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Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal survey


What is the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal survey?

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal survey captures information about the activities and perspectives of graduates three and a half years after they completed their studies.

It is one of two surveys of HE leavers that we run; the other - the early DLHE survey - contacts leavers approximately six months after graduation. Respondents to this early survey are invited to opt-in to being contacted again as part of the longitudinal survey. The latest longitudinal survey contacted all those who had opted in, and gathered a total of 107,340 valid responses. 

How often and when is the survey carried out?

The survey was first conducted for the cohort of leavers from 2002/03 and has been carried out every 2 years since (view historical reports). The survey is carried out during the winter months, with the 2012/13 survey having been conducted during winter 2016/17.

Which HE providers are included?

 As with previous years, this release contains information regarding only UK publicly funded higher education institutions plus one alternative provider, The University of Buckingham. It excludes other alternative providers in the sector.

What is the difference between the early survey and the longitudinal survey?

The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey is a census of individuals who have completed higher education courses in the UK. This is carried out approximately six months after the course's end and is referred to as the early DLHE survey. The data capture is undertaken by HE providers, but the procedure is prescribed by HESA, the central source for the collection and dissemination of statistics about publicly funded higher education in the UK.

The DLHE Longitudinal survey, by contrast, is not a census survey but is instead based on a sample of the students who responded to the corresponding early DLHE survey. Leavers who completed an early DLHE survey questionnaire are invited to take part in a follow-up survey three and a half years after they qualified.

Who was eligible to take part?

Of the 370,315 leavers who responded to the 2012/13 early DLHE survey, 50,545 leavers had opted out of any follow-up surveys. These were excluded from the population, leaving 319,770 leavers eligible to take part in the DLHE longitudinal survey.

How was the survey carried out and why is the sample weighted?

All leavers eligible to take part in the survey (excluding the opt-outs) for which contact details were available were contacted to take part. Initial contact was made by e-mail for those with email addresses; phone where no email address was given and a postal invite to the online survey for leavers who only had a postal address. At the end of this first phase, randomly sampled key sub-groups were re-contacted in a second phase to ensure sufficient numbers were available for onward statistical analyses. Contact in this second phase occurred solely over the phone. To ensure the final sample was representative of the entire cohort, each leaver has been assigned a weighted value to account for the over-sampling. Figures included in this report are based on the weighted values and suppressions apply to the underlying unweighted population. This method was slightly different to previous surveys. Full details of the sampling process and survey methodology for this and previous surveys can be found in the definitions.

IFF Research have produced a full report outlining the technical details of the DLHE Longitudinal survey. Please note that figures in the technical report may differ slightly from those published in the tables. The total eligible population in the technical report includes leavers who had opted out of taking part in surveys. This information was supplied by providers to IFF during the collection of contact information. These leavers are excluded from the eligible population and response rates in the HESA output. The valid responses in the technical report includes data for leavers at alternative providers who took part in the survey. These leavers have been excluded from the HESA output in line with the Early DLHE publication.

What was the response rate?

Of the leavers who responded,15 replied to the survey but their responses were not sufficiently complete in order to be counted as valid and have been excluded from all further analysis. 107,340 valid responses were achieved giving an overall response of 33.6%.

What was the survey reference date?

The survey asked a wide range of questions about the activities leavers were undertaking on 28 November 2016.

How can I get the data in a spreadsheet?

All the data is presented in interactive tables on the HESA website and will not be published in Excel spreadsheets. Below each table you will find a 'Get the data' button; this button will allow you to download a *.csv of the data.

If you are planning to open the *.csv files in Excel, you must ensure you import the *.csv data, rather than just opening the file directly. This will ensure the data is presented appropriately without corrupt characters appearing. We have published instructions on how to import *.csv files in earlier versions of Excel. If you are using Excel 2016, you should select 'Data' in the top ribbon and then choose 'From Text/csv'. In the options screen, select '65001: Unicode (UTF-8)' in the 'File Origin' box; click 'Edit' and ensure that all columns are formatted as 'Text'. 

Note: percentages in this report have been rounded to 1dp. If you open *.csv directly in Excel, the data will appear incorrectly formatted to 2dp. 

Why do some cells show ‘..’?

Percentages have been calculated on weighted data, but have been suppressed (and shown as ‘..’ in tabulations) if the unweighted underlying population is less than 22.5. More information on rounding and suppressions can be found in the definitions.

How has the activity question changed over time?

The questions leavers are asked to establish what their main activity was on the survey date have been updated over the years to reflect changes in the employment sector. 'Creating a portfolio' was added as a possible answer in the 2006/07 survey and the 'employment mode unknown' activity was introduced in 2004/05. Where tables show a time series, these activities will show as blank cells for the years they were not applicable.

Where can I find further destinations data?

You can download for free all previous Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal survey reports. Results of the early DLHE survey can be found in our latest Statistical First Release, and in previous year's releases. More detailed data from the early DLHE survey can be found in our DLHE publication.

If you require further data or more detailed analysis, you can submit a custom data request

What is the future of the longitudinal survey?

We have conducted a major review of the data we collect about the destinations and outcomes of graduates. This has led to the creation of the new Graduate Outcomes survey which will provide more comprehensive data that reflects recent changes in the HE sector and the graduate labour market. The first Graduate Outcomes data is due to be published in January 2020.

The Graduate Outcomes survey will contact graduates approximately 15 months after they graduate. A 15-month survey period gives graduates a meaningful opportunity to transition into their post-study pathways, while also being sufficiently close to the point of graduatation that we should be able to maximise response rates. This timing means we plan to only run one survey in future; we will no longer run 'early' and 'longitudinal' destinations surveys. As such, we anticipate that the 2012/13 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal survey will be the final such survey.


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