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Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2017/18 - Summary

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB257


Experimental statistics


Figure 1 - Graduate outcomes by activity

Academic year 2017/18

  • Graduates in employment or unpaid work accounted for 81% of survey respondents, including 10% who were engaged in both employment and further study.
  • The percentage of survey respondents in further study was 18%, including the 10% who were in both employment and study.
  • Unemployment, including those due to start work or study, accounted for 5% of graduates.

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

Academic year 2017/18

  • The pay gap between male and female full-time first degree graduates in full-time paid employment in the UK at the time of the survey was greatest among those in the high skilled group. 
  • Overall, male graduates were paid 10% more than female graduates.

What is high skilled employment?

The Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) is used to classify UK workers by occupational skill level and content. For this survey, SOC2010 is used as the most up-to-date version at the point of the census weeks. See figure 12 of the bulletin for a full breakdown of graduate numbers by SOC. For a full list of the groups, see the supporting information on SOC.

About this release

This Statistical Bulletin is the annual first release of Graduate Outcomes survey data. These experimental statistics cover UK higher education providers (HEPs) including alternative providers (APs) 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 new survey conducted differently from previous surveys and producing different information. These new statistics are not comparable with the results of the earlier Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

The Graduate Outcomes quality report contains the most comprehensive information 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 policy.

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 year 2017/18

  • There were 361,215 graduates who responded to the Graduate Outcomes 2017/18 survey from the target population of 769,735, a rate of 47% complete responses. When including graduates who partially completed the survey, this response rate rises to 50%, increasing the number of usable responses to 388,570.
  • The completed response rate among UK domiciled graduates was 52%. 
  • Other EU achieved 46% of complete responses where non-EU achieved 29%.

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 policy.

Release date

18 June 2020, 9:30



Release frequency



Children, education and skills

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Rebecca Mantle

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