Tax Year 2018-19

Graduate outcomes (LEO)

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  1. Amendment to Industry data - 3 digit level file (prior attainment band names added).

  2. New data on Graduate industry included.

  3. Charts reformatted due to platform issue.

  4. Publication reissued to resolve platform wide technical issues.

Graduate outcomes (Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO)): Employment and earnings outcomes of higher education graduates by subject studied and graduate characteristics

This release updates previously published figures with the latest available data (2018/19 tax year). These statistics do not include any impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are official statistics. For more information on what this means, please see the ‘Official statistics’ section at the end of this publication.

Employment and earnings outcomes given are for graduates of English Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Alternative Providers (APs) and Further Education Colleges (FECs), one, three, five and ten years after graduation (YAG), in the 2018/19 tax year, with comparisons to previous tax years from 2014/15 to 2017/18. UK domiciled and International (EU and non-EU domiciled) outcomes are separated. 

For the first time in this publication, we will be including additional analysis on full cycle graduate movement. This information was first published in Graduate Outcomes (LEO): Regional Outcomes, 2016 to 2017 as experimental statistics. This analysis looks at the proportion of graduates who move between their home region, study region and current region. Breakdowns of full cycle movement by free school meals (FSM) eligibility and participation of local areas (POLAR) quintile are new analysis that have not previously been published.

NEW graduate industry dashboard was added to this release on May 12th 2022.  For the first time, the UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) has been combined with the main LEO dataset providing employment outcomes and information on graduate industry of employment by sex, ethnicity, free school meals (FSM) eligibility, prior attainment band, current region of residence, subject studied and qualification level. 

We have also included a new table providing more granular breakdowns of subject areas. This table can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section. 


Headline facts and figures - 2018-19

Explore data and files

All data used in this release is available as open data for download


Open data

Browse and download individual open data files from this release in our data catalogue


Guidance

Learn more about the data files used in this release using our online guidance


Create your own tables

You can view featured tables that we have built for you, or create your own tables from the open data using our table tool


All supporting files

All supporting files from this release are listed for individual download below:

List of all supporting files

About this release

Background

The LEO dataset links information about students, including:

  • Personal characteristics such as sex, ethnic group and age
  • Education, including schools, colleges and higher education provider attended, courses taken, and qualifications achieved
  • Employment and income
  • Benefits claimed

By combining these sources, we can look at the progress of higher education leavers into the labour market. Further information on the data included in the LEO dataset can be found in the accompanying methodology, which also contains further information on the data quality and match rates.

This publication looks at those who graduated with a first degree qualification from higher education providers in England. First degrees are also known as bachelor’s degrees. 

Years after graduation (YAG)

The time periods used in this publication are one, three, five and ten years after graduation, which refers to the first, third, fifth and tenth full tax year after graduation, respectively (or the 2016/17, 2014/15, 2012/13 and 2007/8 academic years of graduation respectively). For instance, for the 2016/17 graduation cohort, the figures one year after graduation refer to employment and earnings outcomes in the 2018/19 tax year. This approach was taken as graduates are unlikely to have been engaged in economic activity for the whole tax year that overlaps with the graduation date. The five years after graduation cohort (2012/13 academic year of graduation) has been used in a number of breakdowns to show comparisons between groups at one point in time, however the full range of cohorts is available in the EES table builder.

Coverage

Providers covered in this publication are Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Further Education Colleges (FECs) for all time periods and Alternative Providers (APs) for one and three years after graduation in the 2018/19 tax year; designated APs were not required to return student level data to HESA prior to the 2014/15 academic year.

Employment outcomes for UK domiciled graduates

The employment outcomes in this publication are grouped into five categories. These are: activity not captured, no sustained destination, sustained employment only, sustained employment with or without further study, and sustained employment, further study or both. Information on how we categorise these can be found in the ‘Employment Outcomes’ section of the methodology.

There are a number of factors that can influence the employment and earnings outcomes of graduates beyond the subject and provider attended. The outcomes presented in this release are ‘raw’ outcomes, they do not control for differences in the characteristics of students that might influence graduate employment outcomes. This should be borne in mind when making comparisons across subjects.

For this publication we are using DWP/HMRC data to identify graduates who informed DWP/HMRC that they were not living in the UK for the majority of the tax year and remove them from our analysis. The purpose is to remove incomplete or missing earnings records and help improve the accuracy of the employment outcomes and earnings calculations presented. The percentage of overseas graduates is now included in the employment outcomes tables. (More information can be found in the methodology)

Employment outcomes for international graduates

In contrast to the UK domicile section of this release, which looks at matched graduates only, employment and/or further study outcomes for international graduates are calculated as a percentage of all graduates, excluding only those identified by DWP/HMRC as permanently living overseas. 

Median earnings are calculated for graduates classified as being in ‘sustained employment only’ in the UK. Therefore, the results will not be representative of all international graduates, only of those who choose to stay and work in the UK.

The results presented in this release do not reflect the likelihood of an international graduate being in employment or achieving a certain level of earnings. Instead, they reflect the average outcome when an international graduate has remained in the UK.

Gender gap calculations in this release

In this publication, we have changed the calculation of the gender gap in median earning and are now in line with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – see the 2020 ONS gender pay gap publication here. Previously the gender gap was calculated as the difference between median earnings of men and women as a proportion of women’s earnings. This has now been revised to the difference between median earnings of men and women as a proportion of men’s earnings. Since this is a change from our previous publications, the ‘gender gap’ percentages provided previously are not directly comparable to the ones given in this publication. For further information please refer to the methodology.

