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Definitions: Destinations of Leavers

The following definitions relate to our Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2011/12 - 2014/15. The DLHE survey was redesigned for 2011/12 onwards and as a result is not comparable to earlier years.

2007/08 - 2010/11 leavers definitions

The DLHE data can be linked to our Student record to provide leavers' course and personal characteristics. Definitions definitions for these characteristics can be found here.

Survey reference dates

The DLHE survey asks leavers what they are doing on a particular reference (census) date. The exact dates vary each year but are intended to be roughly six months after graduation. If the leaver obtained their qualification between 1 August and 31 December the reference date will be mid-April of the following year. If the leaver obtained their qualification between 1 January and 31 July the reference date will be mid-January of the next year. Most first degree leavers have the latter January reference date.

  • The reference dates for 2011/12 DLHE were 16 April 2012 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 August 2011 and 31 December 2011) and 14 January 2013 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 January 2012 and 31 July 2012).
  • The reference dates for 2012/13 DLHE were 15 April 2013 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 August 2012 and 31 December 2012) and 13 January 2014 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 January 2013 and 31 July 2013).
  • The reference dates for 2013/14 DLHE were 15 April 2014 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 August 2013 and 31 December 2013) and 12 January 2015 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 January 2014 and 31 July 2014)
  • The reference dates for 2014/15 DLHE were 15 April 2015 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 August 2014 and 31 December 2014) and 12 January 2016 (if the leaver obtained the qualification between 1 January 2015 and 31 July 2015)
Destinations coverage

The DLHE target population contains all students reported to HESA for the reporting period 01 August to 31 July as obtaining relevant higher education qualifications and whose study was full-time or part-time (including sandwich students and those writing-up theses). Awards from dormant status are only included in the target population for postgraduate research students.

Excluded from the target population are those leavers with further education level qualifications, leavers who studied mainly overseas, incoming exchange students, students who are on an intercalated course during this period, and deceased students.

From 2011/12 the DLHE target population includes students from all domiciles, and is no longer restricted to UK and European Union domiciled leavers. Officially, the Crown Dependencies of Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man are not part of the UK or the EU. However, they are grouped with and assumed to be part of the UK in the HESA DLHE record.

Relevant qualifications for inclusion in the DLHE record are taken from the qualification awarded to the student instance during the reporting year, usually at the end of an instance. The qualification awarded may be different to the student's qualification aim, and each student instance may have a maximum of two qualifications awarded. Where two relevant qualifications are awarded, the highest award is selected as the relevant qualification for DLHE. Relevant higher education qualifications exclude awards to visiting students, students on post-registration health and social care courses, professional qualifications for serving school teachers, and awards of institutional credit.

HESA classifies courses according to a framework which aligns with the framework for HE qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ), the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) (of which the framework for qualifications of HE institutions in Scotland is a constituent part) and the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) and Bologna frameworks. Details are available on the Course.COURSEAIM field notes in the HESA Student record coding manual. It includes level M for taught masters degrees, and level H for honours degrees.

Following the review of the DLHE survey and consultation with government departments, the HE sector and users of the data, the DLHE survey was re-designed for the 2011/12 survey to collect richer information from leavers, particularly regarding their activities on the survey data. Leavers report all the activities that they are undertaking on the census date and indicate which one they consider to be most important to them. From these responses, destination categories are derived taking into account the most important activity and, in some instances, other activities the leaver is involved in.

Destinations target and response

Eligible DLHE population includes those instances identified in the HESA Student record that met criteria within the DLHE target population based on location of study, mode of study, end date of instance and qualification awarded.

Known destination includes leavers within the eligible DLHE population who replied to the DLHE questionnaire providing destination information.

Explicit refusal includes leavers within the eligible DLHE population who replied to the DLHE questionnaire explicitly refusing to provide information.

Response includes leavers who replied to the DLHE questionnaire (i.e. known destination plus explicit refusals).

Response rate is the number of responses expressed as a percentage of the eligible DLHE population.

