Universities’ graduate employment data released ahead of TEF

Keele University has top record among larger institutions in DLHE survey

July 7, 2016
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Wide variation in UK higher education institutions’ graduate employment record has been revealed by data that will be a key metric for the teaching excellence framework.

Data on 151 providers published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that 128 had a graduate employment rate above 92 per cent for their class of 2014-15, with 28 achieving a score in excess of 96 per cent.

But 14 institutions, including the London School of Economics, scored below 90 per cent, according to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey, with the lowest-scoring provider getting 83.4 per cent.

This year’s release, measuring the proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree leavers in work or further study six months after finishing their course, is significant because it completes a dataset that is set to be used in the TEF to assess institutions’ performance on graduate employment.

The government proposes to assess universities on an average generated from this year’s figures and data from the two previous years, alongside indicators for student satisfaction and retention.

The top performers in this year’s data are small and specialist providers but, among institutions with more than 500 respondents, Keele University performs best, with 97.5 per cent of its graduates in work or further study six months after leaving.

Other institutions with strong scores included the University of Cumbria (96.9 per cent), the University of Stirling (96.8 per cent) and Leeds Beckett University (96.7 per cent).

Some of the lowest scores were the University of Bolton (85.9 per cent), the University of Salford (87 per cent) and Staffordshire University (88.2 per cent).

The biggest year-on-year improvement among larger providers was at the University of Strathclyde, up 4.9 percentage points on 2013-14, reaching 96.2 per cent.

But one of the largest drops was at the University of Oxford, which was 2 percentage points down year-on-year, hitting 92.7 per cent.

Six other Russell Group institutions had scores below the 94 per cent average: the universities of Edinburgh, Bristol and Warwick, plus Queen’s University Belfast, Imperial College London and the LSE.

In the TEF, institutions will be assessed against benchmarks that control for the subjects that they offer and the entry qualifications of their students.

This year’s data count seven institutions that performed significantly above their benchmarks, including Harper Adams University, the University of West London and the University of Wolverhampton.

Nine were significantly below their benchmarks, including the universities of Bolton, Salford and University College Birmingham. 


Top 10 universities for graduate employment, excluding providers with fewer than 500 DLHE respondents

Institution % of graduates in work or further study after six months 
Keele University 97.5
University of Cumbria 96.9
University of Stirling 96.8
Leeds Beckett University 96.7
University of Aberdeen 96.6
Falmouth University 96.5
Robert Gordon University 96.5
University of Strathclyde 96.2
Liverpool Hope University 96.2
University of Dundee 96.2
University of Hertfordshire 96.2

Bottom 10 universities for graduate employment, excluding providers with fewer than 500 DLHE respondents

Institution % of graduates in work or further study after six months
University of Bolton 85.9
University of Salford 87.0
Staffordshire University 88.2
University of East London 88.3
London Metropolitan University 89.4
University of Wales Trinity Saint David 89.6
University of Bedfordshire 89.7
Teesside University 89.7
Anglia Ruskin University 89.8
London School of Economics and Political Science 89.8

Source: Hesa

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