Graduates in all regions of the country earn on average around 20% more than their peers who did not go to university, figures published for the first time have revealed today (18 July).
The Department for Education has published data showing graduate earnings and employment outcomes by region, as part of a drive to make more information available to help prospective students make their choices.
The data show that graduates earn a median annual salary of £19,900 one year after graduating, £23,300 after three years, £26,000 after five, and £30,500 after ten years.
On average, by their mid-20s, graduates earn around 20% more than their peers living in the same region who achieved five A*-Cs at GCSE but did not go on to complete a degree-level qualification. The highest difference was for graduates in the South West, who earned 22.2% more than non-graduates, followed by the West Midlands with a 21.1% difference.
It also shows that just under half (49.6%) of students in the 2010/11 graduating cohort chose to study in their home region and of those who studied in a different region, nearly two-thirds (62.4%) were working in their home region five years after graduating.
Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said:
I am delighted to see graduates across the country are reaping the rewards of going to university through sustained employment and higher salaries, which in turn benefits their local economies.
Discussions about graduate outcomes and earnings should not simply focus on the major cities, so I hope this data will play a key role in highlighting the benefits and the potential that higher education can bring to graduates and regions in the whole country.
Of course, university is not just about earnings potential – it can produce wider cultural and social benefits. We know that higher education can play an important part in driving social mobility, so this will help our understanding of how university can benefit graduates in a way that is relevant to the region.
The aim of our social mobility programmes is to ensure that everyone, no matter their background, has the opportunity to reach their full potential through every stage – from the early years through to higher education.
The publication shows the full cycle of data – showing the region graduates were from, where they studied and where they work after graduation. It is part of the Department’s drive to improve transparency around higher education, ensuring that information about likely earnings, employability and teaching quality is easy to access for everyone going to university.
The Government is also investing in all parts of the UK, from the heart of England through the Midlands Engine to our Northern Powerhouse, to secure the Government’s vision for a country that works for everyone.
The OfS was set up to champion the interests of students and support graduate outcomes, and the Government introduced legislative reforms to improve access and successful participation for disadvantaged groups in higher education. Higher education institutions are currently submitting their plans for improving access and participation to the OfS to implement in 2020-21.