Graduate industry dashboard

The UK Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC) is used to classify business establishments and other statistical units by the type of economic activity in which they are engaged.​ There are over 700 detailed SIC codes that are grouped into 21 established industry sections. See UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Hierarchy (onsdigital.github.io)

Please note this is NOT occupational information. This additional SIC data will provide insight into the industry of graduate employment but will not provide information on graduate occupation within that industry.   

NEW - Graduate Industry Dashboard

To view the LEO graduate industry dashboard, please use the following link: LEO graduate industry dashboard 

The dashboard is split into four themes:  

  • Interactive Sankey charts that show the longitudinal journey of the five year after graduation (YAG) cohort. This shows the number of graduates working in each industry for the selected subject area at one, three and five years after graduation.  For information on how to read Sankey charts, please see the supporting documents in ‘Explore data and files’. 
  • Regional analysis that compares the number of graduates who studied in and are currently living in each region. 

Tables that show proportions and median earnings for combinations of industry, subject, qualification level, sex, prior attainment, current region, ethnicity and FSM status.  

  • Subject by industry tables, which show for the selected subject, which industries those graduates work in at the selected year after graduation. These tables are also expandable to the 3-digit SIC code level providing more granular breakdowns for each of the industry sections.  
  • Industry by subject tables, which show for the selected industry, what subjects the graduates working in that industry studied.  

Once you have created a table in the dashboard table tabs, you can download it as a CSV. The underlying data files are also available in the ‘Explore data and files’ section of this release, and in the EES table tool.

This interactive dashboard is a new service that we have developed for the first time for LEO data. The aim is to allow users to interrogate effectively the large data source and create bespoke tables and charts based on specific interests. If you have any feedback or suggestions for improvements, please submit them using our feedback form.
 

UK domiciled graduates - Overall figures

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs.

Employment Outcomes

The percentage of graduates known to be in further study decreased with years after graduation. This is demonstrated in figure 1 by the gap between the bars for ‘sustained employment only’ and ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ narrowing with years after graduation.

The table accompanying figure 1 shows that the percentage of unmatched graduates and those in the activity not captured category increased with years after graduation. This should be borne in mind when making comparisons of employment outcomes across years after graduation for all breakdowns covered in this release. 

Earnings

Figure 2 shows that the median earnings of graduates increased with years after graduation, as does the interquartile range.

UK domiciled graduates - Comparison to previous tax years

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

Table 3 shows that the percentage in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ saw small declines since the 2014/15 tax year for the five and ten years after graduation cohorts of less than one percentage point. The one year after graduation cohort had seen an overall increase of just over one percentage point since the 2014/15 tax year, and the percentage had remained mostly stable at three years after graduation. In general, the percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both remained high. 

When making comparisons, it should be borne in mind that these figures relate not only to different tax years but also to different groups of graduates. 

Earnings 

Earnings in real terms are adjusted for inflation to better reflect what an individual can afford to buy with those earnings. To calculate real earnings, nominal earnings are divided by the inflation rate for that year.     

The adjustment for inflation used the 2014/15 tax year as a base year, hence real earnings in this year are presented as equal to nominal earnings. For 2015/16 to 2018/19 nominal earnings were adjusted using Consumer Price Index (CPIH) inflation rates at the end of each tax year relative to the end of the previous tax year. See https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices for more information).      

There was an overall increase in median graduate earnings between the tax years in nominal terms. For example, median graduate earnings five years after graduation increased from £25,200 in the 2014/15 tax year to £27,400 in the 2018/19 tax year. 

However, the level of increase was more apparent for more recent graduates. The increase from the 2014/15 to the 2018/19 tax year was £2,600 for the one year and the three years after graduation cohorts, £2,200 for the five years after graduation cohorts but £800 for the ten years after graduation cohorts. 

Except for the ten years after graduation cohorts, real term earnings also increased but these increases were smaller than those seen for nominal earnings. Between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years, the increase was £1,200 for the one year after graduation cohorts (£1,400 lower than the nominal increase of £2,600), £900 for the three years after graduation cohorts (£1,700 lower than the nominal increase of £2,600), £300 for the five years after graduation cohorts (£1,900 lower than the nominal increase of £2,200). In contrast, there was a decrease of £1,300 for the ten years after graduation cohorts (compared with a nominal increase of £800). This shows that whilst average earnings have gone up for all of the cohorts, the value of these earnings in terms of the goods and services that they can buy has not increased at the same rate and has actually decreased for those further in their careers. 

Figure 4 illustrates the differences in nominal and real term earnings for all four points after graduation. 

For a more detailed breakdown of each tax year by year after graduation that shows the graduates included in the earnings figures, the lower and upper quartiles, and the median earnings, please see the table of median earnings for 1, 3, 5 and 10 YAG from 14/15 to 18/19 tax year. 

UK domiciled graduates - Sex

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

Table 5 shows that the proportion of female graduates in sustained employment, further study or both was higher than the proportion of male graduates, but the difference between the two decreased with years after graduation. There was a 2.6 percentage point difference between male and female graduates one year after graduation which decreased to 0.5 percentage points ten years after graduation. 

The difference seen between proportions for females and males in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ mostly comes from the proportions in further study. For all four cohorts, there was a higher proportion of females in further study than males, while the proportions for ‘sustained employment only’ were much closer. The largest difference in ‘sustained employment only’ was seen in the one year after graduation cohort (1.3 percentage points higher for females) and the difference was less than 0.5 percentage points for the three, five and ten years after graduation cohorts. Figure 6 shows the five year after graduation cohort as an illustrative example.  

Earnings 

Please note that we have changed the calculation of the gender gap in median earnings. For more information on this, please see the methodology.  

Figure 7 shows that at one, three, five and ten years after graduation, male earnings exceeded female earnings, with a wider distribution of earnings amongst males compared with females. 