Rounding and suppression strategy

Due to the provision of the Data Protection Act 1998 we implement a strategy in published and released tabulations designed to prevent the disclosure of personal information about any individual. This strategy involves rounding all numbers to the nearest multiple of 5 and suppressing percentages and averages based on small populations.

HESA Services Standard Rounding Methodology:

  1. All numbers are rounded to the nearest multiple of 5
  2. Any number lower than 2.5 is rounded to 0
  3. Halves are always rounded upwards (e.g. 2.5 is rounded to 5)
  4. Percentages based on fewer than 22.5 individuals are suppressed
  5. Averages based on 7 or fewer individuals are suppressed
  6. The above requirements apply to headcounts, FPE and FTE data
  7. Financial data is not rounded

Total figures are also subject to this rounding methodology after calculation; so the sum of numbers in each row or column may not match the total shown. Suppressed values are normally represented as '..' in published tables.

For more information on the rounding methodology, including worked examples and instructions on how to apply rounding, please see Rounding and suppression to anonymise statistics.

Activity, most important activity

In the DLHE survey leavers are able to report what they are doing in relation to both employment and study. They are able to report up to eight individual activities, of which one must be indicated to be the 'most important'. The categories for reporting these activities, and the most important activity, are as follows:

  • Working full-time (including self-employed/freelance, voluntary or other unpaid work, developing a professional portfolio/creative practice or on an internship/placement)
  • Working part-time (including self-employed/freelance, voluntary or other unpaid work, developing a professional portfolio/creative practice or on an internship/placement)
  • Due to start a job in the next month
  • Engaged in full-time further study, training or research
  • Engaged in part-time further study, training or research
  • Taking time out in order to travel
  • Doing something else (e.g retired, looking after home or family)
  • Unemployed
Activity, publication category

These activities as shown above are used to derive a category for publication that reflects the range of activities undertaken. Leavers identified as ineligible, or who have explicitly refused to provide information are grouped for publication as 'Ineligibility or explicit refusal'. All other respondents are categorised according to their range of activities.

Unemployed and looking for work

Unemployed and looking for work

Working full-time

Most important activity If any other activity includes Derived activity category
Working full-time Engaged in full-time study, training or research OR Engaged in part-time further study, training or research Primarily in work and also studying
Working full-time Otherwise Full-time work
Working part-time Engaged in full-time study, training or research OR Engaged in part-time further study, training or research Primarily in work and also studying
Working part-time Otherwise Part-time work
Unemployed and looking for work   Unemployed
Due to start a job in the next month Working full-time Full-time work
Due to start a job in the next month Engaged in full-time further study, training or research, provided that Working full-time or Working part-time has not been selected Full-time study
Due to start a job in the next month Working part-time, provided that Working full-time has not been selected. Part-time work
Due to start a job in the next month Otherwise Due to start work
Engaged in full-time further study, training or research Working full-time OR Working part-time Primarily studying and also in work
Engaged in full-time further study, training or research Otherwise Full-time study
Engaged in part-time further study, training or research Working full-time OR Working part-time Primarily studying and also in work
Engaged in part-time further study, training or research Otherwise Part-time study
Taking time out in order to travel   Other
Doing something else   Other

N.B. Ineligibility or explicit refusal are excluded from the destinations population, however if shown will be in the derived activity category 'Ineligibility or explicit refusal'

