Why is it important that you participate in the Graduate Outcomes survey, now more than ever?

18 November 2020

You graduated just over a year ago (congratulations), and you’ve now been contacted to complete the Graduate Outcomes survey. You may be asking yourself why you should make the time to participate now, in the middle of a pandemic?

I’d like to put it to you that your response is more important now than ever. We are living in unprecedented times and the Graduate Outcomes survey can help us to better understand and measure, to some extent, the impact of this pandemic on lives and livelihoods.

It is only when we measure the impact, that the government, higher education providers and other users of the data can begin to take proportionate steps to address it in the future.

Uses for the information collected in the Graduate Outcomes survey

Improving careers support in higher education

For instance, knowing how many graduates are unemployed and looking for work could help your university or college to mobilise enhanced efforts in providing much needed career advice to those who would benefit. They could also benefit from understanding trends among new graduates who may opt to defer employment in favour of further study.

Influencing government funding decisions

Knowing which sectors are struggling to retain graduate employees could enable the government to identify key pressure points in the labour market and to take action to help. Policy makers could benefit from gauging the appetite for startups, helping to shape future support for new entrepreneurs.

Supporting employer understanding

A clearer understanding of graduate outcomes may enable prospective employers to tap into a pool of highly educated, skillful and industry-ready graduates. It may encourage alliance and innovation, perhaps in the form of graduate employment schemes and apprenticeships, or through supported progression and learning opportunities for those already in employment.

Asking graduates how they feel

There is no doubt that the impact of this global crisis will be felt for at least a few years to come. Individuals and organisations will have to adapt and respond to changing requirements and be prepared to do so well in advance. Having robust evidence to base these decisions on is crucial in ensuring they have the desired effect.

We know this pandemic is writing history. You and I are very much part of this history. It is not only important to record what are we doing in our lives at present, but also how we feel about the situation we are in and what impact it has on us.

The survey asks how meaningful you feel your current activity is and how it fits with your plans for the future. Alongside this, the survey also asks how happy or anxious you are feeling. The purpose of these wellbeing questions is not to judge you or classify you under a certain category, and they are not new to the survey. The answers you give provide a means to understand how the wellbeing of recent graduates compares with the rest of the population, how wellbeing relates to other factors (such as type of employment contract or skills usage at work), and how it changes over time (the latter is measured nationally under personal wellbeing by the Office for National Statistics).

I hope this would encourage you to take part in the Graduate Outcomes survey when the invitation drops into your inbox, or to revisit the link you already have. If you are still not convinced that it’s worth completing the survey, then I would urge you to at least explore it before you make up your mind.

To find out more about the Graduate Outcomes survey, please explore the rest of the site.

Neha Agarwal
Head of Research and Insight, HESA

HESA, part of Jisc