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A bit more evidence on the link between graduate employment and the socio-economic mix of institutions’ intake

August 21, 2015

Further to this earlier post, a bit more evidence on the link between intake and employment prospects.

This author does not have direct access to institution-level figures on graduate employment. However they were used back in May by the Guardian to compile its annual UK university league tablediscussed in this earlier post.

Setting the HESA data on intake from NS-SEC 4-7 against this shows a pretty clear pattern within Scotland, with graduate employment improving as the percentage from more advantaged socio-economic groups rises.  There are trend-buckers – most obviously Robert Gordon, perhaps reflecting the range of courses and business partnerships there.    But once RGU is excluded, the top five universities for graduate employment prospects are also the five with the highest intakes from the most advantaged backgrounds.  The same pattern holds at the bottom of the table.  If there’s a correlation between the social advantage of the intake and employment prospects within Scotland, it seems a reasonable thesis that the same is true between parts of the UK.

This table below sorts institutions in order of “career after 6 months” and sets this against the percentage of young entrants in the relevant year not from NS-SEC 4-7, derived by taking the HESA data for NS-SEC 4-7 and subtracting that from 100%.

Institution Career after 6 months: UK ranking in Guardian league table 2015 % f/t young entrants 2010 NOT from NS-SEC 4-7 2010
Robert Gordon 81.8 64.9
Glasgow 79.8 80.9
St Andrews 78.5 85
Edinburgh 78.2 82.9
Strathclyde 77.5 72.8
Aberdeen 75.0 75.3
Heriot-Watt 72.7 69.8
Dundee 71.2 72.1
Stirling 70.2 71.7
Glasgow Caledonian 67.1 66.1
Queen Margaret 63.7 70
Abertay Dundee 61.7 64.2
Edinburgh Napier 61.3 70.3
West of Scotland 58.4 62.8





The Guardian explains its employment measure like this:

h. Career prospects

The employability of graduates is assessed by looking at the proportion of graduates who find graduate-level employment, and/or study at an HE or professional level, within six months of graduation. Graduates who report that they are unable to work are excluded from the study population, which must have at least 25 respondents in order to generate results.


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