The gender gap between male and female median earnings also increased with years after graduation – female earnings were 7.3% lower than male earnings one year after graduation, 9.9% lower at three years after graduation, 13.4% lower five years after graduation and 24.1% lower at ten years after graduation.  

Some of these variations will be due to differences in the incidence of part-time work by sex. The LEO data is currently unable to distinguish between those who work full-time and those who work part-time and this should be borne in mind when comparing average earnings between the sexes. 

Figure 8 shows the gender gap in median earnings five years after graduation increased overall between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years. In the 2014/15 tax year, female earnings were 10.7% lower than male earnings, increasing to 12.0% lower in the 2015/16 tax year and 12.8% lower in the 2016/17 tax year. For the 2017/18 tax year, the gender gap reduced slightly and female median earnings were 12.5% lower but in the 2018/19 tax year the difference had increased again with female earnings being 13.4% lower. 

UK domiciled graduates - Ethnicity

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

Declining trends of percentage in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ over time are linked to an increase in the percentage of graduates in ‘activity not captured’. Comparisons are therefore best made between different ethnic groups for a given time after graduation, rather than across time. 

The percentage in sustained employment, further study or both varies by the ethnicity of graduates, as can be seen in the table available via this link.

Figure 9 shows that graduates from the Indian ethnic group had the highest percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation, and graduates from the Chinese ethnic group had the lowest. This was driven by the large percentage of graduates from some ethnic groups in the ‘activity not captured’ category. At five years after graduation, 7.4% of graduates from the Indian ethnic group were in ‘activity not captured’, compared to 19.1% of graduates from the Chinese ethnic group (see table 3b in the ‘UK domiciled Excel tables’ document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release). 

Looking at the trend between 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years (as seen in this table), graduates from the African ethnic group had the highest increase in sustained employment, further study or both (3.5 percentage points) five years after graduation. Graduates from the Any other Black background ethnic group had the lowest growth in sustained employment, further study or both which had a reduction of 2.5 percentage points over the same period.

Earnings 

Figure 10 shows graduates from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest median earnings at one year after graduation (£23,000). Graduates from the Indian ethnic group had the highest median earnings at three and five years after graduation (£27,400 and £31,000 respectively). Ten years after graduation, graduates from the White and Asian ethnic group had the highest median earnings (£35,800).  

We can also compare the earnings of graduates across tax years as seen in this table. Graduates from the Indian ethnic group had the highest increase in earnings five years after graduation between 2014/15 and 2018/19 with 17.9% growth (£4,700). The graduates with the lowest increase in earnings over the same time period were from the White and Black Caribbean ethnic group, with 6.2% growth (£1,500).

UK domiciled graduates - Age at start of course

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

Table 11 shows that one year after graduation, the age group with the highest percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both was the ‘35 to 44’ age band, and three years after graduation, this group had the joint highest percentage with those graduates who were under 21 at the start of their course. At five and ten years after graduation the age band with the highest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both was those who were under 21 at the start of their course.  

At one, three, five and ten years after graduation, the age group with the lowest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both by age is those who were at least 55 at the start of the course. Those who were in this age category would be at least 58 years old one year after graduation and at least 68 years old ten years after graduation. 

Figure 12 illustrates the difference between the age bands at five years after graduation. 

Earnings 

Figure 13 shows that one and three years after graduation, the age band with the highest median earnings were those who were ‘35 to 44’ at the start of their course. At five and ten years after graduation, those who were under 21 at the start of their course had the highest median earnings.  

Those who were under 21 at the start of their course had a larger difference between the ten year median earnings and one year median earnings, with median earnings £12,100 higher ten years after graduation than one year. All age bands who were ‘44 or under’ at the start of their course had an increase in median earnings between one year and ten years after graduation. However, the age bands ‘45 to 54’ and ‘55 and over’ had a decrease in median earnings between one year after graduation and ten years after graduation. Those who were in this age category would be at least 58 years old one year after graduation and at least 68 years old ten years after graduation, meaning that by 10 years after graduation they would have passed the state retirement age, which may explain their overall decrease.     

UK domiciled graduates - Subject studied

We have included a new table providing more granular breakdowns of subject areas (JACS 4-digit codes - see methodology). This covers all subject areas. However, a number of subjects will not have employment or earnings outcomes available due to the suppression rules applied. 

The results are not shown or discussed here in the interest of conciseness. The outputs are available to download in the  ‘Explore data and files' section (table 18) at the top of this page. 

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

The results seen in table 14 are broadly similar to those seen in the 2017/18 tax year – there is similar and expected variation of the percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both between different subjects. 

One year after graduation, Medicine and dentistry was the subject with the highest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both. 

Nursing and midwifery had the highest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both three, five and ten years after graduation, excluding Celtic studies which had the highest proportion at ten years after graduation, but a very small graduating cohort of 25. 

The subject with the lowest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both one, three, and five years after graduation was Languages and area studies. Again, this discounts Celtic Studies which had the lowest proportion three and five years after graduation with very small graduating cohorts of 10 and 25 respectively. At ten years after graduation, Combined and general studies had the lowest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both.  

There is variation between subjects on the proportion of graduates in further study, as figure 15 highlights for five years after graduation. 

Five years after graduation, Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy had the highest proportion of graduates in further study, followed by Veterinary sciences and Medical sciences. The subject with the lowest proportion of graduates in further study at five years after graduation was Computing. 

Earnings 

At one, three, five and ten years after graduation, Medicine and dentistry graduates had the highest median earnings. Performing arts graduates had the lowest earnings one, three and five years after graduation and Creative arts and design graduates ten years after graduation, as seen in table 16. Figure 16 illustrates this for the five year after graduation cohort. 

