Over 90% of Scottish university leavers in positive destinations

Rise in graduates finding work or further study.

Over 90% of graduates from Scottish Universities have gone on to find work or further study after finishing their courses, despite the impact of the pandemic.

Latest HESA Higher Education Graduate Outcome statistics for 2019-20 show the proportion of graduates in work or further study (90.1%) is up two percentage points on the previous year, although the impact of COVID-19 and cohort changes has impacted on comparisons. The latest figures show 70% were in work, 11% were in work and further study, while 9% were in further study only.

Just 5% were unemployed 15 months after graduating, down from 7% in the previous year, according to the survey.

For those graduates in full-time work, 72% were earning over £24,000 15 months after their studies, an increase on last year. In addition, 89% agreed (43%) or strongly agreed (46%) that their work was meaningful.

Higher Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said: 

"Our universities are among the best in the world and these statistics show we are continuing to produce a highly skilled graduate workforce which will maintain our economic competitiveness as we emerge from the pandemic.

"We need our education and skills system to be aligned with our economic needs and ambitions and the high number of graduates finding work shows we are on the right track.

“We will continue to invest nearly £2 billion per year in Scotland’s colleges and universities in the years ahead, enabling them to continue to deliver high-quality education and training.

“We have record numbers of Scottish students securing places at Scottish universities, who will benefit from free tuition  – saving them tens of thousands of pounds in student debt, compared with their counterparts in England.”


HESA’s Graduate Outcomes Survey  provides information on the destinations of  university qualifiers 15 months after graduation in 2019-20. The response rate is around 50% of all graduates, with most fieldwork carried out in 2021 during the various stages of the COVID pandemic


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