics that are not answered by the supporting material please contact [email protected] or [email protected].

Using the statistics in external provider communications

Upon release of the Graduate Outcomes 2019/20: data and statistics, the embargo on sharing 2019/20 data outside of your provider expires. Please do refer to the guidance note on use of final provider survey data for further guidance on how the data can be used.

Please refer to the guidance note on use of final provider survey data for further guidance on how the data can be used. This includes compliance with the Collection Notice, data subjects’ rights, free text box data and more.

Please ensure that whenever you use, reproduce or reference any survey response data that you include the appropriate attribution and caveat on behalf of HESA, as set out below: 

For open data: 

If you want to re-publish data taken from the HESA website, the statement should be as follows (change year referenced accordingly): 

Source: Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 survey results published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). HESA open data is published under the (CC BY 4.0) licence. 

For other tailored data sets:  

To publish Graduate Outcomes data that isn’t already published on the HESA website – for example, through a ‘tailored data sets’ request or data taken from the ‘provider portal’ - and publication of data is in accordance with the terms of use, the attribution should say (change survey/publication year referenced accordingly): 

Source: Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 survey. Contains HESA Data: Copyright Jisc 2023. Jisc cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. 

Shortened attribution: 

For use only where the format of reproduction does not lend itself to the use of the full attribution clause and caveat - for example, on social media and visual display screens – the following statement should be used (change year referenced accordingly): 

Contains HESA Data © HESA 2022 (


Other Graduate Outcomes dissemination products and services

HESA data analytics services are now delivered by Jisc. Heidi Plus is a web-based business intelligence platform providing a range of HESA datasets, with the ability to perform sector benchmarking and analyse trends over time.

Jisc will notify users by email when new Graduate Outcomes data is released into Heidi Plus.

Read more about Heidi Plus on the Jisc website.

HESA data analytics services are now delivered by Jisc. Graduate Outcomes data will be available for data requests after the Statistical Bulletin has been published.

Read more about Tailored Datasets on the Jisc website.