Figure 16 also shows how the median earnings for each subject differ for male and female graduates five years after graduation. The medians for male and female graduates have been suppressed for Celtic studies due to small cohorts. The figures for this breakdown can be seen in table 6 of the ‘UK domiciled Excel tables’ document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release. 

Figure 17 shows how earnings have changed over time for each subject. In general, for the 2018/19 tax year, the median earnings for each subject remained broadly in line with the previous tax year cohorts and the movements were mostly as would be expected when accounting for annual inflation rates.  

Subjects which showed large increases in median earnings between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax year include Architecture, building and planning (+19.9%), Economics (+17.0%), Politics (+14.8%) and Geography, earth and environmental studies (+14.3%). 

Some subjects showed a decrease in median earnings from the 2014/15 to the 2018/19 tax year cohorts. The biggest decrease was seen in Veterinary sciences (-6.2%), with Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy and Education and teaching also seeing decreases in their median earnings (-2.1% and -1.6% respectively).  

UK domiciled graduates - Mode of study

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

There was a higher percentage of graduates who studied full-time courses in sustained employment, further study or both than graduates who studied part-time courses. However, the percentage of graduates who took sandwich courses in sustained employment, further study or both exceeded both the graduates who took full-time and part-time courses. This trend is seen one, three, five and ten years after graduation, as shown in table 18. 

Earnings 

Figure 19 shows that at one, three, five and ten years after graduation, graduates from sandwich courses earned more on average than graduates from other full-time courses. At one, three and five years after graduation, graduates who studied part-time earned more than graduates who studied full-time, although the difference between the two decreased with time. At ten years after graduation, those who studied full-time were generally earning more than those who studied part-time. Part of the reason for this is the different age distribution of graduates from part-time courses compared to their full-time counterparts, with only 15-19% of part-time graduates in each cohort starting their course before age 21, compared to 78-80% of full-time graduates. 

As seen in table 13 (which can be found in the ‘Age at start of course’ section), graduates from the one year after graduation cohort who started their course aged under 21 earned £1,900 less one year after graduation than those that started aged 21 or over. Whereas, for the 10 years after graduation cohort those who started aged under 21 earned £5,100 more than 21 or over ten years after graduation. 

Graduates from sandwich courses had the largest difference in earnings between one year after graduation and ten years after graduation, with median earnings increasing by £12,800 between one year and ten years after graduation. This was followed by graduates from full-time studies who had a difference of £10,900 in median earnings ten years after graduation compared to one year after graduation. The difference was smallest for those who studied part-time, with a difference of £4,800 between the ten year median earnings and the one year median earnings. 

UK domiciled graduates - Free school meals (FSM)

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. As this uses data from the National Pupil Database, data for this characteristic is only available up to five years after graduation. 

Free school meals (FSM) eligibility is based on the school census records at any point between school years 6 and 11. For more information on how we calculate FSM eligibility, please see the methodology. 

Employment Outcomes 

In all three graduating cohorts in table 20, non-FSM graduates were more likely to be in sustained employment, further study or both than FSM graduates were. The slight decrease in percentage in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ between three and five years after graduation was accompanied by an increase in the percentage in ‘activity not captured’ in the same time period (this can be seen in table 9 of the ‘UK domiciled Excel tables’ document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release). 

Figure 21 illustrates the breakdown of those graduates in sustained employment, further study or both for the five year after graduation cohort.

Earnings 

Figure 22 shows that the earnings of graduates who were eligible for free school meals were lower than those who were not eligible for free school meals; £1,800 lower one year after graduation, £1,900 lower three years after graduation and £2,900 lower five years after graduation. The ‘Not known’ category contained a number of pupils from Independent schools where data on Free School Meal status was not collected. 

We can also look at the difference between FSM and Non-FSM graduate earnings across the tax years in this table. which showed the gap had reduced since the 2014/15 tax year. Five years after graduation, FSM graduate earnings were 13.1% (£3,300) lower than FSM graduates in 2014/15 compared with 10.5% (£2,900) in 2018/19.

UK domiciled graduates - POLAR quintile

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. 

Employment Outcomes 

POLAR (participation of local area) is a measure of disadvantage, which classifies graduates based on geographical area prior to study. Graduates from POLAR quintile 1 are from the most disadvantaged areas, and graduates from POLAR quintile 5 are from the most advantaged areas. For more information on POLAR, please see the methodology document. 

At one, three and ten years after graduation POLAR quintile 1 had the highest or joint highest percentage of young graduates in sustained employment, further study or both. For the five years after graduation cohort, POLAR quintile 3 had a slightly higher percentage than POLAR quintile 1 or 2 graduates (0.1 percentage points higher). Excluding the ‘Not known’ category, POLAR quintile 5 had the lowest percentage for one, three, five and ten years after graduation.  

This result is likely to be influenced by the ‘London effect’ on POLAR as highlighted in this POLAR FAQ document. Essentially, young people across London are more likely to have access to higher education than those from other areas in the UK, meaning fewer areas of London are classified as POLAR quintile 1 or 2. In this instance, when removing graduates whose home region is London from the analysis, the number of matched graduates in POLAR quintile 5 reduced by over 25% for all cohorts, and POLAR quintile 5 no longer had the lowest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both for all cohorts.  

Figure 24 compares employment outcomes for the five year after graduation cohort. 

Comparing previous tax years in this table, we can see all POLAR quintiles had a reduction in the proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation between 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years. Excluding the ‘Not known’ category, the group with the smallest change was POLAR quintile 4 with a reduction of 1.1 percentage points, with POLAR quintile 1 showing the greatest reduction of 1.6 percentage points.

