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Latest graduate labour market statistics published

26 Apr 2019 | Advance HE The Department for Education (DfE) has published the graduate labour market statistics (GLMS) for 2018. The devolved nature of HE policy means that these statistics only include individuals domiciled in England.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published the graduate labour market statistics (GLMS) for 2018. The devolved nature of HE policy means that these statistics only include individuals domiciled in England.

The statistics are derived from the Labour Market Survey (LFS), a survey of households living at private address in the United Kingdom. It purpose is to help ‘develop, manage, evaluate and report on labour market policies” (DfE, GLMS, Methodology Note, para.26).



As survey data the GLMS data represents estimates, and differences in the data values may not be statistically significant.

Data is available for three groups segmented by highest qualification:

  • Graduate – individuals whose highest qualification is at the Bachelor’s level
  • Postgraduate – individuals with a Master’s degree or Ph.D., and those with a Postgraduate Certificate in Education or similar post graduate qualification
  • Non-graduate – includes those with Foundation degrees, Apprenticeships, A-levels and individuals with lower or no qualifications.

The data is also segmented by age:

  • Working age – those aged between the ages of 16 and 64
  • Young population – those aged between the ages of 21 and 30

 As well as data being available for 2018; time series data from 2007 is published.

A summary of the GLMS for 2018, allows comparison of both changes since the previous report in 2017, and trends from 2008 to be made. The later shows the impact of the 2008 financial crisis and the subsequent recovery in employment.

For the working age population, the data for 2018 shows similar levels of employment for graduate and postgraduates at above 87%; well above the level for non-graduates of under 72%.

By type of employment, a higher proportion of postgraduates (76.5%) were employed in higher skilled employment, compared to graduates (65.4%). The same statistic for non-graduates was 22.9%. In each case higher skilled employment is defined by the Standard Occupation Classification (SOC), codes 1-3 (i.e. Managers, Directors and senior officials; professional occupations and associate professional and technical occupations).

Differences in the levels and median salary growth rates between the three qualification groups are shown. The gap between those with a HE qualification and non-graduates widens between the two age groups suggesting the salary of postgraduates and graduates typically continue to grow beyond the age of 30. In comparison the median salaries of non-graduates only increased modestly between the two age groups (£21,000 to £24,000). I.e. for many non-graduates the prospect of salary increases beyond the age of 30 is likely to be limited. Note for the GLMS salaries are rounded to the nearest £500.

The DfE has also publishes supporting data on GLMS, based on a range of characteristics. The characteristics includes employment and salary data for three subject categories:

STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics

LEM - law, economics and management

OSSAH - other social sciences, arts and humanities

For the three subject categories employment rates for both age groups (Table 1) are very similar, and above the rates recorded for non-graduates.

Table 1. Rates of employment (% of total)
Age group 21-30 21-64
STEM 88.9%  89.5%
LEM 86.8%  88.4%
OSSAH 87.4%  86.2%
All graduates 87.8%  87.7%
Non-graduates       71.6%  73.9% 


Differences in median salaries between the different subject categories are relatively small for the 21-30 age group, but increase for the 21-64 age group. Interestingly, the median salaries shown for LEM graduates are the highest of the three subject categories for the 21-30 age group and at the same level as for STEM graduates for the 21-64 age group.

Table 2. Median salaries (£) - graduates
Age group 21-30      21-64     Change  
STEM £26,500 £36,000  +£9,500
LEM £28,000 £36,000  +£8,000
OSSAH £24,000 £29,000  +£5,000
ALL graduates £25,500 £34,000  +£8,500
Non-graduates  £21,000 £25,500  +£4,500


In addition, to the data reproduced above, further data is available by the following characteristics:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Degree class
  • Government office region

As increased attention by policy makers is focused on employment outcomes, governing bodies and governors should ensure they regularly review and discuss the likely outcomes for their graduates and postgraduates.

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