Destinations and earnings of graduates after higher education

The main facts and figures show that:

  • in 2015/16, White graduates had the highest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both one year after graduation (87.4%) , followed by graduates from the Indian (86.3%) and Black Caribbean (86.0%) ethnic groups
  • 72.1% of Black Caribbean graduates had gone into sustained employment (without also studying) one year after graduation, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups for those in sustained employment only, followed by White graduates (68.2%), and graduates from the Indian and Bangladeshi ethnic groups (both at 67.0%)
  • 23.0% of Chinese graduates had gone into further study (with or without sustained employment) one year after graduation, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups, followed by graduates from Other Asian (21.4%) and Pakistani (20.8%) ethnic groups
  • Chinese graduates had the highest average (median) earnings one year after graduation (£20,600), followed by graduates from the Indian (£20,400) and Other Asian (£19,800) ethnic groups; graduates from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Other Black ethnic groups had the lowest median earnings, at £16,700, £17,000 and £17,100 respectively
Things you need to know

These estimates show outcomes recorded in the 2015/16 tax year for undergraduate students who graduated 1, 3, 5 and ten full academic years beforehand.

The academic year usually starts in September and ends in July the following year.

The tax year starts on 6 April and ends on 5 April the following year.

Students who graduated one full academic year before the 2015/16 tax year (which ran from 6 April 2015 to 5 April 2016) therefore studied between September 2013 and July 2014. Those who graduated 10 academic years before the 2015/16 tax year studied between September 2004 and July 2005.

Data is presented for graduates who have been matched to either:

  • the Department for Work and Pensions’ Customer Information System (CIS), if they went into work
  • the HESA student record, if they went into further study

The charts and tables presented don’t include graduates whose ethnicity wasn’t known (2.7% of graduates in the 2013/14 academic year).

The data only includes students whose normal residence before starting their university degree was in the UK, Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man. (Guernsey and Jersey in this context refer to the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey, which includes their smaller islands.)

Entrants from outside the UK are not asked to report their ethnic origin and are therefore not included.

Please note that this data does not distinguish between the different types of work that graduates were doing and does not include estimates on the levels of graduates employed in ‘graduate occupations’.

What the data measures

This data shows the percentage of graduates who went into employment, further study or both after completing an undergraduate degree at a higher education institution in the UK. Data is broken down by ethnicity, and is shown for people who graduated 1, 3, 5 and 10 full academic years before the 2015/16 tax year. It also shows the average (median) earnings of those in employment at these intervals.

The data includes graduates of full-time and part-time undergraduate degrees – usually bachelor's degrees like a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BSc), Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or Bachelor of Law (LLB).

To be classed as being in ‘sustained employment’, graduates must have been employed for at least 1 day per month in 5 out of the 6 months between October 2015 and March 2016 (or had a self-employment record in the 2015/16 tax year). The data doesn’t distinguish between part-time and full-time employment.

To be classed as being in ‘further study’, graduates must have been recorded by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) as being on any higher education course at a higher education institution in the UK in the 2015/16 tax year.

These two categories are also combined to show those graduates who went into ‘sustained employment, further study, or both’ – this category includes all graduates classed as being in ‘sustained employment’ and those with a record of further study.

A fourth category identifies those graduates who had no sustained destination – this includes anyone with an employment or out-of-work benefits record in the 2015/16 tax year, who weren’t classed as being in ‘sustained employment’ and didn’t have a record of further study

There’s also an extra category to show where this information wasn’t captured – for example, if people moved out of the UK after graduating or earned below the limit where they start paying National Insurance.

Earnings figures are reported either by employers (for example, through PAYE) or by graduates themselves through a self-employment record (if they have reported income for the 2015/16 tax year). Those in both sustained employment and further study are excluded, as their earnings would be more likely to relate to part-time jobs.

The median earnings for each ethnic group is the middle point when the earnings figures are arranged in order of size from lowest to highest.