Earnings 

In all four of the graduating cohorts shown in figure 25 (excluding the ‘Not known’ category), POLAR quintile 1 graduates had the lowest median earnings and POLAR quintile 5 graduates the highest earnings. POLAR quintile 5 graduates also had the highest difference in earnings between one year after graduation and ten years after graduation (£12,800 increase) and POLAR quintile 1 graduates the lowest (£11,300 increase).  

Comparing previous tax years (see this table), POLAR quintile 3 graduates had the highest earnings growth five years after graduation with an increase of 9.9% (£2,500) between 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years. POLAR quintile 1 had the lowest growth in earnings in the same period with 7.5% (£1,800).

UK domiciled graduates - Prior attainment

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. As this uses data from the National Pupil Database outcomes are only available up to five years after graduation. 

This section uses UCAS points achieved at A level to define prior attainment. Three A/A* grades is equivalent to 360 points, while 180 points is equivalent to three D grades. Further explanation of prior attainment breakdowns, and a table of UCAS point and grade equivalents can be found in the methodology. 

Employment Outcomes 

Table 26 shows that at one and three years after graduation, the proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both increased with higher prior attainment bands, but at five years after graduation this was less pronounced. 

At five years after graduation (excluding the ‘Not known’ category), ‘300-359 points’ and ‘240-299 points’ had the joint highest proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both, as shown in figure 27.  

For reference, 300 UCAS points is equivalent to three B grades, while 240 UCAS points is equivalent to three C grades.  

Earnings  

At one, three and five years after graduation (excluding the ‘Not known’ category), the prior attainment band with the highest median earnings was ‘4 As or more’. One, three and five years after graduation the prior attainment band with the lowest median earnings was those who started their first degree with a BTEC qualification. 

The largest differences in earnings were seen in the higher prior attainment bands. The differences between the prior attainment bands below 300 points (the equivalent of 3 B grades at A Level) were much smaller. 

The difference between one year and five years after graduation was £10,900 for ‘4 As or more’ (the largest difference) and £5,700 for ‘BTEC’ (the smallest difference). Those with higher prior attainment started off with higher earnings and there was some variation in growth between one and five years after graduation between groups; ranging from 30.5% (below 180 points) to 39.8% (360 points) as illustrated in figure 28. 

UK domiciled graduates - Current region

Coverage: UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. Figures for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will not be representative of all graduates living in these regions as this publication only looks at those who studied at an English provider. 

Employment Outcomes  

Graduates residing in the East Midlands had the highest percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both one year after graduation. Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest percentage three and ten years after graduation, while graduates in the North East had the highest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation.  

Graduates residing in the London region had the lowest percentage of graduates of the English regions in sustained employment, further study or both one, three, five and ten years after graduation. This can be seen in figure 29. In the tables and charts, regions have been ordered by their geographical location (North to South). 

Figure 30 illustrates the difference between current region outcomes at five years after graduation. 

Earnings 

Graduates from English providers living in Scotland had the highest median earnings one year after graduation. London had the highest median earnings for three, five and ten years after graduation and also sees the highest percentage and total increase in median earnings from one to ten years after graduation: 73.0% (£16,500). 

Median earnings of graduates from English providers living in Northern Ireland were the lowest for one, three, five and ten years after graduation. Of the English regions, Yorkshire and the Humber had the joint lowest median earnings one, three and five years after graduation (joint lowest with the North West one year after graduation, the North West and the North East three years after graduation, and with the North East five years after graduation). The English region with the lowest increase in median earnings between one and ten years after graduation was the South West (34.3%, £7,000).  Figure 31 illustrates this.

Table 32 shows graduates living in London had the highest median earnings and showed the largest increase in median earnings between one and ten years after graduation compared to any other regions of England. London also had the highest median earnings growth five years after graduation between 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years (11.5%). East Midlands had similarly high growth (11.3%) and North East the lowest (6.5%) of the England regions.

We can also compare the increase between the five tax years for the one, three and ten year after graduation cohorts (see the table here). Of the four graduating cohorts (one, three, five and ten years after graduation), the one year after graduation cohort had seen the biggest increase in median earnings since the 2014/15 tax year. For the one year after graduation cohort, the East Midlands saw the largest increase in median earnings in percentage terms (£2,900, 16.6%), while of the English regions it is the East of England which had the smallest increase (£2,500, 13.2%). For the three years after graduation cohort, the North East saw the largest increase (£2,900, 14.7%) and the South West saw the smallest increase (£2,200, 10.4%). For the ten years after graduation cohort, London had the highest increase in median earnings (£2,200, 6.0%), however graduates in the East Midlands ten years after graduation saw a decrease in their median earnings between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years of £400 (-1.4%), and graduates in the North East saw no change. 

To illustrate how regional differences vary by subject please see the Excel tables’ document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release. 

Figure 33 shows that with the exception of those who studied for a pharmacology related degree, earnings were higher for graduates of all subjects in London, but the difference tended to be smaller for those that led to occupations with set pay scales (Medicine and dentistry) or more specialist occupations (e.g. Veterinary Science and Engineering). The largest differences were for Economics, Physics and Mathematical Sciences graduates. 

UK domiciled graduates - Home region

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs.  

Employment outcomes  

Figure 34 shows that for the percentage of young graduates in sustained employment, further study or both by home region (as defined by their home address prior to starting their degree), there were relatively small differences between English regions with the exception of London. Excluding the ‘Not known’ category, graduates whose home region was London had the lowest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both across English regions in all four graduate cohorts.  

Figure 35 compares employment outcomes at five years after graduation.  

