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  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • Data sources and definitions
  • Trends in graduate characteristics
  • Employment attributes: full-time, first degree, UK-domiciled DLHE respondents
  • Classifications and their methods
  • Referencing the methods
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the methods
  • Occupation classifications summary
  • Employment characteristics
  • Further cohorts of interest
  • Annex A: SOC (DLHE) code-based occupation classification
  • Annex B: Unclassified awards
  • Annex C: Response rates
  • Annex D: Flow chart showing the method used for the SOC (DLHE) code-based occupation classification
  • Annex E: Occupational classification for SOC (DLHE) codes

Executive summary


1. Over recent years, there has been increasing interest in graduates' employment circumstances in the early months and years after they qualify from higher education courses. In this issues paper, we explore a series of quantitative approaches to characterising the employment circumstances of graduates with the aim of enhancing employment information.

Key points


2. This issues paper investigates seven approaches to measuring employment circumstances, to prompt discussion with researchers and the higher education sector. The strengths and weakness of each approach are also discussedsee note 1.

3. Four of the measures are based on the occupations and roles of UK-domiciled, full-time, first degree graduates. The remaining three measures focus on salaries of the employed graduates, to widen the scope of information on employment characteristics.

4. The document aims to stimulate further thinking both on technical and on policy issues generating from the use of these types of measures, and should not be viewed as definitive.

Employment characteristics of full-time first degree graduates

5. In addition to the development and explanation of the seven measures, the employment characteristics of the 2007-08 UK-domiciled, full-time first degree graduating cohort have been examined. The cohort has been studied by a number of individual, course and institutional attributes and is based on employment six months after graduating.

Action required

6. We are keen to hear from those interested in the technical and policy perspectives raised by this research. So we welcome the views of any individuals or groups who wish to comment on the advantages and disadvantages of the methods outlined in this paper. Feedback may be e-mailed to


  1. See paragraph 65.
Enquiries should be directed to:

Mark Gittoes, tel 0117 931 7052, e-mail or