Tax Year 2019-20

LEO Graduate outcomes provider level data

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Introduction

LEO Graduate Outcomes provider level data: Employment and earnings outcomes of higher education first degree graduates by provider, subject studied and graduate characteristics

This release updates previously published figures with the latest available data (2019/20 tax year). These are official statistics. For more information on what this means, please see the ‘Official statistics’ section at the end of this publication. 

The 2019/20 tax year will have had a slight overlap with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with an official lockdown being in effect during the 2019/20 tax year between the 23rd March 2020 and the 5th April 2020. The Government furlough schemes, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), covered this period of the 2019/20 tax year. These statistics have not been adjusted to account for the COVID-19 pandemic as the overlap on the 2019/20 tax year is slight enough that any impact is expected to be minimal.

This publication provides information on outcomes one, three and five years after graduation for UK domiciled first degree graduates. Prior attainment data is unavailable for the ten years after graduation cohorts, so they are not included in the data. Data for Higher Education Providers (Higher Education Institutes (HEIs), Further Education Colleges (FECs) and Alternative Providers (APs)) are available in the accompanying Excel tables in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.    Data for HEIs in Great Britain are discussed below, focussing on the five years after graduation cohort.

It should be noted that the analysis presented here does not control for differences in the characteristics of graduates, a very important caveat when comparing graduate salaries across providers. 

In figures 1, 2, 4 and 8, we present the distributions of provider median graduate earnings by subject/region. Provider median graduate earnings (henceforth referred to as the ‘provider median’) is the median earnings across the graduates who studied at that provider (see about this release section). These are not to be confused with the distributions of graduates of a given subject/region (as seen in LEO Graduate and Postgraduate Outcomes: 2019 to 2020). [add link]

Data for the 2019/20 tax year can be found in the ‘'Excel table - Provider tables’ file in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.  

Data on full cycle (home, study and current regions) graduate movement is included which gives graduate movement throughout the full cycle of study – before entering higher education (home region), during study (study region), and after completing their course (current region).  Data for each provider is available in the ‘All underlying data - full cycle movement’ file ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.

We have also included a provider level table presenting more granular breakdowns of subject areas using the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) subject classification. This table and data can be found in the ‘Excel table - JACS table and data’ file in the accompanying Excel tables in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above.


Headline facts and figures - 2019-20

Five years after graduation in the 2019/20 tax year, Law, Business and Management and Computing had the biggest variations in median earnings between providers (£17,900 to £78,800, £22,00 to £79,100 and £20,500 to £74,300 respectively). Excluding Celtic studies, the smallest variation was seen for Medicine and dentistry (£43,400 to £52,700).

For the percentage of UK domiciled graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation, four of the top six subjects were related to healthcare (Nursing and midwifery, Medicine and dentistry, Medical sciences and Health and social care).

Earnings are known to be impacted by the region of residence of the graduate so regionally adjusted figures are provided. The effect this had on provider median earnings varied depending on the region of the provider. Providers in the North East had the highest proportion of providers where regionally adjusted earnings were more than 5% different to the raw earnings (80% of five providers). This means that providers in the North East were more impacted by the regional destination of their graduates than other regions.

Between the 2014/15 and 2019/20 tax years, 67.2% of providers and subjects saw an increase of over 10% in their graduates’ median earnings. A 10% increase is above the rate of inflation between these tax years based on the consumer price inflation that includes owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH). 

Five years after graduation in the 2019/20 tax year, the average prior attainment of a provider’s graduates had a varying impact on median earnings depending on the subject. Prior attainment bands are created using UCAS points for each graduate’s top three A level grades, and then placed in band 1 (top 25%), band 2 (middle 50%) or band 3 (bottom 25%). For Nursing and midwifery, there was little variation in median earnings across prior attainment bands with median earnings in the top band only £800 more than median earnings in the bottom band. For business and management, the top prior attainment band had higher median earnings than the lowest prior attainment band by £17,500.

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. 

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. 

Coverage 

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). 

Provider median

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.

Boxplots guidance  

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. 

Employment outcomes across providers and subjects

Figure 1 shows the distribution of providers’ proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation. These distributions have been obtained from the employment outcomes at the providers offering a given subject.  