Earnings 

Figure 36 shows that one year after graduation (not including the ‘Not known’ category), graduates originally from the South East had the highest median earnings. Three, five and ten years after graduation, graduates originally from London had the highest median earnings. In all four graduating cohorts, graduates originally from the North East had the lowest median earnings, with the exception of the one year after graduation cohort where graduates from the North East and North West had the joint lowest median earnings.  

UK domiciled graduates - Living at home or elsewhere

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. This breakdown relates to where the graduate was living during their final year of study.  

Employment outcomes  

Table 37 shows that the percentage of graduates that were in sustained employment, further study or both was highest for graduates who lived at home during study for three, five and ten years after graduation. However, the difference was small, and the percentage was the same one year after graduation. 

Earnings 

The earnings of graduates who lived away from home during study were higher than the earnings of graduates who lived at home in all of the graduating cohorts covered in this release. The difference also increased with years after graduation; £1,500 one year after graduation, £2,200 three years after graduation, £2,900 five years after graduation and £4,800 ten years after graduation, as is seen in figure 38.

UK domiciled graduates - Full-cycle movement

Coverage: Young (under 21 at the start of the course) UK domiciled first degree graduates from English HEIs, APs and FECs. This section is a new addition to the graduate outcomes LEO publication.  

In July of  2019 some experimental statistics were published on regional outcomes of graduates using LEO data (Graduate Outcomes (LEO): Regional Outcomes,2016 to 2017).  Part of that publication was analysis of full cycle movement of graduates - whether or not graduates moved region to attend higher education, and then where they reside one, three, five and ten years after graduation. This section provides those same tables from the July 2019 regional outcomes publication using updated LEO data for the 2018/2019 tax year and extends the analysis to include breakdowns for  free school meal (FSM) eligibility and Participation of Local Area (POLAR) quintile.   

Full cycle graduate movement by years after graduation 

Figure 39 summarises the graduate movement throughout the full cycle (home region - provider region - current region). This shows that one year after graduation, a very high proportion of graduates (81.9%) were in the same current region as their original home region (37.7% who studied in the same region and therefore never left their home region and 44.2% who chose to study in a different region and subsequently returned). At the ten years after graduation mark, the overall proportion currently in their home region had reduced to 65.5%.  

Due to the way 'provider region' is defined, it is possible that although studying in a different region to their 'home region' some of these graduates were still living in their home region and commuting to a different region to attend university. This means that some graduates who were in the ‘left home region to study’ category could have been living at home or in their home region and may have been but commuting to a different region to attend university. 

Table 39 also shows that graduates who left their home region to study were not more likely beyond the short-term to stay in their study region over moving elsewhere. Ten years after graduation 16.8% of graduates had studied in a different region and now live elsewhere (not in the provider region or their home region) compared to 9.2% who studied in a different region and then still live in their provider region. 

Full cycle graduate movement by provider type 

The “most selective” Higher Education Providers (HEPs) are defined as the top third of HE providers when ranked by mean UCAS tariff score from the top three A level grades of entrants. 

Graduates from most selective providers were the least likely to still be living in their original home region five years after graduation (63.1% compared to 78.1% among those who went to an ‘other’ provider and 85% for those who studied at FECs). A high proportion (20.9%) of those who attended a ‘most selective' provider moved region to study and were located in a different region five years later (not in their original home region or their study region), and a high proportion (65.8%) of those who attended a FEC stayed in their home region to study and were in that same home region five years after graduation. 

Graduates from most selective providers were the least likely to still be living in their original home region five years after graduation (63.1% compared to 78.1% among those who went to an ‘other’ provider and 85% for those who studied at FECs). A high proportion (20.9%) of those who attended a ‘most selective' provider moved region to study and were located in a different region five years later (not in their original home region or their study region), and a high proportion (65.8%) of those who attended a FEC stayed in their home region to study and were in that same home region five years after graduation. 

Full cycle graduate movement by home region  

Figure 41 shows that those originally from the South West were least likely to still be residing in that region five years after graduation (64.8% compared to 72.8% nationally). Those originally from London or the North West were most likely to still be residing in their original home region (86.2% and 79.3% respectively). 

Full cycle graduate movement by FSM 

Figure 42 shows the proportion of graduates who stayed in their home region to study is 21.1 percentage points higher for those who were eligible for FSM compared with those who were not eligible for FSM for the five year after graduation cohort. The figures for other years after graduation cohorts were similar - the difference decreases to 20.3 percentage points for the three year after graduation cohort and to 19.2 for the one year after graduation cohort (see table 17 in the main tables attached document). Figure 42 also shows the proportion in the home region five years after graduation was 10.3 percentage points higher (83.7% of graduates who were eligible for FSM are in their home region five years after graduation, compared 73.4% of those not eligible for FSM). This difference decreased to 8.8 percentage points for the three year after graduation cohort and to 5 percentage points for the one year after graduation cohort (see table 17 in the ‘UK domiciled Excel tables’ document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release).  

Full cycle graduate movement by POLAR quintile 

POLAR is a measure of disadvantage, which classifies graduates based on geographical area prior to study. POLAR quintile 1 is the most disadvantaged areas, 5 is the most advantaged areas - see the methodology document for further details.

Figure 43 displays a clear trend, that as the POLAR quintile increases, the proportion of graduates who stayed in their home region to study, and who are in their home region five years after graduation decreases. The proportion of graduates who stayed in their home region to study is 15 percentage points higher in the most disadvantaged areas (52.1% in POLAR quintile 1) compared to the most advantaged areas (37.1% in POLAR quintile 5). However, the proportion living in their home region five years after graduation was only 4 percentage points higher for those graduates from the most disadvantaged areas (77.1%) compared with those from the most advantaged areas (73.1%).  

