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Measuring graduate outcomes - consultation responses

Responses to the consultation support the idea of a universal graduate survey, but with changes to content and timing.

In May HESA published a consultation on measuring graduate outcomes and destinations. The nine-week consultation was part of a fundamental review of how this information should be collected and compiled. An initial analysis of the 208 responses, published today, will be used to develop firm proposals which will be put out for further consultation.

Respondents to the consultation overwhelmingly supported the continuation of a graduate destinations survey (>99% agreement). There was also a clear preference (94% agreement) for the survey to be supplemented with linked data, such as salary data from tax records and study data from HESA. Most respondents (92%) agreed that a universal survey was required and should collect and support the public presentations of the rich details of graduate outcomes not captured by data linking. These could include new areas such as entrepreneurship and work-based learning.

Most consultation participants supported the introduction of new measures of success to complement the current use of Standard Occupational Classification. However there was no clear preference for what these measures should be. There was moderate support for a focus on skills and fairly low support for measures of subjective wellbeing. HESA will undertake further work to develop a new measure, making use of the detailed information supplied by consultation respondents.

The current DLHE survey requires HE providers to ask their own leavers what they are doing approximately six months after graduation. The consultation revealed that there is a general preference to extend this time period to 12 months or more, and a third of respondents thought that there should be more than one survey point. There was a mixed response to the question of centralising the survey process with a slight majority in favour of centralisation. Respondents offered reasoning for their positions on this issue giving HESA the opportunity to engage with concerns as the new survey is developed.

Two further research projects were commissioned to support the review. A literature review by CFE research addresses the question "What do good outcomes from HE look like?", while research from the Warwick Institute for Employment Research sought students' and graduates' views on outcomes from HE and associated public information requirements. These research projects were funded by HEFCE and are published on the HESA website.

Dan Cook, HESA Head of Data Policy and Development, who is heading up the review, said:

"The higher education sector has debated the future of graduate destinations data in depth. The number and range of responses to the consultation provides a great source of advice as HESA starts the work of developing a detailed proposal for the replacement for DLHE."

The consultation responses will be used, alongside a range of other sources, to develop a proposal for a new survey and an implementation plan. This will be published later in the year and will be consulted on during the winter.

Read the synthesis of consultation responses

Join the conversation on Twitter: #NewDLHE.


Notes to editors

About the destinations and outcomes review

Full details of the review, including the consultation, steering group and working group membership, and meeting papers, can be found at

About HESA

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the recognised source of data on higher education in the UK. Our experts collect, analyse, and disseminate accurate and comprehensive statistical information on all aspects of UK higher education in order to support the strategic aims of our users and enhance the effectiveness of the sector as a whole. We are a charity and a company limited by guarantee. We operate as an independent organisation, working in close partnership with higher education providers, regulators, funders, government departments, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

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