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Response to the new Graduate Outcomes statistics published by HESA

  • 18 June 2020

Responding to the new Graduate Outcomes statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, Rachel Hewitt, HEPI’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, said:

Today’s new Graduate Outcomes statistics show the importance of having a rich and contextual picture of the graduate labour market, beyond just graduate salaries. Fifteen months after they leave higher education, by far the majority of graduates find themselves in work or further study. Most who have entered employment are working in highly skilled occupations. The data demonstrate clearly the benefits that higher education can bring to individual’s lives, as well as the wider labour market.

However, it also clearly shows there are not equal opportunities for all graduates. BME graduates are 8% less likely to be in full time employment than White graduates, graduates with a disability and those from more disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to be in employment and female graduates are paid 10% less than male graduates. Employers need to do more to ensure their hiring practices are fair for all graduates and without discrimination. This needs to be accompanied by continuing support from universities for students who may face adversity when starting work. This will become particularly important in the coming years, as graduates face a particularly challenging labour market. 

As well as providing labour market information, the new results suggest most graduates see themselves in a positive position. Around eight-in-ten (79%) graduates agree that what they are doing aligns with their future plans, meaning those who may have taken roles with lower salaries may be doing so as a step on their future career path. Almost three-quarters (71%) say they are using the skills gained through their studies in what they are doing now, suggesting that universities are providing students with the skills they need for their future careers. 

Notes to Editors:

  1. The full Graduate Outcomes statistics can be found on the HESA website:
  2. HEPI’s previous work on the graduate labour market include Getting On: graduate employment and its influence on UK higher education and Open for business? Students’ views on entering the labour market.

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