Skip to main content

Graduate Outcomes data and statistics 2020/21

90% of graduates who responded to the 2020/21 Graduate Outcomes survey were in some form of work or further study. 77% responded that their activity fit with their future plans. These cohorts graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic with the majority surveyed after restrictions had been lifted.

82% of graduates from the 2020/21 academic year were in employment, unpaid work, or a mixture of work and study 15 months after graduation. 61% were in full-time employment compared to 57% of 2019/20 graduates. 4% of UK domicile graduates and 8% of non-UK domicile were unemployed.1

Among UK domicile first degree graduates, 18% were in further study 15 months after graduation. This figure rises to 24% of those who had attended a privately funded school before higher education.2

57% of UK domicile Black and Asian graduates were in full-time employment compared to 63% of White graduates. 6% of Black graduates and 8% of Asian graduates were unemployed compared to 4% of White graduates.3

84% of UK domicile first degree graduates agreed that their activity at the time of the survey was meaningful. 75% agreed that it fit with their future plans and 66% agreed that they were using what they had learned during their studies. Graduates in full-time further study were the most likely to agree to all three statements while unemployed graduates were the most likely to disagree.4

The median salary of UK domicile graduates from full-time first degree courses in full-time paid employment was £26,000 compared to £25,000 the year before. Graduates who studied medicine and dentistry had the highest median salary at £35,000.5

Graduate Outcomes is the largest annual social survey in the UK with 826,610 graduates eligible to take part in the 2020/21 survey. 383,575 graduates provided usable responses giving a response rate of 46%.6

Heidi Fraser Kraus, Chief executive of Jisc, which acquired HESA in 2022, said:

“The results of the latest Graduate Outcomes survey provide valuable insight into the progress of graduates who left university or college to enter a world still reeling from COVID-19. While the employment and salary statistics show graduates doing well, their reflections on their own priorities and wellbeing are particularly illuminating. This survey is a huge challenge to undertake each year, and I'd like to thank all the graduates who complete it. Their contributions really do benefit future cohorts of students.” 

Today’s release includes both high-level national figures and more detailed open data. These include breakdowns by HE provider, subject of study, personal characteristics, and type of employment or further study. The effects of COVID-19 on the survey’s results is investigated in a research insight to accompany the release.


  1. See Figure 4
  2. See Figure 6
  3. See Figure 5
  4. See Figure 18
  5. See Figure 14 – note that salary data is not adjusted for inflation.
  6. See Summary
  7. See Definitions: Graduate Outcomes for full definitions of terms used in the release and explanation of the coverage of statistics.
  8. See Graduate Outcomes user guide for guidance on the background, methodology, and available resources for users of the Graduate Outcomes survey.
  9. HESA cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived from the data by third parties.
Press Release

Press Officer