While median proportions were consistently between 78.7% and 92.6% across subjects, there was significant variation within some subjects. For example, Allied Health had the largest difference between the highest (100%) and lowest (41.7%) proportion (a difference of 58.3 percentage points).  

Public sector subjects that relate to healthcare, Veterinary sciences, Chemistry and Medicine and dentistry were amongst the subjects with the highest median proportions of graduates within each provider in sustained employment, further study or both. Languages and area studies is the subject where providers had the lowest median proportions in sustained employment, further study or both. However, this could be due to providers offering Languages and area studies having the highest median proportion of graduates known to be overseas by DWP or HMRC (3%). It is worth noting that the actual proportion of graduates living overseas is likely to be higher than 3%, because of graduates where DWP/HMRC have not been made aware, but the trend seen is assumed to be indicative for all graduates. Allied Health also has a low median for proportions in sustained employment, further study or both, but this was just for one provider with medians for other providers above 70%.

Figure 1 also shows that the combination of subject and provider is useful when looking at graduate employment outcomes. This can be seen in the number of subjects who have upper limits of 100% despite their varying medians.

Earnings outcomes across providers and subjects

In figure 2, we present the distribution of median earnings of each provider for each subject five years after graduation. These distributions have been obtained from the median earnings at the providers offering a given subject, so the number of providers included for each subject differs.  

Figure 2 shows that the range of graduate median earnings across providers varied significantly depending on the subject. For example,  all providers offering Medicine and Dentistry had median graduate earnings five years after graduation of between £43,400 and £52,700 (a difference of £9,300). By contrast, the median earnings for providers offering Law showed wider variation, ranging from £17,900 to £78,800 (a difference of £60,900). Business and Management also had a similar range, £22,000 to £79,100 (a difference of £57,100). This indicates that for some subjects, the variation between providers is much smaller and could be more likely to be impacted by the labour market available to them (some sectors have standardised salaries, for example, the National Health Service which will reduce the earnings variation across providers).

Figure 2 also shows that the combination of subject and provider is useful when looking at graduate earnings.  At provider level, Medicine and dentistry had the highest median earnings. This is consistent with the graduate and postgraduate outcomes publication (see LEO Graduate and Postgraduate Outcomes: 2019 to 2020 publication). The next 11 subjects with the highest median salaries are also consistent with the graduate and postgraduate outcomes publication.  There are some subjects where graduate median earnings at some providers are very high (for example Law and Business and management).

Median earnings and prior attainment by provider

Figure 3 shows the distribution of providers by prior attainment band for each subject for the five years after graduation cohort and is ordered by the proportion of providers in prior attainment band 1.  

Providers are ranked by their median graduate prior attainment score (calculated using UCAS points for each graduate’s top three A level grades), and then placed in band 1 (top 25%), band 2 (middle 50%) or band 3 (bottom 25%).  The approach to creating the prior attainment bands is different to the Widening Participation publication (see the methodology document, section on Definitions - prior attainment banding, for full details).

Some providers have not been placed in a band. This includes all Scottish and Welsh providers (as prior attainment data is based on an English data source) as well as any provider where prior attainment information is based on a small number of students. For more information on this, please see the methodology (section on Definitions - prior attainment banding). These providers are not included in the calculations in figures 3 and 4.

Figure 3 shows that there was variation in the prior attainment of graduates attending each provider to study each subject. The number of providers in each band is available to view in the accompanying table. The subject with the highest proportion of providers in prior attainment band 1 was Medicine and dentistry, with an exceptionally high proportion of 92.3% of the 24 included providers falling into prior attainment band 1 for this subject. This will be due to high entry requirements for this subject for most providers. The second highest proportion of providers in prior attainment band 1 was seen for Veterinary sciences, at 55.6% of the five included providers.

Figure 4 shows the impact of prior attainment on median earnings for selected subjects. These subjects were selected to display the variation in effect that prior attainment has on earnings. Data for other subjects are available in the ‘Excel table – Provider tables’ file in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above. 

