The Small Business, Employment and Enterprise Act 2015 enabled the UK government, for the first time, to link higher education and tax data together to chart the transition of graduates from higher education into the workplace. The Department for Education ( DfE) commissioned the Department for Work and Pensions ( DWP) to link Higher Education Statistics Agency ( HESA) records for the whole of the UK to the tax and benefits records.
This Experimental Statistics release presents employment and earnings outcomes for leavers of higher education five years after graduation. This publication is the second release in Scotland, to use the Longitudinal Education Outcomes ( LEO) dataset to track higher education graduates as they move from higher education into the workplace.
Further information on graduate destinations and earnings is available in the HESA publication, 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education ( DLHE)' which covers the period 6 months after graduation and is published annually and the biennial 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal' publication which covers the period 3 years after graduation.
This publication looks at those who graduated with a first degree qualification from higher education institutions ( HEIs) in Great Britain, concentrating on those classified as UK domiciled prior to entry to higher education. Figures are presented for all first degree graduates and have not been split by full-time or part-time modes of study. On average, matching of over 95 per cent of each graduate cohort to tax and/or benefit data has been achieved.
The employment data covers those with records submitted through the Pay As You Earn ( PAYE) system. The core purpose of PAYE is to collect tax and its coverage reflects this. Up until April 2013, employers were not required to supply information to HMRC for individuals who earned below the Lower Earnings Limit ( LEL) for National Insurance contributions, although for large employers these individuals were thought to be included due to the methods of data transfer. Since then, employers have been required to provide earnings information for all employees if even one employee of the company is paid above the LEL threshold.
The PAYE system does not collect information on the number of hours worked; therefore, whether an individual is working full-time or part-time cannot be ascertained.
All figures are based on UK tax, benefit and student records only: activity of those who move abroad to work or study after graduating is not reflected in the employment or further study figures. Instead, these individuals are categorised as 'activity not captured'.
Figures for Scotland which also include earnings reported by those in self-employment are available from the DfE publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-higher-education-graduate-employment-and-earnings.
Years after graduation
The time periods  used in this publication are five years after graduation. This refers five full tax years after graduation. So, for the 2009-10 graduation cohort the figures five years after graduation refer to employment/earnings outcomes in the 2015/16 tax year. This is displayed graphically in figure 1 below.
Figures for the 2008/09 graduation cohort which were published in last year's publication have been revised. The reasons for the revisions are outlined in chapter 5 of the 'methodology document' accompanying the DfE release in March https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/graduate-outcomes-2015-to-2016. Revised figures for the 2008-09 graduation cohort (referring to outcomes in the 2014/15 tax year) are available in Annex A.
Comparisons between the earnings of the 2008/09 and 2009/10 graduation cohorts by Scottish Higher Education Institution and subject should be treated with caution because of the small cohort numbers.
Figure 1: Relationship between academic year, tax year, and definitions of 'years after graduation' used in this publication
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