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.
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.