What Do Graduates Do? 2017

What Do Graduates Do? is the result of a close collaboration between AGCAS and Prospects, on behalf of the Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU). Published annually, it uses statistics drawn from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey to try and establish what graduates are doing six months after graduation.

The figures are compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and used by HECSU to produce the tables and charts. Expert editorial commentary is provided by members of the AGCAS Education Liaison Task Group in collaboration with members of the Prospects team.

The latest edition (2017) shows that a robust graduate jobs market combined with a sharp rise in students taking postgraduate courses has led to the lowest graduate unemployment rate since 1989. 

Key findings:

  • Graduate unemployment fell from 5.7% in 2016 to 5.3%
  • Graduate employment also fell from 76% to 74%
  • There was a sharp rise in numbers entering further study, with 39,135 graduates pursuing this option (up from 32,385 in the previous year), an increase from 13% to 16%
  • While the UK is currently not in recession, an increase in the numbers of graduates going into further study is historically linked to economic downturn, as demonstrated in the last three major downturns. 

The report also found that while there were large rises in graduates entering nursing, marketing, finance and IT, there were significant falls in the number of graduates working in medicine, teaching and engineering, reflecting the decreasing number of students studying those subjects. Despite many industries having a shortage of workers, this did not translate into higher graduate starting salaries, which remained flat at an average of around £21,000. 

What do Graduates Do? will be of interest to many different stakeholders, including HE careers and employability practitioners, employers, parents, schools, young adults, as well as those about to enter higher education.