Graduate Outcomes & Socio-Economic Status: Main Graduate Destination

This chapter explores the main destination of graduates according to socio-economic status.  Data is broken down into undergraduates and postgraduates; and by field of study (subject choice).

Overall, 67% of graduates were in full-time employment nine months after graduation with a further 6% in part-time employment. Little variation between DIS groups in terms of employment levels is observed. At 17%, affluent graduates have the highest proportion pursuing further studies, compared to 15% across all DIS groups and just 13% for disadvantaged graduates. Disadvantaged graduates report the largest share of unemployed graduates (9%), while affluent graduates report the lowest share (6%).

At a postgraduate level, modest differences across DIS groups are observed. For example, affluent postgraduate graduates are more likely to be in full-time employment, while disadvantaged graduates are more likely to be in part-time employment or unemployment. These differences are larger for males than females. However, these differences remain small.

At an undergraduate level, differences in graduate destinations across DIS groups are more pronounced. For example, disadvantaged graduates have a higher proportion of graduates in full-time employment (64%) than those from affluent backgrounds (57%). In contrast, affluent graduates are more likely to be pursuing further study (23%) than disadvantaged graduates (15%).

Overall, 6% of undergraduate affluent graduates are unemployed nine months after graduation. This is compared to 9% of disadvantaged graduates. Affluent graduates are more likely to be pursuing full-time further study nine months after graduation (23%) than disadvantaged graduates (15%). This represents an 8-percentage point difference.

As noted in the Socio-Economic Profiles 2020/21, the most common field of study for Undergraduates is Business, Administration & Law.  Amongst undergraduates who graduate from Business, Administration & Law courses, 23% of affluent graduates are pursuing full-time further study, compared to only 14% of disadvantaged graduates. While only 3% of affluent graduates are unemployed, 10% of disadvantaged graduates are unemployed.

Large differences exist in Education. While 7% of affluent graduates are working part-time, 15% of disadvantaged graduates are working part-time nine months after graduation.

Similarly, in Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction, while 17% of affluent graduates are pursuing full-time further study nine months after graduation, only 7% of disadvantaged graduates are pursuing full-time further study. Disadvantaged graduates are more likely to be in employment.

In ICTs, one in five disadvantaged graduates are unemployed nine months after graduation, compared to one in 10 affluent graduates.

In Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics, more than one in three affluent graduates are pursuing full-time further study, compared to 22% of disadvantaged graduates. It is noteworthy that in the latest Graduate Outcomes – Class of 2020 national report, Natural Sciences, Mathematics & Statistics undergraduates saw the highest proportion of graduates pursuing PhDs (19.6% of undergraduates compared to 5.2% average). Furthermore, in the latest Socio-Economic Profiles 2020/21, it is evident that only 6% of PhD graduates come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

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