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 2016/17, 2014/15 and 2012/13 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 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 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 (HE) providers in Great Britain and are UK domiciled. Only data for HE institutions is shown in the main text of this publication but data for Further Education Colleges (FECs) and Alternative Providers (APs) is available in the Provider tables downloadable Excel document.
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 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. 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 included in the employment outcomes tables (more information can be found in the methodology).
Gender gap calculations in this release
In this publication, we have changed the calculation of the gender gap in median earnings 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).
For guidance on how to read boxplots in this release, please see the ‘how to read boxplots’ document available in ‘Download data and files’ at the top of this release.
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. 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.