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Outcomes for UK-educated Chinese and Hong Kong students

December 2018

Around four fifths of Chinese graduates return to China to find employment, and in 2016 one in ten found a graduate role in the UK

This UK higher education institution-wide research compares the employability outcomes of UK-educated Chinese and Hong Kong students who graduated in 2015 and 2016, using HESA's Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) data.

28 UK higher education institutions kindly shared their anonymised data to provide two years of trend analysis into the graduate outcomes of 8,000 Chinese and Hong Kong domiciled students studying in the UK.

Key findings

  • The research findings are very consistent across the two years of destination data gathered.
  • 82% of Chinese undergraduates go on to further study after their undergraduate degree.
  • 62% of Chinese postgraduate taught Masters students go on to employment, with 12-15% going on to further study.
  • Figures for Chinese male and female students are almost identical throughout the report - 81% of female and 82% of males go on to further study after their undergraduate degree.
  • Across the two years, 79% (2015 data) and 81% (2016 data) of Chinese graduates returned to China on graduation.
  • In 2015, 8% of Chinese students were in a graduate role in the UK, and in 2016 this figure increased to 10%.
  • In 2016, the top industries that graduates went to work in were financial and insurance, scientific and technical, and education. These top three were the same in 2015 and were very similar for both males and females.
Type of qualification,student sample size
Undergraduate,29
Postgraduate taught,67
Postgraduate research,4
Type of qualification,student sample size
Undergraduate,41
Postgraduate taught,56
Postgraduate research,3
Activity,Undergraduate,Postgraduate taught,Postgraduate research
Working,12,62,81
Further study,82,12,11
Work and study,2,3,*
Other,3,11,*
Unemployed,2,13,*

* For data protection purposes the figures for PG research graduates who were working and studying, unemployed, and doing other activities have been suppressed.

Activity,Undergraduate,Postgraduate taught,Postgraduate research
Working,12,62,75
Further study,81,15,
Work and study,1,1,
Other,4,14,
Unemployed,2,8,11

* For data protection purposes the figures for PG research graduates who were in further study, working and studying, and doing other activities have been suppressed.

Activity,Female,Male
Working,11,12
Further study,81,82
Work and study,,
Other,3,3
Unemployed,,

* For data protection purposes the figures for those who were working and studying, and unemployed have been suppressed.

Activity,Female,Male
Working,45,38
Further study,46,51
Work and study,,
Other,,
Unemployed,,

* For data protection purposes the figures for those who were working and studying, unemployed, and doing other activities have been suppressed.

Activity,Female,Male
Working,60,64
Further study,10,15
Work and study,3,3
Other,12,8
Unemployed,14,10
Activity,Female,Male
Working,73,76
Further study,,
Work and study,,
Other,,
Unemployed,,

* For data protection purposes the figures for those who were in further study, working and studying, unemployed, and doing other activities have been suppressed.

Country of employment,Percentage of graduates
China,83
United Kingdom,10
Hong Kong ,1
Other,2
Unknown,4
Country of employment,Percentage of graduates
China,79
United Kingdom,8
Hong Kong ,2
Other,2
Unknown,8

Next steps

As an extension to this research, we would like to collect anonymised 2017 DLHE data to provide a continuing evidence-based picture for the HE sector of the outcomes for Chinese and Hong Kong students after studying in the UK.

We would also like to:

  • expand this research to include other nationalities, including India, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand
  • include deeper analysis, for example, the subject studied and details about graduate occupation within a sector.

To find out more about the research findings and to be involved in the 2017/18 data collection, please contact esther.de-perlaky@warwick.ac.uk

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