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What do graduates do?

December 2020

Insight and analysis from the UK's largest higher education survey, including subject-by-subject data, commentary and analysis by AGCAS and an introduction by Prospects' head of higher education intelligence, Charlie Ball

Key findings

What do graduates do? 2020/21 reveals a graduate labour market in relatively good health at the time of survey. Of the 193,115 UK-domiciled first-degree graduates who responded to the survey:

  • The majority of graduates were in employment 15 months after graduating.
  • Only 5.5% were unemployed and looking for work.
  • 71.8% of employed graduates were in a professional-level job.
  • 66% went to work in their home region of the UK.
  • 12% of graduates were in further study.
  • The average salary for graduates who went straight into full-time employment in the UK was £24,217.

What's inside

The report includes insights from careers experts as well as detailed subject overviews revealing the destinations of graduates in:

It also includes an overview of the graduate labour market in 2020 by Prospects' head of higher education intelligence, Charlie Ball. Additional articles explore the subjective wellbeing questions, graduate outcomes by ethnicity, value for money - and much more.

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What do graduates do? 2020/21

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About the report

What do graduates do? 2020/21 was published in December 2020. It examines first-degree graduate destinations 15 months after graduation.

The data is from the Higher Education Statistics Agency's Graduate Outcomes 2017/18 survey and is produced by Jisc and AGCAS.


As a careers adviser and information specialist with 30 years' experience, I cannot rate What do graduates do? highly enough. It forms an essential part of my toolkit.

- Hilary Nickell, project manager at Career Companion.

With over 300,000 students graduating from a vast array of courses and institutions every year, the UK graduate market is complex. WDGD is a key resource to help employers build their student recruitment strategies.

- Stephen Isherwood, chief executive of the Institute of Student Employers (ISE).

What do graduates do? provides a concise and informative overview of UK graduate destinations by subject area and is an invaluable resource for supporting both learners thinking about progressing on to higher education as well as undergraduate students planning their next steps.

- Andrew Jones, deputy director and IAG specialist at Linking London.

What do graduates do? is an essential resource for higher education providers and employers. Heavily influencing aspects of our work, the publication not only informs best practice through the student pathway but also on attracting and supporting students from diverse background.

- Terry Manyeh, Educating ALL project lead.

Previous reports

Regional edition

This edition of What do graduates do? studies graduate destinations on a region-by-region basis, with data, analysis and commentary for every part of the UK.

Research and insights

If you're looking to acquire a deeper understanding of student and graduate experiences of employment and career planning, Prospects is here to help. Find out more about our bespoke research services.

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