Skip to main content

Unemployment up for new graduates, but increased numbers go on to further study or training

2001/02 First desinations data published by HESA

The number of graduates entering employment has fallen this year according to data published today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency in its publication ‘First Destinations of Students Leaving Higher Education Institutions 2001/02’. The official figures show that employment has fallen from 68% to 67% and that unemployment has risen from 5% to 6%. The unemployment figures mark the first rise since HESA records began in 1994/95. The unemployment rate had been at 5% since 1997/98. The highest rate of unemployment was amongst graduates who qualified with first degrees (BA, BSc, etc) and who were living in the UK before they started their studies.

Breaking the employment figures down further shows that 64% gained employment within the UK and 3% found employment overseas. Last year 4% of graduates were in overseas employment. The increased unemployment rate has been mitigated somewhat by the report finding that the numbers continuing on to further study or training have increased from 19% last year to 20% in 2001/02. The chart below shows the breakdown of destinations for all qualifiers:

All qualifiers by first destination 2001/02

Women from the UK were most likely to find employment, particularly those at other undergraduate level (HE Diplomas and Certificates etc.) with 67% finding a job in the UK. Women with first degree qualifications who were from the UK were the most likely to go on to study or train further with 49% doing so. At postgraduate level further study would consist of postgraduate diploma and certificate courses (including PGCE’s). The table below gives more information on how destinations compare by level of qualification, gender and domicile:

All Qualifiers by First Destination, Level of Qualification, Domicile and Gender 2001/02
in the UK
study or
Not available for
study or training
to be
     Others(1)           Total
    Female 17400 460 1085 580 490 110 20125
    Male 10235 540 1235 305 585 90 12990
  Other EU                
    Female 655 1005 450 70 95 280 2555
    Male 460 965 480 335 95 250 2585
First degree
    Female 66550 2150 19115 6070 5165 1020 100065
    Male 47625 1725 13890 4970 6945 1170 76325
  Other EU                
    Female 775 600 1615 155 160 430 3735
    Male 455 445 1765 160 160 440 3435
Other undergraduate
    Female 9025 60 3785 370 225 65 13530
    Male 3070 45 4185 160 370 75 7910
  Other EU                
    Female 180 60 125 10 10 40 425
    Male 30 25 135 10 10 30 240
Total     156465 8080 47865 13190 14310 4000 243910
(1) Includes Other EU students leaving UK. In this table 0, 1, 2 are rounded to 0. All other numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest 5

The survey also examined the occupations and industries that graduates work in after leaving higher education. The majority of first degree students found employment in professional occupations, whilst relatively few took on plant and machine operative positions. There was a fairly close parity between the numbers of males and females entering the various occupation groups although 19% of women entered clerical and secretarial positions compared with only 15% of men.

When looking at the industries that first degree graduates were employed in, the property development, renting, business & research activities sector proved to be the most popular choice. Two sectors, electricity, gas & water supply and financial activities, stand out as employing large proportions of the graduates that they recruited in clerical and secretarial posts at 39% and 45% respectively.

Notes for editors

  1. The Reference Volume: First Destinations of Students Leaving Higher Education Institutions 2001/02 provides a statistical reference of the first destinations of students leaving Higher Education in the UK for 2001/02.
  2. The HESA First Destination Supplement (FDS) target population includes all UK and EU domiciled students reported to HESA for the reporting period 1 August 2001 to 31 July 2002 as obtaining relevant qualifications and whose study was full-time (including sandwich students and those writing up theses). A first destination return was not sought from those students whose study was previously part-time. The HESA FDS target population excludes non-EU overseas domiciled students. The reference date for the FDS was 3 January 2003.
  3. The Reference Volume is available from the Customer Services Team, HESA Services Ltd., 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ; telephone: 01242 211155. An electronic version on CD-ROM is also available. A list of other publications can be obtained from the Customer Services Team.
  4. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
  5. Press enquiries should be directed to Press Officer at HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ; telephone 01242 211136.


Press Release

Press Officer