Results for one, three, five and ten years after graduation are available in Table 17 of the ‘UK domiciled Excel tables’ document (this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release). The difference in the proportions of graduates who stayed in their home region to study between the most advantaged and most disadvantaged areas increased for the more recent cohorts. For the ten year after graduation cohort, the proportion of graduates who studied in their home region was 14.8 percentage points higher in the most disadvantaged areas than the most advantaged areas. For the one year after graduation, the difference had increased to 21.9 percentage points.  

The difference between the proportion of graduates from the most advantaged and disadvantaged areas who lived in their home region sees the opposite trend, as the gap decreased in the most recent cohorts. When looking at current location, graduates in the ten year after graduation cohort who were from the most disadvantaged areas were 5.8 percentage points more likely than those from the most advantaged areas to currently be living in their original home region, whereas for the one year after graduation cohort the difference had reduced to 2.3 percentage points.  

International graduates - Overall figures

The remaining sections of the publication focus on the employment and/or further study outcomes for international graduates.

As shown in table 44, LEO coverage is nearly universal for UK domiciled graduates but is much lower for international graduates, particularly for older international cohorts and for non-EU domiciled graduates. The main reason for this is that LEO relies on graduates having been issued with a National Insurance (NI) number to match them to an employment record. However, international graduates who have no intention of working or claiming benefits in this country are less likely to apply for a NI number and so would not appear in the LEO data. For a more detailed explanation of this, see the methodology note.  

As a result of these features of the data, it is important to emphasise that the results presented in this release do not reflect the likelihood of an international graduate being in employment or achieving a certain level of earnings. Instead, they reflect the average outcome when an international graduate has remained in the UK. 

Employment Outcomes 

In contrast to the UK domicile section of this release, which looks at matched graduates only, employment and/or further study outcomes for international graduates are calculated as a percentage of all graduates, excluding only those identified by DWP/HMRC as permanently living overseas. This removes graduates we have evidence are overseas, to improve the accuracy of outcomes calculations. 

Figure 45 shows that of EU domiciled students who graduated one year ago 58.5% were in the UK in 2018/19 in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’. Of those that graduated five years ago this proportion was 39.3% and for those that graduated ten years ago it was 25.4%. 

For non-EU domiciled graduates, the proportion in the UK in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ was lower compared to EU graduates, but those that did remain in the UK were more likely to have a further study record one year after graduation. One year after graduation, 46.7% of Non-EU graduates were in the UK in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ compared to 15.1% of those that graduated five years ago and 18.7% of those that graduated ten years ago.  

Each cohort of EU graduates in the 2018/19 tax year had an increased percentage in sustained employment, further study or both in comparison with 2014/15 tax year, as shown in Table 46.

In contrast, for non-EU graduates, the percentage remaining in the UK in sustained employment, further study or both increased only for the one and ten years after graduation cohorts over this period. There was a reduction in this metric three and five years after graduation since 2014/15 tax year, with the largest reduction for the five years after graduation cohort, which reduced from 19.8% to 15.1% in the 2018/19 tax year. 

Earnings 

As with previous LEO releases, median earnings are calculated for graduates classified as being in ‘sustained employment only’ in the UK. Therefore, the results will not be representative of all international graduates, only of those who choose to stay and work in the UK.  

For all domiciles, median earnings increased from one year after graduation through to ten years after graduation. EU and non-EU domiciled graduates had higher median earnings than UK domiciled graduates for each of the four cohorts, shown in figure 47. A contributing factor to higher non-EU graduate earnings is likely to be the minimum earnings threshold required for non-EU graduates to stay and work in the UK. The large difference in cohort size between UK and EU / non-EU groups should be considered when comparing earnings outcomes. 

All graduates (UK, EU and non-EU) saw 2018/19 median earnings increase one, three, five and ten years after graduation when compared with previous tax years (2014/15 to 2017/18). It was non-EU graduates at three years after graduation who saw the largest percentage increase in their median earnings across the last five tax years (22.0%). The lowest percentage increase in median earnings was seen in UK domiciled graduates at ten years after graduation (2.6%).  See Table 48. 

Median earnings for EU graduates increased compared with the 2017/18 tax year for all cohorts; the increase was £800 for those one year after graduation, £700 three and five years after graduation and £400 ten years after graduation.  

For non-EU graduates, median earnings increased for all cohorts when compared with the 2017/18 tax year; £1,400 for one year after graduation, £2,200 three years after graduation, £2,900 five years after graduation and £700 ten years after graduation.

The increase in median earnings between 2014/15 and 2018/19 for EU and non-EU graduates were higher than UK graduate’s earnings increases in both absolute and percentage terms with the exception of five years after graduation, where the UK graduate earnings increase was 1.1 percentage points higher than EU. Five years after graduation, EU graduate median earnings increased by £2,200 (7.6%), non-EU graduate earnings increased by £4,300 (15.1%) and UK graduate earnings increased by £2,200 (8.7%).

International graduates - Domicile and sex

Employment Outcomes 

This section focuses on employment and/or further study outcomes for the five years after graduation cohort, split by domicile and sex. Outcomes one, three and ten years after graduation are available in the international Excel tables document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release.  

EU domiciled female graduates were more likely to have remained in the UK and to be in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ than EU domiciled male graduates (42.5% compared with 35.2%). Non-EU domiciled male and female graduates were almost equally likely to have remained in the UK and to be in sustained employment, further study or both (15.0% and 15.3% respectively). This is shown in Figure 49.

For both EU and non-EU graduates, these rates are considerably lower than they are for UK domiciled graduates. As discussed in the ‘Results for international graduates’ section, this is because international graduates are more likely to be ‘unmatched’ in the LEO data or be recorded as ‘activity not captured’.  

