Early Destinations of Students Qualifying from Scottish Higher Educations Institutions 2012-13

Statistics on the first destinations of leavers from Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)in 2012-13

6. Methodological Notes

6.1. Data Sources

This publication contains information on the destinations (six months after graduating) of leavers from Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in Scotland who gained higher education qualifications in academic year 2012-13.

These statistics are collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) through the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey:

  • HEIs distribute the DLHE survey to leavers, collect the results and pass the data onto HESA.
  • Leavers complete and return the DLHE survey to the HEIs.
  • HESA collates and validates the data before passing the finished dataset onto the Scottish Government.
  • The Scottish Government uses the HESA dataset to analyse and report on destinations of qualifiers from Scottish institutions.

6.2. Coverage

6.2.1 Time series comparisons

Following a review of the DLHE survey and consultation with government departments, the HE sector and users of the data, the DLHE survey was re-designed to collect richer information from leavers, particularly regarding their activities on the survey date. As a result, substantial changes were made to the DLHE questionnaire for 2011-12 onwards.

Leavers now report all activities (employment, education, other) that they are undertaking on the census date and indicate which activity they consider to be most important. HESA derive destination categories from the responses, taking into account the most important activity and, in some instances, other activities the leaver is involved in. More information on the changes to the survey can be found on the HESA website: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/includes/C11018_resources/changesrecord.pdf?v=1.11

Consequently, the destination categories have different definitions and the comparability of the time series is limited to two years only: 2011-12 and 2012-13.

6.2.2 Destination categories

This publication presents leaver destinations using the Employment Activity categories derived by HESA. The 9 HESA Employment activity categories are grouped as follows in Table 1, 2, 9 and 12:

SG Destination Category

HESA Derived Activity Categories


04 Primarily studying and also in work 05 Full-time study 06 Part-time study

UK employment

01 Full-time work 02 Part-time work 03 Primarily in work and also studying

Overseas employment

01 Full-time work 02 Part-time work 03 Primarily in work and also studying

Believed unemployed

07 Due to start work 08 Unemployed


09 Other

6.2.3 Open University

Leavers from the Open University whose national centre is located in Scotland are counted as leavers from Scottish HEIs within this publication. This methodology is consistent with the methodology used in Table 7 of the HESA 2012-13 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education publication. In all other tables and in previous years, HESA counts the Open University as a wholly English institution, due to the location of its administrative base.

6.2.4 Target population for the survey

The HESA DLHE target population contains all UK, European Union and Non-EU domiciled HE students for whom destinations data is expected and sought. A list of exclusions applied to the DLHE target population is available on the HESA website: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/component/option,com_studrec/task,show_file/Itemid,233/mnl,11018/href,coverage.html/

The figures presented in this publication exclude Non-EU leavers and postgraduate research leavers with dormant status as these groups were new to the target population for 2011-12.

Consequently, the totals presented in this publication are not equivalent to the total number of qualifiers, as reported in the Scottish Funding Council publication 'Higher Education Students and Qualifiers at Scottish Institutions 2012-13': http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Statistical_publications_SFCST042014_HigherEducationStudentsandQualifiersatS/Higher_Education_Students_and_Qualifiers_at_Scottish_Institutions_2012-13_31_March.pdf

6.3. Quality Information

6.3.1 Relevance

HESA is the official agency which collects, analyses and disseminates quantitative information about higher education. The primary purpose of the early DLHE data collection is to provide each of the bodies listed below with accurate and comprehensive statistical information regarding the destinations of leavers 6 months after graduation.

The statistics are used in Scotland by:

  • Minister and officials in government
  • The Scottish Funding Council
  • Students, Researchers and Academics
  • Careers Scotland

The statistics are used in a variety of ways including:

  • Monitoring destinations of graduates. Table 8 presents information which is used in the Scotland Performs National Performance Framework.
  • Informing students about potential careers paths based on subject of study.

