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Statistics Publication Notice Lifelong Learning Series: HIGHER EDUCATION GRADUATES AND GRADUATE DESTINATIONS 2003/04

DescriptionStatistics on higher education graduates from Scottish universities and colleges and their destinations
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateDecember 07, 2005


7th December 2005
A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication
ISBN 0 7559 2862 8 (Web only publication)
This document is also available in pdf format (284k)

Statistics on higher education graduates from Scottish higher education institutions ( HEIs) and Scotland's colleges for 2003/04 are released today along with survey information on the first destinations of full-time, EU domiciled graduates in the same year. This updates the publication issued on 16 th December 2004.

The main points are as follows:

  • In 2003/04, 65,720 students - around 2,000 more than in the previous academic year - successfully completed a higher education course in Scotland. Of these, 42 per cent obtained a first degree, 38 per cent obtained a sub degree qualification and 21 per cent obtained a postgraduate qualification.
  • The number of graduates of subjects within the mass communication area increased most significantly from the previous year; other subject areas with increases included creative arts, medicine and dentistry, agriculture and social studies. Areas that have fewer graduates than in 2002-03 include humanities, subjects allied to medicine and languages.
  • The number of Scottish based graduates increased from the previous year by 2% while the number of foreign domiciled graduates increased by 13%.
  • Of those graduates who responded to surveys of their first destination approximately 6 months after graduation, over half (57 per cent) had obtained permanent or temporary employment in the UK at the time of the survey with a further 2 per cent obtaining employment overseas. 29 per cent of responding graduates continued in study/training while 6 per cent were unemployed. For all levels of study women were slightly more likely than men to be in employment.
  • Of postgraduate qualifiers who obtained a permanent job in the UK 87% worked as managers, professionals or technical staff, while of undergraduates between 65% and 69% worked in those kinds of occupations.
  • Of those gaining permanent UK employment after qualifying in 2003/04, 32 per cent gained employment in the health social and community work sector, with 23 per cent gaining employment in the finance and business services sector.
  • 40% of all postgraduates from Scottish universities obtained their initial permanent UK job in finance and business services; of first degree graduates 28% of those with permanent UK employment 6 months after graduating worked in health or social work (26% in finance and business services); of those with sub degree qualifications about half started work in the health and social care sector.
  • 79 per cent of respondents who gained permanent employment after qualifying in 2003/04 gained employment in Scotland. 90 per cent of the Scots-domiciled respondents in permanent employment were employed in Scotland. A third of graduates from the rest of the UK responding to the surveys found initial employment in Scotland and a fifth of EU domiciled respondents took their initial job in Scotland.
  • Some of those not working undertook further study: over half of those who had successfully completed a sub degree level qualification did so - this is 10 percentage points more than in the previous year.

Graduate Tables
Table 1: Graduates from higher education courses in Scotland by institution type: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 2: Graduates from higher education courses in Scotland by qualification achieved and gender: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 3: Graduates from higher education courses in Scotland by qualification achieved, gender and age group: 2003/04
Table 4: Graduates from higher education courses in Scotland by subject of study: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 5: Examination results of graduates from first degree courses in Scotland: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 6: Graduates from higher education courses by domicile 1998/99 to 2003/04
First Destination Tables
Table 7: First destination of graduates from higher education by gender and level of qualification obtained: 2003/04
Table 8: First destination of graduates from higher education by level of qualification obtained: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 9: First destination of graduates from higher education by subject and level of qualification obtained: 2003/04
Table 10: Graduates gaining permanent UK employment by type of work and level of qualification obtained: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 11: Graduates gaining permanent UK employment by industry of employer and level of qualification obtained: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 12: Graduates gaining permanent UK or overseas employment by domicile and location of employment: 1998/99 to 2003/04
Table 13: Graduates gaining permanent UK or overseas employment by subject studied and location of employment: 2003/04
Table 14: Response rate to first destination survey: 1998/99 to 2003/04


1. The figures in this publication are based on data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency ( HESA) from higher education institutions ( HEIs), and the Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council ( SFC) from further education colleges ( FECs).

2. This publication contains information on students, from both HEIs and FECs, who successfully completed a higher education course in Scotland in the years covered. Higher education courses are defined as those at HNC/ HND level and above. All higher education graduates from Scottish Higher Education Institutions and Colleges (full-time and part-time, from within the EU and from outside the EU) are included in Tables 1-6. Information on the Open University in Scotland is not included in this news release.

3. Over the years 2000-01 to 2003-04, SFC has made revisions and improvements to its collection of numbers of graduates. In 2003-04, there was a significant change in the method used to identify graduates and numbers for 2002-03 have been revised to be consistent with the method used in 2003-04. This has resulted in an increase in the numbers of HE graduates for 2002-03 compared with the numbers published last year, for which an earlier method of identifying graduates was used. In the years 2000-01 and 2001-02, changes were made which resulted in a reduction in the reported number of graduates from FECs and an increase in the number of continuing students. Higher education graduates from FECs account for over one-fifth of all higher education graduates. These are mainly at the sub-degree level. Tables of graduates from Higher Education Institutions are not affected. Also, the tables on first destinations are not affected by these changes.

4. Due to the significant changes in the collection of numbers of HE graduates from FECs, care should be taken when comparing total numbers of graduates across years.

5. The tables on first destinations (Tables 7 to 14) report on the activities of full-time students from Scotland, the rest of the UK and the rest of the EU. First destination information is collected by the colleges and universities through a voluntary survey to individual students of all nationalities within the European Union who have successfully completed their course. Details are requested about the graduate's destination on 15 January ( HESA) or 31 December ( SFC) following the end of the academic session in which they qualified.

6. The collection of destinations for graduates from HEIs changed for the year 2002/03. Data are now collected for part-time as well as full-time students, but full-time students only are included here, as aggregation with SFC data is only possible for full-time students. Part time graduates and graduates from outwith the EU are included in the graduate tables (tables 1-6).

7. Response rates for 1998/99 to 2003/04 have been calculated as the percentage of all graduates in the target population who were sent a questionnaire and replied stating a known destination. Therefore non-respondents and unknown responses have been excluded from tables 7-13. The overall response rate to the first destination surveys has stayed relatively constant at around 70% to 80% in each year since 1998/99. The response rates for each year are given in table 14.

8. This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

This news release, together with associated tables listed above, is published on the Scottish Executive website http://www.scotland.gov.uk/llstatistics those who do not have access to the Internet, please contact Karren Friel. See details below.

For media enquiries please contact:

Scottish Executive
Press Office
Tel. (0131) 244 2682

For further information, non-media enquiries and comments on this publication, please contact:
Karren Friel

Scottish Executive
Enterprise & Lifelong Learning Department
Analytical Services Division
3 rd Floor, Meridian Court
5 Cadogan Street
Glasgow, G2 6AT
Tel. (0141) 242 0270
Fax. (0141) 242 5579