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Experimental statistics from the new Graduate Outcomes survey released

Graduate Outcomes is the largest annual social survey in the UK.  Summary results released today show the activities of graduates from the 2017/18 academic year 15 months after completion of a HE course.

View Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2017/18

Results of the inaugural survey show that 81% of graduates were in employment or unpaid work1. 76% of graduates who were working in the UK were in highly skilled occupations2.

The new Graduate Outcomes survey captures a richer picture of the diversity of graduate outcomes by asking university leavers about the value of their activity and their progress towards future goals. These ‘graduate voice’ questions show that 85% of graduates agreed that they were engaged in meaningful activity 15 months after graduation. 79% said that their activity fits with their future plans, and 71% agreed that they were utilising what they had learned during their studies3. Graduates who were employed or in further study were more likely to agree to these statements than those who were unemployed.

The survey results are linked to data collected while each graduate was studying. The results show that male graduates were more likely to be in full time employment than female graduates, but male graduates were also more likely to be unemployed. Younger graduates were more likely to be in further study than older graduates4.

Paul Clark, chief executive of HESA said:

“The release of the Graduate Outcomes experimental statistics represents the first of an annual time series which will give a clear view of the transition from higher education to the workforce. The survey captures rich and robust data and ensures the information we collect reflects recent changes in the HE sector and in the graduate labour market. I would like to thank the graduates who completed the survey online or by telephone interview.”

The Experimental Statistical Bulletin Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2017/18 provides high level findings and characteristics of graduate outcomes at a national level. The release includes breakdowns by graduates’ activity, personal characteristics, employment type, previous study and salary as well as graduates’ own reflections on their activity.

Further releases of more detailed Graduate Outcomes open data will be published by HESA on the HE Graduate Outcomes Data page from 23 June. The first of these releases will include breakdowns by HE provider.

About the Graduate Outcomes survey

HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) has undertaken the survey on behalf of the UK funding and regulatory bodies. The survey asked graduates what they were doing approximately 15 months after finishing their studies.

The survey includes anyone who gained a higher education qualification during the 2017/18 academic year. This includes both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications gained at both higher education providers and further education colleges (except those in Scotland). The survey aimed to contact over 700,000 graduates over four survey periods throughout the year.

Today’s statistics are official statistics marked as ‘Experimental’ because they are newly developed or innovative and undergoing evaluation. Graduate Outcomes is a new survey conducted differently from previous surveys and producing different information. A blog by HESA’s Head of Research and Insight explains the difference between the Graduate Outcomes survey and the earlier Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, and why their results are not comparable: Don't mistake Graduate Outcomes for DLHE

More information about the survey and its results can be found on the Graduate Outcomes open data page on the HESA website, and in HESPA’s guide to using and interpreting the data.



  1. See Figure 1 from Summary page
  2. See Figure 12 from Outcomes by subject studied. Highly skilled employment is defined as major groups 1 to 3 of the Standard Occupational Classification.
  3. See Figure 17 from Graduate reflections
  4. See Figure 5 from Graduate activities and characteristics
  5. See Definitions: Graduate Outcomes for full definitions of terms used in the release and explanation of the coverage of statistics.
  6. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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