Tax Year 2018-19

Graduate outcomes (LEO): Provider level data

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Graduate outcomes (Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO)): 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 (2018/19 tax year). These statistics do not include any impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These are official statistics. For more information on what this means, please see the ‘Official statistics’ section at the end of this publication. 

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 Institutions (HEIs) in Great Britain are discussed below, focussing on the five years after graduation cohort. Data for individual HEIs, Further Education Colleges (FECs) and Alternative Providers (APs) is available in the accompanying 'Excel table - Provider tables' Excel file and ‘Data - Underlying data' Excel file.  

It should be noted that the data 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 medians by subject/region. These are not to be confused with the distributions of graduates of a given subject/region (as seen in Graduate outcomes (LEO)). 

Data for the 2018/19 tax year can be found in the 'Excel table - Provider tables' Excel file and data covering the 2014/15 to 2018/19 tax years in the ‘Data - Underlying data' Excel file, which can be downloaded below.  

For the first time in this publication, analysis on full cycle graduate movement is included. This looks at the home region of graduates and their current region of residence one, three and five years after graduation. Data for each provider is available in the ‘All underlying data - full cycle movement’  Excel file.

We have also included a new provider level table providing more granular breakdowns of subject areas. This table and data can be found in the ‘Excel table - JACS table and data’ section. 


Headline facts and figures - 2018-19

Five years after graduation in the 2018/19 tax year, Business and management had the biggest variation in median earnings between providers (£19,000 to £71,800). Excluding Celtic studies, the smallest variation was seen for Medicine and dentistry (£43,800 to £52,200).

For the percentage of UK domiciled graduates in sustained employment, further study or both five years after graduation, four of the top five subjects were related to healthcare.

Earnings are known to be impacted by region of residence so regionally adjusted figures are provided. The effect this had on provider median earnings varied depending on the region of the provider. London had the highest proportion of providers where regionally adjusted earnings were more than 5% different to the raw earnings (73.3% of 30 providers).

Between the 2014/15 and 2018/19 tax years, 52.0% of providers saw an increase of over 10% in 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 2018/19 tax year, the average prior attainment of a provider had a varying impact on median earnings depending on the subject. For Nursing and midwifery, the lowest prior attainment band had the highest median earnings (by £1,300, compared with the top prior attainment band), likely to be caused by the region of graduates (half of providers in the lowest prior attainment band were in London or the South East). For business and management, the top prior attainment band had higher median earnings than the lowest prior attainment band by £14,800.

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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 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. 

Coverage 

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). 

Boxplots guidance  

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. 

Earnings outcomes across providers and subjects

In figure 1, 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 1 shows that the range of median earnings across providers varied significantly depending on the subject. For example, all providers offering Medicine and Dentistry had median earnings five years after graduation of between £42,500 and £52,600 (a difference of £10,100). By contrast, the median earnings for providers offering Business and Management showed wider variation, ranging from £19,000 to £70,800 (a difference of £51,800). 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. 

Figure 1 also shows that the combination of subject and provider is useful when looking at graduate earnings. In the Graduate outcomes (LEO) publication, we saw a similar trend when comparing median earnings by subject for all graduates where Medicine and dentistry had the highest median earnings, and the next highest 11 subjects were the same as shown here (but in a different order). However, at a provider level these trends have exceptions depending on the provider and subject. This is shown by the relatively high median earnings for the top 25% of providers within certain subjects.

Employment outcomes across providers and subjects

Figure 2 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 79% and 94% across subjects, there was significant variation within some subjects. For example, Economics had the largest difference between the highest and lowest proportion of 41.8%.  

Public sector subjects that relate to healthcare or education were amongst the subjects with the highest median proportions for 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 Languages and area studies providers having the highest median proportion of graduates known to be overseas by DWP or HMRC (2.7%). It is worth noting that the actual proportion of graduates living overseas is likely to be higher than 2.7%, because of graduates where DWP/HMRC have not been made aware, but the trend seen is assumed to be indicative for all graduates.

Figure 2 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. 

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%).  

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. 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 84.0% of the 25 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 Physics and astronomy, at 41.9% of the 31 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. To see data for other subjects, please select the ‘Explore data’ button at the bottom of figure 4 or view the, ‘Data - Underlying data’ or ‘Excel table - Provider tables’ downloadable files. 

For Nursing and midwifery, the median earnings of providers show little variation between bands 1 and 2 with more variation for band 3, implying that prior attainment had little impact on median earnings for this subject (the slightly higher value seen for band 3 is likely to be due to the small number of providers in this band, half of which are in London or the South East). 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.    

