Tax year 2017-18

LEO Graduate outcomes provider level data

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This release updates provider level employment and earnings outcomes for the 2017/18 tax year split by subject studied and separately by current region of residence.

It provides information on outcomes one, three and five years after graduation for UK domiciled first degree graduates from a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Great Britain. Data for Further Education Colleges (FECs) and Alternative Providers (APs) in England is also available in the accompanying ‘Provider tables’ excel file and ‘Underlying data 1718’ csv file. 

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. 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.

All data for the 2017/18 tax year can be found in the 'Provider tables' excel file and data covering the 2014/15 to 2016/17 tax years in the ‘Underlying data 1718’ csv file, which can be downloaded below. 

For the first time we have included data which helps to identify graduates that have moved overseas.  More information on this can be found in the ‘Overseas graduates’ section of this release.

Headline facts and figures - 2017-18

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Earnings outcomes across providers and subjects

In the chart below, we present the distribution of median earnings for each subject five years after graduation. These distributions have been obtained from the median earnings at the institutions offering a given subject. They are not to be confused with the earnings distributions of graduates of a given subject. The document ‘How to read earnings boxplots in this publication’ provides guidance on how to interpret the chart below.

The chart shows that some subjects have a wider range of median earnings between institutions than others. For example, all institutions offering Medicine and Dentistry had median earnings five years after graduation of between £42,500 and £52,600. By contrast, the median earnings for institutions offering Business and Management showed wider variation, ranging from £17,900 to £75,900. 

Employment outcomes across providers and subjects

The figure below shows the distribution of providers’ proportion of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation. While median proportions lie consistently between 79.4% and 93.0% across subjects, there is significant variation within some subjects. For General, applied and forensic science for example, the difference between the highest and lowest proportion is 45.5%.

Median earnings and prior attainment by provider

The charts below show the median earnings for each institution, with the institutions grouped by the prior attainment of their graduates for each subject. This can be used to assess the correlation between prior attainment and median earnings. An example of where a strong correlation exists is Business and Management graduates. Institutions in prior attainment band 1, (highest 25% prior attainment) tend to have higher median earnings five years after graduation than those in bands 2 (middle 50% prior attainment) or 3 (lowest 25% prior attainment). 

In contrast, Medicine and Dentistry is an example where institution level prior attainment is less of an indicator of future median earnings due to the high entry requirements across all higher education providers.

Charts for the other subjects can be found in the accompanying document ‘Additional plots’. See the methodology section for more details on the calculation of prior attainment bands. Some institutions have not been placed in a band. This includes all Scottish and Welsh institutions, as prior attainment data is based on an English data source, as well as institutions where prior attainment information is based on a small number of students.

Earnings by subject and sex

The charts below show the difference between male and female median earnings across institutions. We have not included, in the charts below, institutions where median earnings figures for either gender had to be suppressed to prevent disclosure of personal information – this typically occurs when the number of one or both sexes in the university studying the subject is small. For some subjects, large proportions of universities were excluded (see table below).

For all subjects except Performing Arts and Veterinary Studies, male median earnings exceed female median earnings at more than 50% of institutions offering that subject that we have been able to include. In 18 subjects, male median earnings are greater than female median earnings at more than 75% of institutions.

Comparison of outcomes between tax years

It is possible that outcomes for a particular subject at a particular provider vary from year to year either due to changes in the way in which that subject is offered, changes in intake, changes in the graduate labour market or simply random chance (particularly true where the cohort sizes are small).  In this section, we compare median earnings five years after graduation in the 2014/15 tax year to median earnings in the 2017/18 tax year to gain an appreciation of the extent to which average graduate earnings change year on year for different cohorts.

The figure below displays the difference in median earnings at the provider level for Business and Management graduates. As can be seen, median earnings between tax years are strongly correlated. The increase in earnings for Business and Management graduates between the two tax years appears to have occurred across the majority of providers. Charts for other subjects are available in ‘Subject by tax year comparison tables’, as well as comparisons between the 2016/17 and 2017/18 tax years.

Earnings outcomes by current region

The chart below shows the distribution of institutions’ average earnings outcomes by region of graduates’ current residence. This is shown for earnings five years after graduation.  

