Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO) from Univerisities: 2016/17: Scotland

This Official Statistics release presents employment and earnings outcomes for graduates of higher education five years after graduation.

This document is part of a collection


Background methodology

Further detailed information is available in the Department for Education releases:


Higher Education Institutions

This publication covers graduates from Higher Education Institutions. The corresponding DfE publication (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-higher-education-graduate-employment-and-earnings) includes Higher Education delivered at English Further Education Colleges.

Suppression and rounding

In line with disclosure control rules, information based on fewer than 11 graduates has been supressed. This follows HESA’s suppression methodology.

All counts have been rounded to the nearest five, percentages to one decimal place and earnings to the nearest £100.

Data Quality

Users should be aware of some limitations around the data included in this publication;


The employment data covers those with records submitted through the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system and the Self-Assessed system. Neither systems collect information on the number of hours worked; therefore, whether an individual is working full-time or part-time cannot be ascertained. We are exploring 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.

Career Path:

Different subjects will lead to different career paths, with some careers requiring further learning and training after the completion of their first degree. This in turn may distort the median salaries one, three and five years after qualification.

Subject groupings and intake:

The subject groupings reported can cover a wide range of courses, some of which may yield higher median earnings than others. The selection of courses available at HEIs will vary as will the student intake to each course. As different courses can yield different median earnings, care should be taken when comparing subjects across different HEIs.

A new subject coding framework called HECoS will be implemented for the academic year starting in the autumn of 2019. This moves away from the previous coding framework JACS (used in our prior releases). Other organisations including HESA, DfE, and UCAS are moving to using the HECoS subject coding framework. As part of this transition, a Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH), which acts as a bridge between HECoS and JACS has been used. The DfE publication has also made this change.

The CAH has three versions. CAH2 (34 subject groupings) is used in this release. To ensure comparability throughout, we have used CAH2 in all of our tables that include subject.For this publication, we have published our subject groupings by CAH groupings.

More information on the HECoS and CAH can be found on HESA’s website: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/innovation/hecos

Open University:

HESA made changes in the way they record Open University graduates by country of national centre in academic year 2013/14. Since figures in this release date to before this year Open University graduates who registered at any of the four national centres are included in the ‘Open University in England’.


The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey tells us that first degree leavers from certain universities such as the University of St Andrews and the Universitiy of Edinburgh are more likely to obtain work in other parts of the UK, like London. We are exploring the opportunity to link the LEO data to the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), which will allow for a subset of the LEO data to contain information on region and sector of employment.


Prior attainment bands are not provided for Scottish Institutions. No prior attainment is recorded for Scotland as the National Pupil Database (NPD) only records those who completed A levels at an English school. Coverage at HEIs in Scotland would therefore be limited to graduates who completed their A-levels in England before pursuing higher education in Scotland. The NPD also only covers qualifications obtained since 2002, meaning the majority of mature students are not expected to have an A level record on the NPD. Therefore mature students are not included in prior attainment calculations.


HESA do not publish POLAR figures for Scotland, as Scotland’s relatively high participation rate and the high proportion of higher education students in further education colleges could misrepresent Scottish contributions to widening participation. Following that line of reasoning, this publication does not include POLAR figures for Scottish HEIs either. Time period

The time period for which employment and earnings data is reported in this publication is five years year after graduation. This refers to the full tax year five years after graduation. So, for the 2010/11 graduation cohort the figures five year after graduation refer to employment and earnings outcomes in the 2016/17 tax year.

Employment outcomes

Outcomes are presented for graduates that have been successfully matched to the Department for Work and Pensions’ Customer Information System (CIS) or if they have been matched to a further study instance on the HESA Student Record. In this publication these individuals are referred to as matched. Graduates that have not been matched to CIS or a further study record are referred to as unmatched.

Graduates that have been matched are then placed in one of five outcomes categories. These are:

Activity not captured: graduates that have been successfully matched to CIS but do not have any employment, out-of-work benefits or further study records in the tax year of interest. Reasons for appearing in this category include: moving out of the UK after graduation for either work or study, or voluntarily leaving the labour force.

No sustained destination: graduates with an employment or out-of-work benefits record in the tax year in question but were not classified as being in ‘sustained employment’ and do not have a further study record.

Sustained employment only: graduates are considered to be in sustained employment if they were employed for at least one day for five out of the six months between October and March of the tax year in question or if they had a self-employment record in that tax year.

Sustained employment with or without further study: includes all graduates with a record of sustained employment regardless of whether they also have a record of further study. A graduate is defined as being in further study if they have a valid higher education study record at any UK HEI on the HESA database in the relevant tax year. The further study does not have to be at postgraduate level to be counted.

Sustained employment, further study or both: includes all graduates with a record of sustained employment or further study. This category includes all graduates in the ‘sustained employment with or without further study’ category as well as those with a further study record only.

Annualised earnings

Earnings figures are only reported for those classified as being in sustained employment and where we have valid earnings record from the P14. Those in further study are excluded, as their earnings would be more likely to relate to part-time jobs. Earnings from self-assessment are not included.

For each graduate, the earnings reported for them on the HMRC P14 data for a given tax year are divided by the number of days recorded in employment across that same tax year. This provides an average daily wage that is then multiplied by the number of days in the tax year to calculate their annualised earnings.

This calculation has been used to maintain consistency with figures reported for further education learners after study. It provides students with an indication of the earnings they might receive once in stable and sustained employment.

The annualised earnings calculated are slightly higher than the raw earnings reported in the tax year. This is because the earnings of those who did not work for the entire tax year will be higher when annualised. The difference between the annualised and raw figures decreases as time elapses after graduation. Median annualised earnings one year after graduation are around £1,000 higher than the median raw earnings reported in the P14 data. Five years after graduation, the median annualised earnings are less than £500 higher than the median raw earnings.

All earnings presented are nominal. They represent the cash amount an individual was paid and are not adjusted for inflation (the general increase in the price of goods and services).

Total earnings

The total of annualised PAYE earnings and raw self-assessment earnings. If an individual has earnings only through PAYE or self-assessment, then their total earnings will be equal to their PAYE or self-assessment earnings.

Total earnings figures are only reported for those classified as being in sustained employment and where we have valid earnings record from the P14 or for those who have self-assessment earnings for that tax year.

These self-assessment earnings only includes profits from partnership enterprises and profit from sole-trader enterprises. As the self-assessment data does not include any information on the number of days worked for a tax year, the earnings cannot be annualised.

Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD)

The SIMD ranks small areas (data zones) in Scotland from most deprived to least deprived. The SIMD overall rank is calculated from the individual ranks of seven domains: Income, Employment, Health, Education/skills, Housing, Geographic access, and Crime. The quintiles represent 5 equal groups of the SIMD ranks, with quintile 1 representing the 20% most deprived areas, and quintile 5 representing the 20% least deprived areas.

We have used SIMD 2009 as this was the index available during the 2010/11 academic year, which aligns with the graduation cohort for this publication.

Further detailed information is available in the SIMD publication: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-index-multiple-deprivation-2016/

Disability status Disability status is collected by HESA in the student records. This data includes the type of disability a student has based on their own self-assessment. For this release, we have only included this data broken down into “No known disability” and “Disability”. Further detail is available at HESA’s website: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c16051/a/disable


Email: FHEstatistics@gov.scot

Back to top