Derived activity categories

  • Full-time work includes those who indicated their most important activity was working full-time, and whose other activities did not include either full-time or part-time further study, training or research, and those who were due to start a job in the next month and whose other activities included working full-time.
  • Part-time work includes those who indicated their most important activity was working part-time, and whose other activities did not include either full-time or part-time further study, training or research. It also includes those where the most important activity was due to start a job in the next month and other activities included working part-time but not working full-time..
  • Primarily in work and also studying includes those who indicated their most important activity was working full-time or part-time, and whose other activities included full-time or part-time study, training or research.
  • Primarily studying and also in work includes those who indicated their most important activity was full-time or part-time study, training or research, and whose other activities included working full-time or part-time.
  • Full-time study includes those who indicated their most important activity was full-time further study, training or research, and whose other activities did not include working full-time or part-time. It also includes those where the most important activity was due to start a job in the next month, and an additional activity included full-time further study, training or research, provided that working full-time was not also reported as an activity.
  • Part-time study includes those who indicated their most important activity was part-time further study, training or research, and whose other activities did not include working full-time or part-time.
  • Due to start work includes those who indicated in their most important activity that they were due to start a job in the next month, but neither working full-time, working part-time, or further study was reported as an activity.
  • Unemployed includes those who indicated in their most important activity that they were unemployed.
  • Other includes those whose most important activity was either taking time out in order to travel, or doing something else.

In some analyses, these categories are grouped: 

  • Work includes both full-time work and part-time work. 
  • Further study includes both full-time study and part-time study. 
  • Work and further study includes both primarily in work and also studying, and primarily studying and also in work. 
  • Where Due to start work is not shown as a separate analytical category, this has been grouped with Unemployed.
Activity markers

We have also derived the raw fields into various activity markers to enable a more detailed analysis of the data. Details of these new derived field can be found below:

Activity marker 1-8

The activity marker is a yes/no response to weather the activity box was ticked.

For example, Activity 3 (Unemployed), ‘1' will identify that this box has been ticked and ‘0' that it has not. This does not take into account the most important activity.

Number of activities

The number of activities gives the sum of the number of ticked boxes selected.

Age of leaver

Age is as at 31 July of the reporting period. That is, the end of the academic year in which the leaver gained their relevant qualification.

Employer name

This field collects the name of the employer. This is a free-text field upon which no specific validation checks are performed.

Employer size

This field describes the size of the employing organisation by the number of people employed. The groupings of this field differ from previous years and are as follows:

2012/13-2013/14

  • 1 to 9
  • 10 to 49
  • 50 to 99
  • 100 to 249
  • 250 to 499
  • 500 to 999
  • Over 1000

2011/12

  • 1 to 5
  • 6 to 10
  • 11 to 25
  • 26 to 50
  • 51 to 100
  • 101 to 200
  • 201 to 500
  • Over 500
Employment basis

This describes the HE leaver's own assessment of the basis of their employment in the work they were doing on the census date. The information captured relates to the employment activity the HE leaver considers to be their main job.

Higher education experience for business

This field asks the leaver to identify how well their higher eduction experience prepared them for being self-employed/freelance or for starting up their own business. The responses are categorised in the following way:

  1. Very well
  2. Well
  3. Not very well
  4. Not at all
  5. Can't tell
  6. 6          Unable to code

We would advise caution when analysing these data since this question has been answered by those who are not self-employed/freelance.

Higher education experience for study

This field asks the leaver to identify how well their higher education experience prepared them for further study. The responses are categorised in the following way:

  1. Very well
  2. Well
  3. Not very well
  4. Not at all
  5. Can't tell
  6. Unable to code

We would advise caution when analysing these data since this question has been answered by those who are not in further study.

Higher education experience for work

This field asks the leaver to identify how well their higher education experience prepared them for employment. The responses are categorised in the following way:

  1. Very well
  2. Well
  3. Not very well
  4. Not at all
  5. Can't tell
  6. Unable to code

We would advise caution when analysing these data since this question has been answered by those who are not in employment.

How found job

This field describes how the leaver found the job they were doing on the census date.

How funding further study

This field describes how the leaver is funding their further study/training.

Leavers must only specify one of the valid categories. If more than one is entered their entry is  returned as the one nearest the top of the list ordered in the valid entries.

Importance to employer

This field describes the factors that the HE leaver thought were important to their employer in their getting the job they were doing on the reference date. Leavers are asked to identify whether the subject of study, level of study, both subject and level, or none were of importance.

Leavers can only enter one of the specified categories for this field. If more than one is entered their entry is returned as the one nearest the top of the list as ordered in the valid entries.

