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.
Years after graduation (YAG)
The time periods used in this publication are one, three and five years after graduation, which refers to the first, third and fifth full tax year after graduation, respectively (or the 2017/18, 2015/16 and 2013/14 academic years of graduation). Prior attainment data is unavailable for the ten years after graduation cohorts, so they are not included in the data. For instance, for the 2017/18 graduation cohort, the figures one year after graduation refer to employment and earnings outcomes in the 2019/20 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 (2013/14 academic year of graduation) has been used in breakdowns to show comparisons between groups at one point in time, however the full range of cohorts is available in the downloadable data.
This publication looks at those who graduated with a first degree qualification from Higher Education Providers (Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), Further Education Colleges (FECs) and Alternative Providers (APs)) in Great Britain and are UK domiciled. Only data for HEIs is shown in the main text of this publication (as HEIs have larger cohorts than FECs or APs) but data for all higher education providers are available in the accompanying Excel tables in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.
Employment outcomes for UK domiciled graduates
The employment outcomes in this publication are grouped into five categories. These are:
- Activity not captured - graduates who have been successfully matched to DWP’s CIS but do not have any employment, out-of-work benefits or further study records in the tax year of interest.
- No sustained destination - graduates who have an employment or out-of-work benefits record in the tax year of interest but were not classified as being in ‘sustained employment’ and do not have a further study record.
- Sustained employment, further study or both - graduates with a record of sustained employment or further study. This category includes all graduates in the ‘sustained employment with or without further study’ category as well as those with a further study record only.
Of which there are subset groups:
- Sustained employment only - graduates who have a record of sustained employment but no record of further study.
- Sustained employment with or without further study - graduates with a record of sustained employment, regardless of whether they also have a record of further study or not.
Tables in this publication also show the figures for ‘further study with or without sustained employment’, which is all graduates with a further study record regardless of whether they have a record of sustained employment or not. These figures are equivalent to the difference between the ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ and ‘sustained employment only’ categories.
There are several 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 such as the type of work/industry of employment, gender and number of hours worked. It should also be noted that higher education will have a range of personal and societal benefits that extend beyond earnings, which by its nature are not captured in the statistics presented here. This should be borne in mind when making comparisons across subjects.
For this publication we are using Department for Work and Pensions/His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (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 included in the employment outcomes tables (more information can be found in the methodology in the section on Data quality - DWP/HMRC coverage).
This is defined as the median earnings across the graduates who studied at the provider. This median is obtained by ranking all graduates annualised earnings and taking the value at which half of graduates fall below and half above. The median, rather than the mean, is used as the measure of average earnings outcomes. Median is the preferred measure as it is less affected by the skewed distribution of earnings and the relatively small numbers of very high earners, therefore giving a better indication of average earnings than the mean does.
For guidance on how to read boxplots in this release, please see the ‘how to read boxplots’ document available in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.
Contextual information for providers
It should be noted that the data presented here do not control for differences in the characteristics of graduates. This is a very important caveat when comparing graduate salaries across providers. For this reason, information on prior attainment and the Participation of Local Areas (POLAR) classification is provided for each provider to add context.