For Nursing and midwifery, the median graduate earnings across providers show little variation between bands 1 and 2 with slightly more variation for band 3, implying that prior attainment had little impact on median earnings for this subject. This is likely due to the career paths taken by Nursing and midwifery graduates regardless of provider. Education and teaching shows more variation across the prior attainment bands but still less than other subjects. This is likely to be explained again by the career paths taken by these graduates with variation seen for the different levels of education they work in. Region may also have an impact, with graduates with higher prior attainment moving to London.   

However, for Engineering and Business and management, a different pattern emerges where providers with a higher band had noticeably higher median graduate earnings. The widest variation of the five subjects is seen in Business and management, comparing median earnings for prior attainment band 1 with prior attainment bands 2 and 3 gave a difference in earnings of £14,300 and £17,500 respectively, and the range of earnings is also much wider. 

For Creative arts and design, we see a small increase for each prior attainment band's median earnings. This suggests that prior attainment has a similar trend to Engineering and Business and management but with smaller differences suggesting prior attainment is not as influential.

Earnings by subject and sex

Figure 5 shows the difference between male and female earnings for providers by subject, ordered by the proportion of providers whose female graduate median earnings in that subject are over 15% lower than the median earnings for male graduates. The number of providers included for each subject area is available to view in the accompanying table. For example, figure 5 shows that 54.8% of the 42 included providers for Nursing and midwifery had female graduate median earnings that were over 15% lower than their male graduate median earnings.   

We have not included, in the charts below, providers where median earnings figures for either sex had to be suppressed to prevent disclosure of personal information – this typically occurs when the number of one or both sexes in the provider studying the subject is small. The number of providers included for each subject can be seen in the accompanying table. 

In 26 of the 34 subjects included, more than half of the providers saw male median earnings exceed female median earnings by more than 5%. The subjects with the largest proportions of providers where female median earnings were more than 5% lower than male median earnings were Nursing and midwifery (95.3% of 42 included providers), Education and teaching (86.6% of 52), and Medicine and dentistry (81.9% of 33 included providers).

In four subjects (Nursing and midwifery, Education and teaching, Veterinary sciences and, Medicine and dentistry) there were no providers where female median earnings were at least 5% more than male median earnings.  

Veterinary sciences had the highest proportion of providers where female and male median earnings were within 5% of each other (60%). The remaining 40% were equally distributed between the two groups where female median earnings were 5% to 15% lower than male median earnings and where female median earnings were over 15% lower than male median earnings.  

The only subject in which most providers saw female median earnings exceed male median earnings by more than 5% was Performing arts where 44.1% of providers had higher female median earnings.

Comparison of outcomes by subject and tax years

In this section, we compare provider median earnings five years after graduation in the 2014/15 and 2019/20 tax years for each subject. This is to help understand the extent to which average graduate earnings change over time for different cohorts.  

Outcomes for a certain subject at a particular provider may vary from year to year either due to changes in the way in which it is offered, changes in intake, changes in the graduate labour market or simply random chance (particularly true where the cohort sizes are small).  

From Consumer Price Index (CPIH), the rate of inflation between the 2014/15 and 2019/20 tax year is around 9%. For this reason, the grouping of “5% to 10% increase” is considered to be broadly stable in real terms, while the groupings above this are seen as a broadly real terms increase, and the groupings below this as a real terms decrease. For more information on CPIH see Inflation and price indices - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Figure 6 shows how the median earnings of graduates at different providers have changed since the 2014/15 tax year for each subject and is ordered by proportion of providers whose median earnings are more than 20% higher in 2019/20 than they were in 2014/15. Economics had the highest proportion of providers whose median graduate earnings had increased by over 20% since the 2014/15 tax year (61.1% of providers). 25 out of the 35 subjects had high proportions of providers where median earnings increased by at least 10% since 2014/15. Subjects where at least 80% of providers had median graduate earnings increase by over 10% since 2014/15 tax year are: 

  • Economics (87% of 54 providers)
  • Politics (85.9% of 64 providers)
  • Law (85.8% of 92 providers)
  • Geography, earth and environmental studies (85.5% of 69 providers)
  • Sociology, social policy and anthropology (83.5% of 85 providers)
  • Computing (80% of 100 providers)

Some subjects had over 40% of providers seeing a real terms decrease (less than a 5% actual increase) in median earnings since the 2014/15 tax year. These were (excluding Celtic studies due to small cohort sizes):  

