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. Following this, Scottish Government were able to use this process to link Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) records to tax and benefits records for Scotland, allowing for assessment of earnings and outcomes for those in colleges and Modern Apprenticeships (MA).
This release presents employment and earnings outcomes five years after completion for those who completed an MA in Scotland. Figures are presented only for those who successfully completed an MA and have not been split by full time or part time modes of study. On average, matching of over 95 per cent of each completer cohort to tax and/or benefit data has been achieved. This high match rate is most likely due to SDS collecting data on National Insurance Number (NINO). NINO is also included in DWP's Customer Information System (CIS).
The employment data covers those with records submitted through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system and records submitted through the self-assessment 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 self-assessment data captures the activity of individuals with income that is not taxed through PAYE, such as income from self-employment.
The PAYE and self-assessment systems do not collect information on the number of hours worked; therefore, whether an individual is working full-time or part-time cannot be ascertained currently. There is ongoing work to explore the opportunity to link the LEO data to the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), which will allow for a subset of the LEO data to contain information on full-time and part-time work patterns. Self-assessed earnings are not published in isolation, rather they are included as part of a total earnings figure. See 'Total earnings' under Methodology for more information on this. 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'.
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