The ethnic categories used in this data

This data links student records from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and employment and earnings records from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This data uses the ethnic groups included in HESA’s student records::

Asian:

  • Bangladeshi
  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black:

  • Black African
  • Black Caribbean
  • Any other Black background

White

Other ethnic groups (including Mixed ethnicities)

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

Graduate destinations by ethnicity

Percentage of graduates in different destinations 1, 3, 5 and 10 years after graduation, by ethnicity

1 year after graduation 3 years after graduation 5 years after graduation 10 years after graduation
Ethnicity No sustained destination (%) Sustained employment, further study, or both (%) Activity not captured (%) No sustained destination (%) Sustained employment, further study, or both (%) Activity not captured (%) No sustained destination (%) Sustained employment, further study, or both (%) Activity not captured (%) No sustained destination (%) Sustained employment, further study, or both (%) Activity not captured (%)
All 8.3 86.4 5.3 6.2 86.5 7.2 5.5 85.4 9.1 4.4 82.6 13.0
Bangladeshi 11.0 84.5 4.5 8.5 85.6 5.9 7.1 84.0 8.8 6.1 81.3 12.6
Chinese 9.5 77.8 12.8 6.9 74.3 18.8 5.5 71.7 22.7 4.6 67.3 28.1
Indian 8.5 86.3 5.2 6.4 87.5 6.1 6.0 86.3 7.6 4.9 84.0 11.1
Pakistani 12.2 81.3 6.5 9.1 81.9 9.0 9.0 80.2 10.8 8.2 76.0 15.9
Asian other 10.4 81.3 8.3 8.3 80.8 11.0 6.5 79.5 13.9 6.1 77.0 16.9
Black African 11.5 82.8 5.7 9.9 81.2 8.9 9.3 79.1 11.6 9.1 74.2 16.7
Black Caribbean 10.2 86.0 3.7 8.7 86.3 5.0 8.4 85.5 6.1 7.2 83.6 9.2
Black other 13.1 79.6 7.3 11.7 77.4 10.9 10.6 79.0 10.4 9.3 74.9 15.9
White 7.6 87.4 5.0 5.6 87.6 6.8 4.8 86.6 8.5 3.8 83.7 12.5
Other (including mixed) 10.7 82.6 6.7 8.6 82.1 9.3 7.8 80.3 11.9 6.5 76.3 17.3

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, in 2015/16, 86.4% of people who graduated 1 year ago were in sustained employment, further study or both; 8.3% had no sustained destination, and the destination wasn’t known for 5.3%
  • White graduates had the highest percentage in sustained employment, further study or both, one year after graduation (87.4%), followed by graduates from the Indian (86.3%) and Black Caribbean (86.0%) ethnic groups
  • graduates from the Other Black (13.1%), Pakistani (12.2%) and Black African (11.5%) ethnic groups were most likely to have no sustained destination, compared with all other ethnic groups; graduates from the White (7.6%), Indian (8.5%) and Chinese (9.5%) ethnic groups were least likely to have no sustained destination
  • of those who graduated 5 years ago, graduates from the White and Indian ethnic groups were most likely to be in sustained employment, further study, or both (at 86.6% and 86.3% respectively), compared with all other ethnic groups; graduates from the Other Black and Black African ethnic groups were most likely to have no sustained destination (at 10.6% and 9.3% respectively)
  • overall, the percentage of graduates whose destination wasn’t known increased the longer ago they graduated – from 5.3% for those who graduated 1 year ago, to 13.0% for those who graduated 10 years ago

Graduate destinations (further study or employment only) by ethnicity

Percentage of graduates in sustained destinations 1, 3, 5 and 10 years after graduation, by ethnicity

1 year after graduation 3 years after graduation 5 years after graduation 10 years after graduation
Ethnicity Sustained employment only (%) Further study with or without sustained employment (%) Sustained employment only (%) Further study with or without sustained employment (%) Sustained employment only (%) Further study with or without sustained employment (%) Sustained employment only (%) Further study with or without sustained employment (%)
All 67.2 19.2 72.9 13.6 74.8 10.6 76.8 5.8
Bangladeshi 67.0 17.5 76.4 9.2 77.2 6.8 76.9 4.4
Chinese 54.8 23.0 62.1 12.2 62.6 9.1 63.1 4.2
Indian 67.0 19.3 75.9 11.6 78.4 7.9 79.2 4.8
Pakistani 60.5 20.8 70.6 11.3 71.8 8.4 70.7 5.3
Asian other 59.9 21.4 65.4 15.4 68.3 11.2 69.5 7.5
Black African 63.3 19.5 64.9 16.3 65.9 13.2 66.5 7.7
Black Caribbean 72.1 13.9 74.8 11.5 74.6 10.9 77.1 6.5
Black other 63.7 15.9 62.9 14.5 68.6 10.4 67.6 7.3
White 68.2 19.2 73.9 13.7 75.9 10.7 77.9 5.8
Other (including mixed) 63.2 19.4 68.1 14.0 69.1 11.2 69.9 6.4