  • Combined and general studies (63.7% of 11 providers)
  • Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy (58.4% of 24 providers)
  • Veterinary sciences (50% of 6 providers)
  • Education and teaching (40.3% of 72 providers)
  • Nursing and midwifery (40.3% of 67 providers)

Many of the above subjects experiencing an apparent real terms decrease are likely to lead to jobs in the public sector. These real terms decreases for certain providers likely indicate that earnings have ‘stalled’ or have not increased in line with inflation and therefore are worth less than they were in 2014/15, rather than decreasing in actual terms. However, it is true that a large proportion of providers median graduate earnings truly did decrease especially for Education and teaching.

Earnings outcomes by current region

Figure 7 shows the distribution of providers’ median earnings by graduates’ current region of residence, five years after graduation. For example, when looking at the distribution for London, this shows that graduates currently living in London attended 146 providers across Great Britain. The boxplot is made up of the median graduate earnings at each of these 146 providers. One provider had median graduate earnings of £13,500 and one had median earnings of £52,300. These 146 provider medians can themselves be summarised by the median (by ranking the provider median earnings and taking the value at which half of providers fall below and half above) and this is £32,200.  This means that half of the 146 providers had median graduate earnings of less than £32,200.

Figure 8 shows the geographical distribution of providers’ median earnings for each current region by provider region. These regional medians have been obtained from the provider medians for each current region grouped by provider region and are not to be confused with the median earnings of graduates in a given current region. For example, if the provider region is East Midlands and the current region of residence is London, then the data (in the table) is showing that there are eight providers in the East Midlands whose graduates currently live in London. Each of these eight providers has a median graduate earnings (based on their graduates living in London). By ranking these provider medians, we can find the regional median across the eight providers which is £30,300. 

The highest median earnings were seen for providers in London whose graduates currently reside in Scotland (£38,000). The lowest median earnings were seen for providers in Wales whose graduates currently live in the North East (£20,600).

Effect of region at provider level

On 18th July 2019 we published regional graduate outcomes which showed that different regions have different average earnings levels and that this has an influence on the average earnings for graduates at different institutions, even after controlling for other factors (e.g. variation in subject and student characteristics). To quantify the effect of a graduate's region on earnings, figure 9 reweights the graduate population of each provider so that it matches the regional distribution of all graduates and looks at the difference this has on the provider’s average earnings five years after graduation. For example, if University A has 3% of its graduates living in the East Midlands, compared to 7% nationally, then the graduates in the East Midlands from University A will be given a weighting of 2.3. The methodology for this calculation is given in more detail in the methodology for this release (see section on Methodology - median earnings adjusted for region) .  

Figure 9 shows how the median earnings for providers in each region change when adjusted to account for the regional distribution of their graduates. Regions are ordered by their proportion of providers whose regionally adjusted median was more than 10% higher than their raw median.  

We can see that there is a lot of variation in the effect of regionally adjusting earnings on each region’s providers’ median earnings. Providers in the northern regions, Scotland and Wales tended to have higher regionally adjusted earnings. Providers in London tended to have lower regionally adjusted earnings. The majority of providers in the Midlands, South West, South East and the East of England had regional adjusted earnings within 5% of their raw median earnings, meaning that the regional destination of their graduates has little impact on their median earnings.

Full cycle movement (home, study and current regions)

Data on graduate movement throughout the full cycle of study – before attending higher education (home region), during study (study region), and after graduating (current region) can be found in the accompanying Excel tables in ‘All supporting files’ under the ‘Explore data and files’ section above. In table 6 of the ‘Excel tables - Provider tables’ file, data is provided on the home region of graduates and the region they live in one, three and five years after graduation. This is currently at a provider-level and by sex but not by subject due to high rates of suppression. 

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To find information on topics of interest, expand the relevant section. 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.  

At the top of the release, there is a link ‘download associated files’ which includes: 

  • Excel tables documents with outcomes by provider,
  • underlying data files used in this release,
  • ‘How to read boxplots’ document. 

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

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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

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;  

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

The department has a set of statistical policies in line with the Code of Practice for Official 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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If you have a specific enquiry about LEO Graduate outcomes provider level data statistics and data:

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