What are graduate destinations?

The DLHE – Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education – survey records the employment destinations of graduates six months after they graduate. The data is used as one measure of an institution’s performance in relation to graduate employment, and many of the variables are used in the compilation of different league tables.

Regarding the collection of the information, a census is taken twice during each academic year:

  • Mid-April for those graduating the previous August to December
  • Mid-January for those graduating the previous January to July

This ensures that most graduates are surveyed roughly 6 months after leaving university.

Quick DLHE summary

  • A snapshot of activity on a certain date six months after graduation
  • A total census of all UK and EU graduates, not a sample survey (with required response rate targets for different graduate cohorts)
  • A statutory requirement in existence since the 1970s. The current format has been used since 2002.
  • More information on methodology and performance indicators can be found on the HESA website

Why are graduate destinations important?

The data collected on the employment destinations of graduates from the College are used as a measure of institutional and departmental performance. Data is currently used by various national newspapers to compile league tables on universities. The new Key Information Set (KIS) that universities will be required to publish at course level will also contain data on the employment destinations of graduates from specific courses as well as information on graduate salaries. Destinations data is also required by some research funding bodies and as part of programme reviews.

Data Protection

Data Protection laws mean that individuals should not be identified by name. This means that it is important not to reveal details about a particular job or company that might make it easy to deduce the identity of an individual graduate.

What sort of data is collected?

The current DLHE survey collects the information from respondents:

  • Employment circumstances (whether in work, study or something else on a given census date)
  • Employer details, including size and location
  • How the graduate found their job
  • Details of further study, training or research