The impact of universities on the UK economy - 4th report

The economic importance of higher education has been widely recognised since the early 1990s, and its contribution to national and regional economic development has become an important influence on policymaking. Higher education is seen in the UK as being of key importance in the creation and transfer of knowledge to the economy through its teaching, research and other activities.

This report is an update of earlier studies looking at the impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy, and:

  • provides new evidence of the impact of universities as independent businesses
  • confirms the growing economic importance of the sector
  • demonstrates that the effectiveness of the higher education sector in generating impact is relatively high compared to other sectors of the economy
  • confirms the substantial employment effect of higher education activity
  • provides further evidence of the importance of international students to the sector and the wider economy

The report finds that through both direct and secondary effects, the higher education sector generated:

  • over £59 billion of output and over 668,500 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the UK economy in 2007–08
  • an overall contribution to GDP of £33.4 billion

Majority of adult learners would upskill at university if given the chance

21 October 2020
New polling by Savanta ComRes for Universities UK has revealed that 82% of prospective students in England who are either unemployed, at risk of unemployment, or looking to learn new skills would be keen to study individual modules of a university degree.

UUK response to prime minister’s speech on adult learning and skills

29 September 2020
Commenting on the Prime Minister's speech on adult learning and skills, Professor Julia Buckingham, the President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of Brunel University London, said it could benefit millions of adults
Student working on a bike

Funding for adult learners will boost the UK's economic recovery

30 September 2020
UUK's Julie Tam takes a look at the prime minister's announcement of a lifetime skills allowance, and what it means for the economy, society, and individuals.

The careers services team at Royal Holloway, University of London

How university careers services are supporting graduates through Covid-19

25 June 2020
Gabi Binnie from AGCAS explains how university careers services moved their provision online almost overnight following lockdown, in order to ensure students and graduates continue to be supported.