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Graduate Outcomes 2021/22: Summary Statistics - Summary

Summary statistics Graduate Outcomes 2021/22

Figure 1 - Graduate outcomes by activity

Academic years 2017/18 to 2021/22

  • Among 2021/22 graduates, 83% of respondents were in employment or unpaid work. The majority of these graduates were engaged in full-time employment (61%), with 11% of graduates being engaged in part-time employment and 10% in employment and further study.
  • Unemployment accounted for 5% of responses among 2021/22 graduates, the same as 2020/21. This was down 1 percentage point on 2019/20.
  • The proportion of graduates engaged in full-time further study has decreased by 1 percentage point each year since 2019/20.

Figure 2 - Weighted median salaries of full-time graduates who obtained first degree qualifications and entered full-time paid employment in the UK

Academic year 2021/22


From 2021/22 median salary is calculated to the nearest £1, previously this was to the nearest £500. We advise caution when comparing data of this figure to that of previous years.
Both historically and in this release, earnings data reported by HESA are in nominal terms. This means graduate earnings have not been adjusted for inflation to reflect the purchasing power of those earnings. Therefore, caution is advised when comparing salary data across years.

  • When considering all skill levels combined, male full-time, first degree graduates in full-time paid employment in the UK have a greater median salary than females, with a difference of nearly £1,500.
  • When considering skill level, the pay gap between male and female graduates at the time of the 2021/22 survey was greatest among those in the high skilled employment, with a difference of nearly £2,000.
  • For both males and females, there was a larger gap between the median pay of medium and high skilled workers compared with the gap between pay of low and medium skilled workers.
What is a weighted median?

Weighted median salary is a way of calculating the middle salary (50th percentile) when there are different groups or categories involved. This method accounts for groups of different sizes, giving more weight to groups with more people. This means the salaries of graduates from smaller groups are not over-represented and don't have a disproportionate effect on the overall median.

To find the weighted median salary, we first arrange the salaries from lowest to highest. Then, we calculate the cumulative proportion of people in each group as we go along. The weighted median is the salary where the cumulative proportion or total weight to the left of the median salary equals half of the total weight. When there is no such value, linear interpolation is performed. If the weights are equal, then the weighted median is equivalent to the arithmetic median.

About this release

This release is the annual first release of Graduate Outcomes survey data and covers UK higher education providers (HEPs) and further education colleges (FECs) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data is collected approximately 15 months after HE course completion.

Graduate Outcomes is a survey, which first commenced with the 2017/18 academic year's graduate population. It is conducted differently from previous surveys and produces different information. These statistics are not directly comparable with the results of the earlier Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

​Following an assessment from the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR), the Graduate Outcomes data publication has been awarded official statistics accreditation. Please see the Graduate Outcomes data awarded official statistics accreditation and OSR report for more detail.

Accompanying this release is more detailed information about the outcomes of graduates from higher education, including outcomes by HE provider, this can be found in our Graduate Outcomes open data repository. A suite of supporting information for the Graduate Outcomes publications can be found in the form of a user guide. This contains the Graduate Outcomes quality report providing the most comprehensive assessment currently available on the quality of the data, including on uses and users of the data. A history and background to the survey and information about the survey design is available in the methodology statement and further detail on approaches and standards for dissemination is available in the dissemination section of the methodology statement.

Please see the definitions for further explanations of the terms used in this release.

Figure 3 - Response rates to the Graduate Outcomes survey by domicile and mode of former study

Academic years 2017/18 to 2021/22

  • There were 351,220 graduates who responded to the 2021/22 Graduate Outcomes survey from the target population of 870,295, a rate of 40% complete responses. When including graduates who partially completed the survey, this response rate rises to 44%, increasing the number of usable responses to 381,945.
  • The response rate (including survey partial completed response rate) of non-European Union domiciled graduates has decreased from 18% in 2020/21 to 14% in 2021/22. This follows a decrease from 36% in 2019/20, after the decision to cease calling non-EU international graduates, as covered in Our approach to surveying non-EU international graduates. These graduates are surveyed online exclusively.
  • The response rate of European Union domiciled graduates has also decreased by 3 percentage points relative to 2020/21.

Data used in this release is based on both complete and partially completed responses.

What are partial responses?

Where graduates answer the minimum number of core questions relevant to their circumstances, this is known as a complete response. Sometimes graduates don’t answer enough core questions but they may still start the survey. Where they do not answer a sufficient number of core questions but they do at least answer the first two questions, specifying their current activities and most important activity, this is known as a partially completed response. Further detail on this can be found in the Dissemination section of the Methodology statement.

Accredited official statistics kitemark

Release date

13 June 2024, 9:30



Release frequency



Children, education and skills

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Luke Perrott

Pre-release access

View pre-release access list for this release

Graduate Outcomes open data repository

View detailed information by provider

User guide

View the Graduate Outcomes user guide

Please email questions or comments to [email protected].
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