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Higher Education Graduate Outcomes Statistics: UK, 2018/19 - Graduate activities and characteristics

Statistical Bulletin Experimental SB260

 

Experimental statistics

What were the activities of graduates?

Of graduates who responded to the 2018/19 survey 88% were in some form of work or further study (down from 90% in the survey of 2017/18 graduates). The remaining 12% were unemployed or doing an other activity such as travelling, caring for someone, or, retired. 

Figure 4 shows:

  • The percentage of unemployed graduates (including those due to start work or study) was up two percentage points in the survey of 2018/19 graduates at 7% compared with 5% in the 2017/18 survey. Most 2018/19 graduates were surveyed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During a similar time period, an increase in unemployment within the general UK population was also reported within labour market overview statistics published by the ONS. An overall unemployment rate of 4.8% was reported for the third quarter of 2020, up 0.9 percentage points on the same quarter of the previous year.
  • The percentage of undergraduates who were unemployed (including those due to start work or study) increased more between the two years than it did for postgraduates. Correspondingly, there was a greater drop in the percentage of undergraduates in full time employment over the two year period than for postgraduates.
  • The proportion of graduates doing an other activity such as travelling, caring for someone, or, retired dropped from 6% among the 2017/18 graduate cohort to 5% in the 2018/19 cohort. Much of this drop was due to a decrease in graduates reporting to be taking time out to travel in a year when opportunities to travel were severely restricted by the pandemic.
What are confidence intervals?

Given that we are reporting on a subset of graduates from the total target population in this survey (i.e. those who responded to the survey – the sample), we cannot be completely certain that any statistics we create from that sample are exactly the same as the statistics we could have created if every single graduate in our target population had responded. A confidence interval gives us a statistical way to indicate a range of values within which we can be reasonably confident the ‘true’ (i.e. total population) value would fall. For Graduate Outcomes data, 95% confidence intervals are used which means that there is a 95% chance that the interval calculated from the sample covers the true value. The width of the confidence interval gives some idea about how precise an estimated value is: the wider the range from the stated percentage, the less the precision. More information on confidence intervals and survey weighting is available in the methodology statement.

What is interim study?

The census point of the survey is at 15 months after graduation which means that many graduates may have undertaken other qualifications such as Master’s degrees during this period. At the point of the survey some may only just be completing those further qualifications. The interim study filter allows you to include or exclude graduates who are likely to have spent most of the 15 month period in full-time study from tables and charts. Whether you choose to include or exclude these graduates will depend on your intended use for the statistics. For example, if you are assessing the rates of unemployment of graduates it may not be fair to compare graduates who are likely to have spent most of the 15 months in the labour market with those who have only recently entered the labour market. In this example it may be more sensible to exclude graduates who have spent most of the 15 months in full-time study.

Figure 4 - Graduate outcomes by activity and domicile

Academic years 2017/18 to 2018/19

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Figure 5 shows:

Sex of graduates

  • From the 2017/18 to the 2018/19 graduate cohort, there was a 3 percentage point decrease in the proportion of males in full-time employment. Note that this drop coincides with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic during which many 2018/19 graduates were surveyed.
  • For graduates of both years, a higher proportion of females who previously studied part-time were in part-time employment than females who studied full-time. This trend is reversed among male graduates.
  • Among 2018/19 graduates, the proportion who were unemployed at the point of survey was higher for males than females. The proportion who were in full-time employment was also higher for males, with females more likely to be in part-time employment or doing an other activity such as caring for someone, travelling or retired.

Age of graduates

  • A higher percentage of graduates aged between 25 and 29 were in full time employment compared to other age groups. 
  • Between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 cohorts there was a greater drop in the proportion of graduates aged under 25 in full time employment at the point of the survey, than among graduates aged 25 and above. There was also a greater increase in the proportion of graduates aged under 25 who reported to be unemployed compared with the proportion of unemployment among those aged 25 and over.
How is graduate age calculated?

The HESA student record includes date of birth information collected from HE providers. Graduate Outcomes survey results are linked to the HESA Student record. Age is then calculated for graduates at 31 July of the reporting period (the end of the academic year in which the graduate gained their relevant qualification). 

Graduate disability status

  • A lower proportion of graduates with a known disability go on to full-time employment than those with no known disability. Graduates with a known disability were more likely to be in part-time employment or voluntary work than graduates with no known disability.