University or college providing study

If a leaver is in further study this field identifies the nature of the university or college at which the student is registered on the census date.

JACS 3.0

This field collects the JACS code for the subject of the study, training or research that the leaver was undertaking on the census date.

In 2011/12 a single subject was returned in the survey. From 2012/13 this has been increased to allow up to 3 subjects, although the survey does not ask for the proportion of time allocated to each subject.

Job title

This field collects a description of the nature of the of the leaver's job title. This is a free-text field, upon which no specific validation checks are made.

Location of employment

This describes the location of the HE leaver's place of work. Data is supplied to HESA in the form of postcodes (for employment in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man) or country codes. Postcodes are mapped to counties, unitary authorities, Regions and UK countries using the Office for National Statistics Postcode Directory (ONSPD). Countries are mapped to geographical regions, informed by the National Statistics Country Classification 2006 grouping of countries (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/national-statistics-country-classification/index.html).

Other European Union (EU) includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden. Croatia is additionally included in this category from 2013/14 onwards, having acceded to the EU on 1 July 2013.

Other EEA countries includes the European Economic Area countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Other Europe includes Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus (Non-European-Union), Faroe Islands, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Svalbard and Jan Mayen, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City and Europe not otherwise specified. Croatia is included in this category prior to 2013/14, from which point it was included as 'Other European Union (EU)' following accession to the EU.

Mode of further study

The qualification obtained mode of study used in HESA destinations of leavers analyses re-allocates writing-up status student instance awards to their previous mode. See definitions for students & qualifiers statistics for the standard mode of study definitions.

In leavers statistics, full-time study includes writing-up status where the mode of study was previously full-time and students changing to dormant status previously full-time.

In leavers statistics, part-time study includes writing-up status where the mode of study was previously part-time, awards given to those on sabbatical and students changing to dormant status previously part-time.

Mode of study

The qualification obtained mode of study used in HESA destinations of leavers analyses re-allocates writing-up status student instance awards to their previous mode. See Definitions for students & qualifiers statistics for the standard Mode of study definitions.

  • In leavers statistics, full-time study includes writing-up status where the mode of study was previously full-time and students changing to dormant status previously full-time.
  • In leavers statistics, part-time study includes writing-up status where the mode of study was previously part-time, awards given to those on sabbatical and students changing to dormant status previously part-time.
Nature of employers business

This field collects a description of the nature of the employer's business. This is a free-text field, upon which no specific validation checks are made.

Previously employed

This field identifies whether the HE leaver worked for their employer before or during the programme of study leading to their qualification 

Previous employment categories (1-7)

These fields describe the categories of work that the higher education leaver had undertaken previously for their employer. The leaver can tick as many categories as is required.

  1. On a sandwich placement
  2. On another kind of placement or project work
  3. As a holiday job
  4. Full-time or part-time work all year round
  5. Full-time or part-time work during term time
  6. On an internship
  7. In other ways
Qualification required for job

This field describes whether the HE leaver's qualification was a necessary criteria in gaining the job they were doing on the census date.

Reason for taking the job (1-9 and main reason)

The fields 1-9  identify all of the reasons why the HE leaver decided to take the job that they were doing on the census date. The main reason field identifies what the HE leaver considers to be the MAIN reason why they decided to take the job that they were doing on the census date. The leaver can tick as many categories as is required.

The elements for these fields are as follows:

  1. It fitted into my career plan/it was exactly the type of work I wanted
  2. It was the best job offer I received
  3. It was the only job offer I received
  4. It was an opportunity to progress in the organisation
  5. To see if I would like the type of work it involved
  6. To gain and broaden my experience in order to get the type of job I really want
  7. It was in the right location
  8. The job was well-paid
  9. In order to earn a living/pay off debts
Salary

2011/12 - 2013/14 - Describes the annual salary to the nearest thousand pounds before tax. It is collected for all leavers who indicated an activity of either full-time or part-time work, regardless of whether it is their most important activity.