Earnings

For both males and females, EU and non-EU domiciled graduates had higher median earnings than UK domiciled graduates five years after graduation. For each domicile, males had higher median earnings than females. The largest gender gap in earnings was between EU male and female graduates (£5,700), and the smaller gap was between both UK and non-EU male and female graduates (£3,700). These results are shown in Figure 50. The smaller gender gap for non-EU graduates is likely to be due to the minimum earnings threshold required for non-EU graduates to stay and work in the UK. 

International graduates - Domicile and subject studied

Employment Outcomes 

This section looks at how employment and/or further study outcomes for international graduates varies by subject, focusing on the five years after graduation cohort for 2018/2019 tax year. 

For EU domiciles, Veterinary Sciences had the highest proportion of graduates remaining in the UK in ‘sustained employment only’ (63.6%) and for non-EU domiciles this was Medicine and Dentistry (42.8%). For EU domiciled graduates, Biosciences had the lowest proportion of graduates remaining in the UK in ‘sustained employment only’ (22.9%). For non-EU domiciled graduates Business and management had the lowest proportion of graduates remaining in the UK in ‘sustained employment only’ (6.7%). See Figure 51. 

Subjects that had a low proportion of graduates remaining in the UK in ‘further study (with or without sustained employment)’ were Business and management (EU: 2.0%, non-EU: 1.4%) and Creative arts and design (EU: 3.2%, non-EU: 1.8%).  

Subjects that had a high additional proportion of graduates remaining in the UK in ‘further study (with or without sustained employment)’ were Biosciences (EU: 24.1%, non-EU: 15.8%) and Medical Sciences (EU: 23.7%, non-EU: 10.7%). 

Earnings 

Subjects which showed the most variability in earnings between domiciles included Mathematical Sciences (UK: £34,700, EU: £45,600, non-EU: £48,200), Computing (UK: £30,700, EU: £40,900, non-EU: £32,500) and Medical Sciences (UK: £32,100, EU: £35,800, non-EU: £44,900).  

Subjects that showed low variability in earnings between domiciles included English studies (UK £25,200, EU: £24,800, non-EU: £24,500), Health and social care (UK: £24,500, EU: £24,800, non-EU: £23,000), Engineering (UK: £36,500, EU: £38,300, non-EU: £36,100) and Agriculture, food and related studies (UK: £23,400, EU: £24,800, non-EU: £25,600). See Figure 52.

International graduates - Country

In previous LEO publications Germany was incorrectly labelled as Denmark and Greece incorrectly labelled as Germany due to a coding error. This has been amended for the current publication and outcomes and earnings data for all previously reported tax years and graduating cohorts can be found in our underlying data and in the International Excel tables document - this can be found in the ‘Explore data and files' section at the beginning of this release. 

This section concentrates specifically on the twenty countries with the largest international graduate populations (graduates from English HE providers only). The top 20 countries by graduate population were initially calculated from the 2018/19 tax year, one year after graduation (2016/17 academic year). These countries were used for subsequent analysis to allow for comparison between the remaining tax and academic years. 

Employment Outcomes 

This section focuses on the employment and/or further study outcomes of the five years after graduation cohort. 

For both EU and Non-EU domiciles, the pattern of employment outcomes is highly variable between countries. Poland, Romania and Ireland had low proportions of ‘unmatched’ graduates and high proportions of graduates in ‘sustained employment only’ or ‘further study (with or without sustained employment)’. In contrast, China, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Hong Kong had high proportion of ‘unmatched’ graduates and a low proportion of graduates in sustained employment only or ‘further study (with or without sustained employment)’. This is shown in Figure 53.

Earnings 

For the EU countries with the largest graduate populations, there was some variability in median earnings five years after graduation, Germany had the highest median earnings (£35,000) and Poland had the lowest median earnings (£28,100). For the non-EU countries with the largest graduate populations, there was a slightly larger amount of variability in median earnings, Singapore had the highest median earnings (£47,800) and Nigeria had the lowest median earnings (£27,400). This difference is likely to be influenced by the subject mix of these graduates, as the proportion of graduates domiciled in Singapore studying subjects with the highest non-EU median earnings such as Medicine and Dentistry and Mathematical Sciences is significantly higher than the proportion of graduates domiciled in Nigeria. 

Figure 54 shows earnings for the 20 EU and non-EU domicile countries with the largest graduate populations. The number included in the earnings calculations is annotated to the left of each boxplot. 

Find my data and feedback

This section provides guidance on finding data and providing feedback.

Find my data 

To find information on topics of interest, expand the content sections for UK domiciled graduates or International graduates. In each section there will be tables/charts and summary commentary on the relevant area. In some sections there may also be links to pre-prepared summary tables or additional useful documents like the methodology or Excel tables documents. 

You can also create your own tables through the table tool or modify the pre-prepared tables which use the same files. 

At the top of the release, there is a link ‘Explore data and files' which includes:

  • All underlying data files used in this release
  • Additional Excel tables documents
  • ‘How to read boxplots’ document.

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This release uses a new approach to publishing our data and statistics which we are looking to evolve overtime. 

As a result, your feedback is important to help us improve and develop (please use the link at the top of this release to provide feedback on this platform). 

If you would like to get in touch with any queries related to this release or the LEO data, you can contact us on the below address. 

EMAIL: HE.LEO@education.gov.uk 

Official statistics

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These are official statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics. 

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics; 

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Methodology

Find out how and why we collect, process and publish these statistics

Official statistics

These are Official Statistics and have been produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

This can be broadly interpreted to mean that these statistics are:

  • managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
  • meet identified user needs
  • produced according to sound methods
  • well explained and readily accessible

Find out more about the standards we follow to produce these statistics through our Standards for official statistics published by DfE guidance.

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