Graduate destinations


Data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Provision: Analysis of higher education courses previously undertaken by people in particular jobs, data from HESA destination of leavers survey

Update: annual (please note recent changes in the data means there is a delay in providing new data)

Questions you can ask of the data:

  • What occupations did people gain after a particular higher education course?
  • What level of higher education course was undertaken by those employed in a particular occupation?

Description of the dataset and provenance

One of the key objectives of LMI for All is to provide information on entry routes for specific occupations. The HESA Destination of Leavers survey (DLHE) data offers potentially
valuable insights into the higher education subjects previously studied by entrants into particular occupations, addressing the key question: “what subjects do people study prior to
taking up a specific job?” The data show destination of Full-time UK and EU domiciled leavers in paid employment only from Higher education institutions.

Details of the data provided

  • Leavers from Higher Education Institutions classified by:
  • Standard Occupational Classification (SOC 2010) of employment at 4-digit level;
  • Level of qualification studied(Doctorate, Masters, Other Postgraduate, First degree Other undergraduate);
  • Whether qualification required for job;
  • Principal subject of study (classified by 2-digit principal subject of study, JACS);

The population of leavers is restricted using the following criteria:

  • Leavers in paid employment only;
  • Leavers who had pursued a full-time course only;
  • UK and European domiciled students working in UK at time of survey.

Details of the owner / curator

The data are provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Known quality issues with data

A key limitation of the DLHE data is that it only provides information about the initial destinations (six months after completion) of higher education leavers rather than their employment activity in the medium to longer term.

Some occupations have a much stronger association with a specific course subject than others. For example, all doctors will have qualified in a relevant medical subject whereas corporate managers will have pursued a wider variety of subjects, with no single one dominating. The intention for LMI for All is simply to provide information on these patterns rather than presenting definite conclusions about formal entry requirements.

In those cases in which the profile of prior study is highly fragmented a minimum threshold will be applied (e.g. a subject area is only presented if they accounts for a minimum of 10 per cent of respondents in the SOC category).

Quality control processes

Currently, the HESA data are currently restricted and access is only available using an API key. Please note the permitted usage and rules on the publication and reproduction of the
data below.

Permitted Purposes

Data may only be used to generate aggregate statistics for an on-line data portal ‘LMI for All’,  which will allow third parties to obtain information on entry routes for specific occupations via the API.

Publication/Reproduction of the Data

Any reproduction or publishing of Data, subject to the above Permitted Purposes, must adhere to the HESA Services Standard Rounding Methodology. All statistics published should be at a level of anonymisation and aggregation, which will ensure that no Personal Data or Sensitive Personal Data are published, and thereby ensure the confidentiality of individuals.

HESA Services Standard Rounding Methodology:

  • 0, 1, 2 must be rounded to 0;
  • All other numbers must be rounded to the nearest multiple of 5;
  • Percentages based on 52 or fewer individuals must be suppressed;
  • Averages based on 7 or fewer individuals must be suppressed;
  • Full-Time Equivalent data does not require rounding.

Accuracy of data

Occupation is classified to 4-digit SOC 2010 Unit group. Some unit groups are poorly populated in terms of high education leavers, such as routine manual occupations, because they are not typical graduate destinations. For SOC unit groups for which there are fewer than 50 responses in the DLHE the API should deliver analysis relating to the parent 3-digit category. In those instances in which the number of responses remains below 50 we would then move up to the 2-digit category.

Frequency of update

Does the data underlying the API change over time?

The HESA Destination of Leavers survey is conducted annually. The data could in principle be updated at this frequency annually.

Will the data go out of date?

Yes, but data may be updated when new data are available.

Does the data you capture change on at least a daily basis?

No – see above.

What type of dataset series is this?

Time series data from a national survey of students conducted by HESA.

Is a feed of changes made available?

No, see above.

How frequently do you create a new release?

Annually, when data are available.

What is the delay between creating a dataset and publishing it?

Once the data have been processed they can be uploaded to the LMI for All database.

Do you also provide dumps of the dataset?


Will the data be corrected if they contain errors?


Disclosure and confidentiality

The Department for Education complies with all applicable Data Protection laws in the UK.

Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited (HESA).