6.3.2 Accuracy Response rates

Although the DLHE survey is a census of the target population, some leavers do not respond to the survey or explicitly refuse to give any information. The current response rate for leavers from Scottish HEIs is 72.8 per cent. Response rates by level of qualification level are shown in Table 11. Weighting for non-response

The data that were successfully collected were used to estimate the most likely responses of those who did not respond. The response rates for different categories of student were analysed to determine the extent of non-response for each group. We have found, for example, that students who have obtained a higher class of first degree (first or upper second) are more likely to respond to the survey than those who obtained a lower class of degree. High performing students were therefore over-represented in the respondents.

To account for this, the survey results for different demographics were weighted (i.e. an adjustment factor was applied) to make them more representative of the target population. The adjustments were made separately based on pre-study location (domicile), region of institution, level of qualification studied for and class of degree for first degree leavers.

The adjustment factors ranged from 1.2 to 1.9. Where adjustments have been made, it is noted under the relevant table of results. Data Presentation

In all tables in this release, leaver numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5 and percentages to one decimal place. Within tables, missing values have been replaced with "-". Figures may not sum to totals due to rounding. Unless stated otherwise, percentages in tables are calculated from unrounded values.

6.3.3 Timeliness

HESA collected data for 2012-13 DLHE survey in April 2013 (winter leavers) and January 2014 (summer leavers). They published a statistical first release and further analysis in June and July 2014 respectively: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1899&Itemid=239

6.3.4 Comparability HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education

In June each year, HESA produce a statistical first release containing a summary of results from the DLHE survey. Historically each of the devolved countries of the UK has produced their own more detailed publication, containing more detailed country-specific analysis.

There are two key differences between the figures presented in this Scottish Government publication and those presented by HESA in their statistical first release and other publications (both of which are explained elsewhere in this Methodological Notes section):

  • Leavers from the Open University whose national centre is located in Scotland are counted as leavers from Scottish HEIs (see 6.2.3)
  • The results are weighted for non-response (see Labour Market statistics

Local Area Labour Markets statistics are published for Scotland from the Annual Population Survey: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/05/4201

Figures are provided for graduate employment rates in Scotland and analysis focuses on those aged 25-64 who have a 'degree-level qualification or higher'. As this is a population survey, figures are not limited to the latest cohort of leavers from higher education. Therefore, figures from the Labour Market statistics for graduates and the current 'Early destinations' publication are not comparable.

6.4. Definitions

6.4.1 International Students

'Other European Union' (Other EU) figures include accession countries according to EU membership at the start of each academic year. In 2012-13 EU member countries included; Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

6.4.2 Level of Study

Postgraduate level qualifications include; doctorate, masters, postgraduate bachelor's degrees, postgraduate diplomas or certificates, PGCE/PGDE and professional qualification at postgraduate level. From 2007-08 professional graduate certificates in education were reported as undergraduate qualifications and separately from postgraduate certificates in education, in years prior to this both were reported as postgraduate certificates in education.

First Degree qualifications include; first degrees, first degrees with qualified teacher status, enhanced first degrees, first degrees obtained concurrently with a diploma and intercalated first degrees.

Other Undergraduate qualifications include; Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE), Certificate of Higher Education (CertHE), professional qualification at undergraduate level, foundation courses at HE level, HND, HNC, NVQ/SVQ levels 5 and 4, diplomas and certificates at undergraduate level and other formal HE qualifications of less than degree standard.

6.4.3 Subject data

Subject data from higher education institutions is apportioned to broadly reflect the weight of a particular subject within the study programmes of individual students. This process is consistent with the treatment of subject breakdowns by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Supplementary subject figures are included in the main subject groupings. They are also reported separately for clarity. Economics and politics are included in social studies, English is included in languages, geography is included in social studies and psychology is included in biological sciences.

The Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) of subject classification has been used as the basis for HESA data collection and this publication. Further information on JACS is available on the HESA website: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=158&Itemid=233

6.4.4 Occupation data

The Standard Occupation Classification 2010 (SOC 2010) has been used to categorise and report on the occupations of leavers since 2011-12, replacing SOC 2000 which was used in previous years. Further information on SOC 2010 is available on the ONS website: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/soc2010/index.html

6.4.5 Employment industry data

The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) has been used to categorise and report on the employment industry of leavers in 2012-13. Further information on SIC is available on the ONS website: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/classifications/current-standard-classifications/standard-industrial-classification/index.html


Email: Lisa Bell

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