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Comment on new graduate employment and earnings statistics

13 June 2017

Universities UK responded today to the publication of new experimental statistics looking at graduate employment and earnings.

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes data from the Department for Education –  using matched employment and earnings data from different government departments – focuses on outcomes in the tax year 2014/15 for those who graduated with an undergraduate degree in 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13 from a higher education institution in Great Britain.

Commenting on the data, Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "Across all universities and courses, official figures show that graduates in the UK are still more likely to be in employment. On average, they continue to earn substantially more than non-graduates.

"However, graduate salaries are not the only measure of success in higher education. Some universities specialise in fields such as the arts, the creative industries, nursing and public sector professions that, despite making an essential contribution to society and the economy, pay less on average. Many students seek rewarding careers where high salaries are not their only motivation. There are also other factors that may impact on earnings, including higher and lower average earnings in some parts of the country.

"Skilled graduates are increasingly in demand from employers, and UK universities are working harder than ever to ensure that graduates in every discipline pick up the diverse range of skills that will be essential to them throughout their lives, and also essential to employers as the number of jobs requiring graduate-level skills increases. The ability to think critically and to analyse and present evidence are skills that enrich graduates' lives, and last for life."



  1. The new The Longitudinal Education Outcomes data are available in full from the Department for Education website
  2. The latest government statistics on graduate earnings – Graduate labour market statistics 2016 (April 2017) – show that graduates, on average, continue to earn more than non-graduates and are more likely to obtain a job. The figures reveal that the unemployment rate for non-graduates was 5.9%, double that of graduates at 2.9%. The statistics showed also that (in 2016) working age (aged 16-64) graduates earned on average £9,500 more than non-graduates.
  3. Universities UK's 2015 report Supply and demand for higher level skills looked at the demand for graduate skills and concluded that there is currently an undersupply of graduates that will continue into the foreseeable future. The report also highlights the fact that there is no one definition of a 'graduate job'.

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Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

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Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
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Clara Plackett

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Universities UK


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