These distributions have been obtained from the median earnings of graduates currently in each region for each institution. They are not to be confused with the earnings distributions of graduates of a given current region. For example, when looking at the distribution for London, this shows that when looking at graduates currently living in London grouped by the institution they graduated from, half of the institutions had median earnings of less than £30,300. 

The chart shows that within each region there is a wide variation in the median earnings outcomes of each HE institution.  It also shows that some current regions have a wider range of median earnings between institutions’ outcomes than others. For example, all HE institutions whose graduates currently reside in Yorkshire and The Humber had median earnings five years after graduation of between £9,800 and £43,800. By contrast, the median earnings for those institutions whose graduates currently reside in the North East showed significantly less variation, ranging from £17,500 to £38,700.  

When looking at HE institutions whose graduates now live in London, half had median earnings of £30,300, five years after graduation. This was the highest across all current regions. In Yorkshire and the Humber this figure was the lowest at £23,500. 

The chart would generally suggest that within region differences are greater than those across region. 

The data for each region can also be displayed in a worm chart. This is done, by way of illustration, for graduates currently living in the North East and London, five years after graduation. 

Impact of region at provider level

Our previous publication on 18th July 2019 showed that different regions have different average earnings levels and that this has an influence on institutions average earnings outcomes, even after controlling for other factors (e.g. variation in subject and student characteristics).  

To quantify the impact of region, the chart below reweights the graduate population of each institution so that it matches the overall regional distribution of all graduates and looks at the difference this has on the institution’s average earnings outcomes five years after graduation.  The methodology behind this calculation is given in more detail in the methodology section. 

If an institution falls below the blue line, then their actual median earnings are higher than they would be compared to if their graduates were distributed around the country in the same pattern as all graduates nationally. 

We can see that many institutions are located close to the line – meaning the regional destination of their graduates has little impact on their raw outcome. But for some, the effect is more significant and there are some consistent differences. For example, it can be seen that institutions in London, the South East and East of England are more likely to fall below the blue line (in London 63% of institutions have an actual median that is over 5% more than the adjusted median – see table below). Similarly, we see large proportions of institutions in the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, West Midlands and Wales who have actual medians more than 5% less than their medians once adjusted to be representative of the typical distribution of graduates in Great Britain. 

Inclusion of overseas data

This publication uses the current region of residence data supplied by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to identify graduates who were not living in the UK for the majority of the tax year. Graduates are classified as ‘overseas’ if the address at which they spent the most amount of time at during the tax year was outside of the UK. The purpose is to remove incomplete or missing earnings records and help improve the accuracy of the employment outcomes and earnings calculations presented.

Graduates classified as ‘overseas’ using the DWP data are then removed from the denominator when calculating the employment outcomes for each provider. We have included the proportion living overseas in each provider/region combination as a separate column.

In future publications we hope to supplement the DWP overseas flag with overseas data from the Student Loans Company (SLC), as graduates repaying their loan are required to inform SLC if they move abroad for more than 3 months. However, the data available to DfE is currently  limited to English graduates who took out a student loan with the SLC and will under-estimate the proportion living overseas for Scottish and Welsh institutions. 

Overall, the proportions recorded as living overseas using the DWP data were small: 0.3% of graduates at HEIs 1 year after graduation (YAG) were classified as overseas compared to 0.7% 3 YAG and 1.2% 5 YAG. 

The chart below gives an indication of how this varies at provider level.

The percentage also varies by subject: Languages and area studies and Physics and astronomy were the two subject areas where more than 2% of graduates were classified as overseas 5 years after graduation (3% and 2.4% respectively).

The proportion of overseas graduates at provider level within each subject also varies. When looking at Language and area studies, 21% of HEIs had 0% recorded as living overseas five years after graduation. The provider with the highest percentage of overseas graduates had 11.4%.

The exclusion of those classified as ‘overseas’ from the calculation of the employment outcomes increases the percentage of graduates in ‘sustained employment, further study or both’ across most providers and subjects. Using Languages and area studies as an example, 63.8% of all providers saw an increase in the percentage of graduates in sustained employment, further study or both, 5 years after graduation, when overseas graduates are excluded. For 28% there was no change and in 3.1% there was a reduction. For providers that saw an increase the average increase was 2.7% and the largest increase in sustained employment further study or both at a provider level was 14.3%. 

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