2014/15 - Describes the annual pay equivalent, based on the leavers' pay, pay currency, pay period and employment hours.

For the majority of analyses, salary is restricted to leavers in full-time work excluding unpaid/voluntary work.

Salary band describes the annual salary for leavers grouped into bands, excluding those that returned a zero salary.

Unknown includes respondents who returned zero salary plus those that did not wish to give salary information (information refused).

Mean salary is the sum of salaries divided by the number of leavers. Those with zero or unknown salary are excluded. Please note, means based on a population of 7 or less leavers will be suppressed.

Median salary and quartiles are calculated and displayed to the nearest £500. Those with a zero or unknown salary are excluded. Please note, medians based on a population of 7 or less leavers will be suppressed and quartiles based on a population of 14 or fewer leavers will be suppressed.

Applicable Salary maker

In enquiries where salary is provided alongside other DLHE fields. A marker is also supplied in order to allow salary data to be restricted to the HESA standard population.

This marker restricts data according to the following criteria:

  • Full-time paid employment
  • Excluding unpaid leavers'
  • Excluding leavers with a volunteer employment basis. 

It is advisable to apply this marker when analysing salary data for a leaver's main job.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC)

The Standard Industrial Classification of economic activities (SIC) provides a framework for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of data about economic activities.

From 2007/08 the aggregations reflect the Standard Industrial Classification economic activity sections as summarised in the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities 2007 (SIC 2007) (pdf) document on the National Statistics website.

Standard industry codes for economic activity are used to describe the relationship between the inputs and outputs of such activity. In cases where multiple activities take place, classification usually relates to the single most important activity. In the case of DLHE statistics, this will usually be the most important activity undertaken by an employer (or self-employed person). Economic activities are measured by enquiring into the nature of an employer's (or self-employed person's) business.

Prior to 2007/08, SIC classification was based on the SIC92 coding framework.

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) and Professional marker

For a list of SOC codes and their standard grouping see Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) groups.

In 2011 HESA adopted the SOC2010 Standard Occupational Classification (which replaced SOC2000), for comparability of sector data with other areas of the economy. A variant of the SOC2010 was created for the coding of occupational information collected in the DLHE survey. The classification is termed SOC2010 (DLHE) and details are available from the Downloadable files section of the HESA DLHE coding manual on the HESA website (Standard Occupational Classification (2010) for the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions: SOC 2010 (DLHE))(pdf).

Professional/non-professional marker (consistent with UNISTATS methodology)

Standard Occupational Classification major groupings may be further grouped into professional and non-professional categories as follows:

Professional

  • Managers, directors and senior officials
  • Professional occupations
  • Associate professional and technical occupations.

Non-professional

  • Administrative and secretarial occupations
  • Skilled trades occupations
  • Caring, leisure and other service occupations
  • Sales and customer service occupations
  • Process, plant and machine operatives
  • Elementary occupations.
Teaching employment

This identifies the actual and intended destinations (i.e. in a teaching post, seeking a teaching post, not teaching nor seeking a teaching post) of HE leavers who completed an initial or pre-service teacher training course.

Specific information is requested from HE leavers that completed a course leading to Qualified Teacher Status or a course of pre-service teacher training as defined by the Scottish Government, those who completed an initial or pre-service teacher training course not leading to Qualified Teacher Status nor to registration as a school teacher with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, or National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) funded flexible provision (ITT).

Teaching funded

The field describes, for those in a teaching post, the type of school or college they were teaching in on the census date.

  1. State-funded school or college
  2. Both state-funded and non-state-funded school or college
  3. Non-state-funded school or college
  4. Not known
Teaching phase

This describes, for those in a teaching post, the type of establishment in which the HE leaver is teaching (i.e. primary school, secondary school, both primary and secondary schools, college or other educational establishment).

Type of further qualification

This identifies the type of qualification the leaver was aiming for, if they were engaged in further study on the census date.

The qualification sought relates to what the HE leaver considers to be their main study activity.