Graduate ethnicity

  • Of White graduates domiciled in the UK, 59% were in full-time employment. This is 9 percentage points higher than UK domiciled graduates in BME groups.
  • Graduates of Black, Asian, Mixed or Other ethnicity were more likely to be unemployed than White graduates.
  • Between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 surveys there was a greater increase in the proportion of BME graduates reporting to be unemployed than the proportion of unemployed white graduates.
What is ‘BME’ and why is ethnicity only available for UK domiciled graduates?

The HESA student record includes ethnicity information collected from HE providers (see ethnicity definition).

BME stands for ‘Black and minority ethnic’ and is a combination of the Black, Asian, Mixed and Other ethnicity categories. Graduate Outcomes survey results are linked to the HESA Student record. Ethnicity data in the HESA Student record is only collected for UK domicile students. To view ethnicity data in Figure 5 use the domicile filter to select 'All UK' or one of the UK nations.

Figure 5 - Graduate outcomes by activity and personal characteristics

Academic years 2017/18 to 2018/19

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Figure 6 shows:

  • UK domiciled graduates from full-time undergraduate courses were more likely to be in full-time further study if they had attended a privately funded school than if they had attended a state-funded school or college.
  • A higher proportion of graduates from state-funded school or colleges went in to part-time employment than those from privately funded schools.
  • Between the 2017/18 and 2018/19 surveys there was a greater decrease in the proportion of graduates in full-time employment among those whose parents have higher education qualifications compared with those who parents had not received higher education qualifications.
  • Those whose parents have higher education qualifications were more likely to go on to full-time further study than those whose parents had not received higher education qualifications.
  • Among graduates domiciled from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, those from low participation neighbourhoods were less likely to go in to full-time employment and more likely to go in to part-time employment than those from other participation neighbourhoods.

Low participation neighbourhood information comes from the participation of local areas (POLAR) classification, which is maintained by the Office for Students.

Index of multiple deprivation (IMD) uses data pertaining to the domicile of graduates. When a country of domicile is selected in the filter below IMD data for other countries will be hidden. The various indices of multiple deprivation use similar methodologies, but differ in the indicators used, the time periods included and the sizes of the areas they cover. These factors mean that IMD is not comparable between UK administrations.

Figure 6 - Outcomes of undergraduate UK domiciled full-time graduates by participation characteristics

Academic years 2017/18 to 2018/19

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Figure 7 shows:

  • Among graduates who studied part-time a higher proportion were employed on a permanent/open ended contract than those who studied full-time.
  • The proportion of graduates on a permanent/open ended contract was lower for those who had studied at a postgraduate (research) level than it was for any other level. However the proportion of postgraduates (research) on a fixed-term contract lasting 12 months or longer was over twice as high than all other levels.
  • There were 7,990 survey respondents on zero hours contracts from the 2018/19 graduating cohort, representing 4% of graduates whose most important activity was working for an employer in the UK. This was up from 3% in the 2017/18 cohort.
What is the work type marker?

The 'work type marker' allows you to filter the data by the type of work the graduate reported as being their most important activity.

Figure 7 - Employment basis of graduates working for an employer in the UK by level of qualification obtained

Academic years 2017/18 to 2018/19

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Figure 8 shows:

  • Of those running their own business at the time of the 2018/19 survey, 33% were non-UK domiciled graduates. When restricting the work population to those who stated a most important activity of running their own business, this figure increases further to 38%.
  • Among graduates of masters taught courses, more than half of those reporting running their own business as their most important activity were domiciled from outside of the EU.
What is the work population marker?

The ‘work population marker’ allows you to view data either based on all graduates who report one or more work-based activities, or alternatively to focus on those graduates who state that one of these activities is their most important activity. Whether you choose to use data for graduates where work is an activity or focus on just those where work is a most important activity will depend on your intended use for the statistics.

Figure 8 - Graduates running own business, self-employed/freelancing or developing a portfolio by domicile

Academic years 2017/18 to 2018/19

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Release date

20 July 2021, 9:30

Coverage

UK

Release frequency

Annual

Themes

Children, education and skills

Issued by

HESA, 95 Promenade, Cheltenham, GL50 1HZ

Press enquiries

+44 (0) 1242 388 513 (option 6), [email protected]

Public enquiries

+44 (0) 1242 388 513 (option 2), [email protected]

Statistician

Rebecca Mantle

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