However, for Engineering and Business and management, a different pattern emerges where providers with a higher band had a noticeably higher median 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 £12,100 and £14,800 respectively, and the range of earnings is also much wider. It is interesting to note that the lowest median earnings in prior attainment band 1 was below the median earnings for all the other prior attainment bands, so prior attainment band alone does not determine earnings.  

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 male graduate median earnings. The number of providers included for each subject area is available to view in the accompanying table. For example, figure 5 shows that 55.3% of the 47 included providers for Computing 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 27 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 Computing (89.3% of 47 included providers), Nursing and midwifery (89.1% of 37), and Medical sciences (87.5% of 24 included providers).

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

Media, journalism and communications had the highest proportion of providers where female and male median earnings were within 5% of each other (45.6%). The remaining 54.4% were almost symmetrically distributed across the other four groupings.  

The only subjects in which the majority of providers saw female median earnings exceed male median earnings by more than 5% were English studies and Performing arts (where 42.2% and 41.9% of providers respectively 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 2018/19 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 2018/19 tax year is around 7.4%. 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 2018/19 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 (53.7% of providers), however there are six subjects who had higher proportions of providers with increases of over 10%. These are: 

  • Architecture, building and planning (where 75% of 56 included providers saw an increase of over 10% i.e. a real terms increase),
  • Law (71.8% of 92 providers),
  • Creative arts and design (70.5% of 78 providers),
  • Politics (70.3% of 64 providers),
  • Geography, earth and environmental studies (69.6% of 69 providers),
  • Business and management (69.3% of 117 providers).

Some subjects had over half 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):  

  • Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy (where 64% of 25 included providers saw differences of less than a 5% increase i.e. a real terms decrease),
  • Education and teaching (63% of 73 providers),
  • Medicine and dentistry (59.4% of 32 providers),
  • Nursing and midwifery (58.3% of 67 providers),
  • Combined and general studies (54.6% of 11 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 decreased. However, it is true that a large proportion of providers median earnings truly did decrease for Pharmacology, toxicology and pharmacy and Health and social care.      

Earnings outcomes by current region

Figure 7 shows the distribution of providers’ median earnings by graduates’ current region of residence, for five years after graduation. For example, when looking at the distribution for London, this shows that for graduates currently living in London grouped by the provider they graduated from, half of the providers had median earnings of less than £31,000. 

Figure 7 shows that within in each region there was variation in the median earnings of each provider, and that some regions had a wider range of median earnings between providers than others. For example, median earnings of all providers whose graduates currently reside in Wales had a range of £37,800 (a maximum provider median of £51,100 and a minimum of £13,300), whereas median earnings for providers whose graduates currently reside in the North East had a much smaller range of £20,400 (a maximum of £38,300 and a minimum of £17,900). 

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.  

The highest median earnings were seen for providers in the North East whose graduates currently reside in London (£37,800). The lowest median earnings were seen for providers in Wales whose graduates currently live in the North East (£20,300)

Effect of region at provider level

Our previous publication on regional graduate outcomes (published 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 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.  

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, and the only northern region in which any providers saw a decrease was the North West. Providers in London and the South East tended to have lower regionally adjusted earnings, the South East seeing no providers for which their median earnings increased. The majority of providers in the midlands and South West 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.  

We know from the full cycle movement analysis published in the Graduate Outcomes (LEO) publication, that graduates are most likely to be in their home region five years after graduation, whether they left their home region to study or studied in their home region. The Graduate Outcomes (LEO) publication also shows us that of the English regions, the proportion of graduates residing in their home region five years after graduation varied from 64.8% to 86.2% (South West and London respectively). 

Full cycle movement

For the first time in this series, we have published data on full cycle movement at a provider-level. This builds on from the experimental statistics release in July 2019 (Graduate outcomes (LEO): regional outcomes 2016 to 2017 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). In table 6 of the "Excel tables - Provider tables" downloadable file, for each HEI, 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.  

Note that this section only covers young (under 21 at start of course) graduates due to mature graduates having different regional movement patterns to young graduates.

Figure 10, shows a heatmap with the number of providers available for each home/current region combination at five years after graduation. From the top-left to bottom-right diagonal, there is a high number of providers with data when the home region is the same as the current region. This is consistent with the full-cycle movement analysis published in March 2021 (Graduate outcomes (LEO) publication) where we saw that most graduates are in their home region after studying, regardless of where they study. The London column also indicates that there are relatively high number of providers with graduates living in London for each home region.  

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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 Graduate outcomes (LEO): Provider level data statistics and data:

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Telephone: Aaron Garbett
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