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Research impact

Our research seeks to achieve the three aims set out in our Research strategy

Aim 1 - To increase our knowledge and use of external sources that collect information on higher education.

The benefits of this could include enabling us to assess the quality of our own data, as well as reduce the burden placed on providers/students/graduates.

How are we achieving this and what impact is it making?

Research paper - How does the return to a degree vary by class of award?

The graduate premium

Our research into the graduate premium explored data from Next StepsBCS70LEO and the Labour Force Survey.

This enabled us to better understand the quality of earnings information collected in LDLHE, as well as contextualise the findings of our LDLHE analysis, which focused on the change in the premium by classification awarded over time.

The research has been utilised in policy circles and was most recently cited in the statement by the government in England to address the Augar review.

Our work has also received significant media coverage (examples include in the Global Education Times, University BusinessTimes Higher Education).

Both secondary and tertiary education institutions have picked up the findings and reported these to their graduates/students, increasing the potential for such data to be used in supporting student choice.

HESA-Census linking

In 2021, we embarked on a project designed to ingest 2011 Census information.

This allowed us to firstly evaluate the quality of our parental education data, which continues to be a matter of interest within the sector (see here and here).

We followed this up by publishing a new area-based measure of disadvantage based on Census 2011 data, which is primarily designed to support outreach activity.

We were able to do this without imposing any additional burden on providers or students/graduates.

Aim 2 - To contribute to expanding our analytical capability.

This will help us to utilise statistical techniques that can augment our outputs over time.

How are we achieving this and what impact is it making?

The design and nature of work

Through applying statistical methods, we have been able to create a composite measure relating to the design and nature of work undertaken by graduates.

This has been generated using the ‘graduate voice’ questions in the Graduate Outcomes survey.

We are currently in the process of developing a set of descriptive insights around the measure as a stepping stone to a more detailed statistical exploration.

Once we understand more about the factors associated with this new variable, our intention is for it to form part of our official statistics outputs.

To date, our work in this area has encouraged debate within the wider sector around the value of higher education (see here and here).

Aim 3 - To support our customers with their decision making.

We shall aim to increase the range of outputs we produce and thereby look to advance knowledge on key issues within higher education.

How are we achieving this and what impact is it making?

Low res version of combined Graduate Outcomes and Covid-19 timeline


We have started to produce additional insights alongside our statistical bulletins to provide greater detail to our customers on the impact of the pandemic on student/graduate outcomes.

These have been drawn upon in media summaries of our data (see here and here).

Career satisfaction

Our work on the differences in career satisfaction by ethnicity has been cited in a House of Commons briefing paper on the educational outcomes of black students.

The research was also referenced in a policy conference regarding the experience of ethnic minority students in higher education.

Foundation years

Our data was used as part of the discussion (see here and here) into the recommendations put forward by the Augar review on this pathway.

The insight was also noted in the response to the Augar review.