Scottish graduates' performance 3 years after university 'stronger' that rest of the UK, according to HESA data

Universities Scotland deputy director says graduate employability and entrepreneurship continues to be 'a strong priority' for Scotland

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The Independent Online

Graduates from Scottish universities have the lowest level of unemployment three years after completing their studies than any other domiciled graduates in the UK, according to recent data.

A survey from the Higher Education Statistics Agency’s (HESA) – which looked to see how graduates from 2010/11 are doing three and a half years post-graduation – showed the country had the lowest levels of assumed unemployment from all UK domiciled graduates at 1.9 per cent, compared with England (2.6 per cent), Wales (2.7 per cent), Northern Ireland (2.5 per cent), and the UK average of 2.6 per cent.

The statistics added how UK domiciled graduates from Scottish universities have the highest average salaries in the UK at £27,000 – which is £1,000 more than England, and £3,000 more than in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Not only this, Scottish university graduates also saw the largest growth in average salary between what they earned six months post-graduation, compared with their earnings three and a half years after, which saw the figure up by £6,000. The average salary growth in England was £4,000, and Wales and Northern Ireland’s sat at £3,000.

Final figures showed how 90.3 per cent of UK domiciled graduates employed in Scotland six months after studying were still working there three and a half years later which has been hailed by Universities Scotland as a strong contribution towards the country’s economy.

This level of retention of graduate talent is the highest in the UK which Universities Scotland said reflects well on the Scottish economy, showing how graduates are in sustained employment.

Universities Scotland – which represents the country’s higher education institutions – welcomed the news for showing how Scottish graduates are making a strong contribution to the country’s economy.

The organisation’s deputy director, David Lott, explained how it was pleasing to see Scotland as a leader in terms of retention of graduates in the economy, and said: “Particularly as the direction of travel in Europe is growth in the number of jobs requiring high-level graduate skills.”

He added: “At the beginning of the summer, we learned that graduates from Scottish universities have the best record of securing professional level jobs in the UK and continue to have the best levels of positive destinations in the UK.

“Scotland’s universities are proud of their strong record of graduate employability and entrepreneurship and this continues to be a strong priority.”

Describing how the figures were a further boost of confidence for all those students who accepted a Scottish university place this summer, Mr Lott extended his well-wishes to those beginning at and returning to university later this month.

The latest HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey 2010/11 can be found here. Relevant data is contained in Table 2, Table 11a, and Chart 10.