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Graduate Outcomes statistics show the activities of 2018/19 graduates in 2020

Results of the second annual Graduate Outcomes survey show the activities of graduates 15 months after finishing their higher education course. The majority of survey respondents graduated in 2019 and were surveyed after the Covid-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020.

View Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2018/19

View The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Graduate Outcomes 2018/19

The survey of 2018/19 graduates revealed that 80% of respondents were in employment or unpaid work, including 11% who were engaged in both employment and further study. 75% of graduates who were working in the UK were in highly skilled occupations.

The proportion of 2018/19 graduates in full-time employment was 56%, a fall of 3 percentage points compared with 2017/18 graduates. 7% of 2018/19 graduates were unemployed (including those due to start work or study) compared with 5% of 2017/18 graduates. Graduates who had studied creative arts & design saw the largest increase in the proportion unemployed in the survey of 2018/19 graduates compared with 2017/18.

Asking graduates for their own assessment of their activity the survey found that 85% agreed that their current activity was meaningful, 78% agreed that it fit with their future plans, and 71% agreed that they were using what they had learned during their studies.

Alongside today’s experimental Official Statistics bulletin HESA has published research into the impacts of Covid-19 on the survey and its results. The research found that the quality of data remained high, with better response rates than for the 2017/18 survey. The most obvious effects of the pandemic were the increase in unemployment, and a 50% drop in the rate of graduates taking time out to travel.

A further release of more detailed Graduate Outcomes open data will be published by HESA soon including 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.

This is the second year of running the survey which includes anyone who gained a higher education qualification during the 2018/19 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.

Today’s Experimental Statistical Bulletin Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2018/19 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. Most tables and charts include data from the first two years of the survey.



  • See Definitions: Graduate Outcomes for full definitions of terms used in the release and explanation of the coverage of statistics.
  • HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
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