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AGCAS and Prospects at Jisc launch the 2020 edition of ‘What do graduates do?’

07 December 2020

AGCAS AND PROSPECTS RELEASE ‘WHAT DO GRADUATES DO?’ - Insight and analysis from the UK's largest higher education survey

This edition of ‘What do graduates do?’, the first to analyse the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA)’s Graduate Outcomes survey, provides a comprehensive picture of graduate activity 15-months after graduation. The publication provides facts, context and insights from AGCAS members, Prospects at Jisc and sector experts to answer important questions about the prospects for graduates from different degree subjects after completing their studies.

 This is an important publication for the UK Higher Education sector, as it is the first use of the Graduate Outcomes data in a sector publication of this scale. A number of articles use Graduate Outcomes survey data to discuss important policy considerations for the sector, such as ‘what is the value of a degree beyond employment metrics?’ and ‘why do fewer BAME graduates enter professional-level employment than white graduates?’.

The new Graduate Outcomes data provides the sector with far more than just employment data. As a sector, we know that students enter university at different starting points and with different ambitions. This publication looks at graduate voice and subjective wellbeing data to try and understand – and respond to – what graduates truly feel and experience after leaving their institution.” Marc Lintern, AGCAS President

Headline findings include:

  • The majority of UK-domiciled graduates (68.8%) were in work 15 months after graduation. Of those in work, 71.8% were in occupations classed as ‘professional level’.

  • 18% of the cohort reported having taken further study at some point since graduation. Unemployment stood at 5.5%, with part-time graduates much less likely than full-time graduates to be unemployed.

  • Health was the most common occupational group for graduates, with nursing much the most common occupation. The health sector is the largest employer of graduates, with education, business and finance, retail, construction and manufacturing all employing at least 10,000 new graduates last year.

  • Outside the UK, the most common countries for UK graduates to be working in were Spain, Ireland, the US, Australia, Germany, France, China and the Netherlands. Overall, 66.3% of UK graduates of known domicile and location of employment were working in their home region, and 53.7% in the region where they’d attended university.

The Graduate Outcomes data were collected before the COVID-19 crisis, so the long-term effect of the economic turbulence on this cohort is still to be seen. However, this edition of ‘What do graduates do?’ still provides the sector with an important benchmark to understand what graduates do in the wake of a crisis, and how it affects them.

Read the publication here