Skip to main content

Happy Birthday Graduate Outcomes!

We have reached an important milestone on Graduate Outcomes – the new model and survey has turned one year old!

Over the weekend, after a year of surveying, the first year of Graduate Outcomes data collection came to an end. We received responses from 361,348 graduates providing an overall collection response rate of 46.9% and the ‘home’ response rate of 51.6%.

The breakdown by target group can be found in the table below:

Main target group


2017/18 collection response rate

UK domiciled, full-time



UK domiciled, part-time



Research funded



EU domiciled



Non-EU domiciled



Please note, all response rates and results published prior to the final release of data in 2020 are provisional.
Our first year

This has been a year of continuous improvement, listening to providers and developing solutions. Improvements have been actioned across all areas of the service as HESA has worked to optimise the survey and learn between cohorts. These upgrades include improvements to the tools and capabilities used, the survey methodology and improvements in our engagement strategy with graduates. The latter allowed us to achieve improved response rates, as well as to effectively engage providers and keep the sector informed. Read more about our progress throughout year one.

Although HESA has increased response rate between each cohort, you will note that in its first year, HESA has not hit the published home target response rate of 60%. We will continue to aim for this target in our second year, but it is important to bear in mind other significant characteristics of a good quality survey, the key differences between the Graduate Outcomes survey and DLHE, as well as other factors that have affected response rates in our first year.

We now have our all-important year one baseline data. This provides us with more information about Graduate Outcomes than we have ever had before. From this point forwards, we have a fixed reference point providing a basis for comparison as we continue to make improvements to the response rate.

Next steps for Graduate Outcomes

Now that the data collection is complete, we move onto a number of processes to prepare the data for release which we have shared in a timeline. This includes the quality assurance of SIC and SOC coding data by our data classification supplier Oblong, providing the quality assured datasets, the production of statistical outputs, and finally the dissemination. The final dates for the statistical releases will be shared on the Open Data area of our website in due course.

Over the past few weeks we have been listening to provider concerns around SIC / SOC coding. Whilst focusing on the quality of our outputs, we are keen to give providers adequate opportunity to share their feedback with HESA. We have therefore extended the deadline for the submission of systemic coding errors to Monday 6 January 2020. To date, HESA has made several coding changes which have enabled HESA and Oblong to improve the data classification process for 17/18 and future collections. We are preparing a plan for how we take these learnings into future collections to continually improve coding and data quality.

Moving to year two, following on the footsteps of the close of cohort D, the survey opened successfully for year two on Monday 2 December! Review the overview of survey timings

HESA would like to thank all colleagues involved in all aspects of the survey, sector bodies, partners and suppliers for their hard work and support during the year. We look forward to continuing to work closely with you as we enter year two of the survey and start preparing the data for release.


Press Officer