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall, in 2015/16, 67.2% of people who graduated one year ago were in sustained employment (without also studying), and 19.2% were in further study (with or without sustained employment)
  • Black Caribbean graduates had the highest percentage in sustained employment only, one year after graduation (72.1%), followed by graduates from the White (68.2%), Indian and Bangladeshi ethnic groups (both at 67.0%)
  • graduates from the Chinese, Other Asian background and Pakistani ethnic groups had the lowest percentages in sustained employment only, one year after graduation (at 54.8%, 59.9% and 60.5% respectively); however, Chinese and other Asian background graduates were the two ethnic groups with the highest percentages of graduates whose destinations weren’t known
  • Chinese graduates had the highest percentage in further study (with or without sustained employment) (23.0%), followed by graduates from the Other Asian (21.4%) and Pakistani ethnic groups (20.8%)
  • Black Caribbean graduates had the lowest percentage in further study (with or without sustained employment) (at 13.9%), followed by graduates from the Other Black (15.9%) and Bangladeshi (17.5%) ethnic groups
  • overall, the percentage of graduates in sustained employment (without also studying) increased the longer ago they graduated – from 67.2% of those who graduated one year ago, to 76.8% of those who graduated 10 years ago; the percentage in further study declined from 19.2% of those who graduated one year ago to 5.8% of those who graduated 10 years ago

Average earnings of graduates by ethnicity

Average (median) earnings of graduates in sustained employment only, 1, 3, 5 and 10 years after graduation, by ethnicity

Ethnicity 1 year after graduation 3 years after graduation 5 years after graduation 10 years after graduation
Average (median) earnings (£) Average (median) earnings (£) Average (median) earnings (£) Average (median) earnings (£)
All 18,900 22,800 25,700 30,600
Bangladeshi 16,700 21,000 23,300 28,800
Chinese 20,600 25,000 27,700 32,000
Indian 20,400 24,900 28,000 33,000
Pakistani 17,000 20,200 21,500 24,900
Asian other 19,800 24,600 27,500 34,300
Black African 18,500 20,900 23,500 27,800
Black Caribbean 17,200 20,300 22,900 27,800
Black other 17,100 19,500 20,700 29,100
White 19,000 22,900 25,800 30,800
Other (including mixed) 18,700 22,800 25,800 31,000

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

Average earnings were calculated using the 'median' for each ethnic group. The median is the middle point when the figures are arranged in order of size from lowest to highest.

This data shows that:

  • overall, in 2015/16, the average (median) salary of someone who graduated 1 year ago was £18,900; it was £22,800 for those who graduated 3 years ago, £25,700 for those who graduated 5 years ago, and £30,600 for those who graduated 10 years ago
  • graduates from the Chinese ethnic group had the highest average earnings one year after graduation (£20,600), followed by those from the Indian (£20,400) and Other Asian (£19,800) ethnic groups
  • graduates from the Bangladeshi ethnic group had the lowest average earnings one year after graduation (£16,700), followed by those from the Pakistani (£17,000) and Other Black (£17,100) ethnic groups
  • 5 years after graduation, graduates with the highest average earnings were from the Indian (£28,000), Chinese (£27,700) and Other Asian (£27,500) ethnic groups; those with the lowest average earnings were from the Other Black (£20,700), Pakistani (£21,500) and Black Caribbean (£22,900) ethnic groups

Methodology

Methodology

The statistics have been produced using the Department for Education’s (DfE) Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO) dataset.

The LEO dataset is created by combining data from the following sources:

  • the DfE’s national pupil database
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data on students at UK universities
  • individualised learner record (ILR) covering English further education providers and specialist post-16 institutions
  • employment and PAYE data, and data from the Self Assessment tax return, from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • the national benefit database, labour market system and Juvos data, held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

The matching of these databases was undertaken at individual level using personal characteristics such as name, date of birth and postcode.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Suppression is applied to the destination data to ensure that individual students cannot be identified, as follows:

  • any total with fewer than 11 students has had all of their data suppressed
  • figures referring to outcomes for 1 or 2 individuals have been suppressed – in some cases, more figures are suppressed if publishing them would affect the suppression of those figures referring to outcomes for 1 or 2 individuals

Zeros remain zeros unless they reveal information about employment destinations.

Rounding

Percentages are rounded to the nearest 0.1%. Earnings are rounded to the nearest £100.

Quality and methodology information

Data sources

Source

Type of data

Administrative data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Department for Education

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

This data helps monitor the progress of higher education leavers into the labour market.

Download the data

Destinations of graduates after higher education - Spreadsheet (csv) 40 KB

This file contains: ethnicity, tax year, academic year, years after graduation, destinations, value

Earnings of graduates after higher education - Spreadsheet (csv) 15 KB

This file contains: ethnicity, tax year, academic year, years after graduation, earnings quartile, value