Graduate survey shows Russell Group students are more likely to go on to work or further study

17 July 2008

Responding to statistics which show that more than 19 out of 20 students who have attended Russell Group universities go on to work or further study soon after graduation, the Director General of the Russell Group, Dr Wendy Piatt said:

“These statistics provide further evidence of the success and employability of Russell Group graduates.

“The combination of teaching and research excellence in our universities creates the ideal learning environment for students, helping them develop crucial skills which make them more employable. Now more than ever, employers want graduates who are entrepreneurial, good at problem-solving, able to handle uncertainty, and who can work both independently and within a team. It is because Russell Group universities can deliver these essential skills that their graduates are held in such high esteem by employers in the UK and internationally.

“Graduates earn 20-25% more on average than people who did not go to university. This represents approximately £160,000 in today's terms. Research has shown this figure is quite a bit higher for people who went to a Russell Group university, with a further salary ‘top-up’ of around 10% and £3000 per year more for entry-level graduate jobs.

“Our universities provide students with opportunities to engage in research processes; a connection to leading thinkers and world-class experts in their fields; access to first rate libraries and facilities, as well a highly motivated and talented peer group. We are constantly assessing how we can improve the student’s learning experience because our priority in a fast-changing world is to ensure they receive a first-class education which stands them in good stead for the world of work, or future study.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows that in 2006/07 on average 95.2% of first degree students from Russell Group universities had entered employment or further study within a year of graduating. This is 3.3% higher than the rest of the sector (not including Russell Group institutions) and a 0.4% increase on the Russell Group’s figures for 2005/06.
  2. There is a strong link between research excellence and teaching excellence. Evidence suggests that students in subject areas with the highest Research Assessment scores are more positive about their learning experience than were students in subject areas with lower scores. (Analysis of the NSS by Paula Surridge, University of Bristol, published by HEFCE- Nearly 80% of staff in leading grade 5* departments are employed in Russell Group Universities.
  3. Five Russell Group institutions featured in the top 10 in the THES QS World University Rankings Employer Review (2007), while 70% of Russell Group institutions featured in the top 50.
  4. A number of studies have highlighted the graduate wage premium and an additional Russell Group premium:
  • The Universities UK 2007 Research Report: The economic benefits of a degree showed that the graduate premium found that, “over a working life, a representative individual with an undergraduate qualification will earn between 20% and 25% more than his or her equivalent holding two or more A-levels” and that the gross additional lifetime earnings was £160,000.
  • Research undertaken by the Centre for Economics of Education has identified an average wage premium of nearly 10% (9.4%) for a graduate from a Russell Group university compared to a graduate from a modern university. This statistic comes from an OLS linear estimation technique, which controls for individual characteristics including A-level scores, parental background, the school the individual attended among other factors affecting wages. “Does it pay to attend a prestigious university?” Arnaud Chevalier and Gavan Conlon, March 2003, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE (table 5 for the 1995 cohort, page 29).
  • HESA statistics for 2005/06 show that starting salaries for Russell Group graduates were on average £3,000 higher than graduates from other universities.

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