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Graduate Employability: Policy and Performance in Higher Education in the UK


  • Smith, Jeremy
  • McKnight, Abigail
  • Naylor, Robin


The UK government is introducing new sets of indicators designed to measure the performance of universities. A first wave of indicators was published in December 1999. A performance indicator based on graduate employment outcomes will follow. This paper proposes a method for developing employment-related performance indicators based on the analysis of data on the first destinations of a full cohort of leavers from pre-1992 universities in the United Kingdom. We analyse the determinants of graduate first destinations and suggest a method for the construction of university performance indicators. We also discuss limitations of league tables based on university performance indicators.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail & Naylor, Robin, 2000. "Graduate Employability: Policy and Performance in Higher Education in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(464), pages 382-411, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:110:y:2000:i:464:p:f382-411

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lenton, Pamela, 2015. "Determining student satisfaction: An economic analysis of the National Student Survey," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 118-127.
    2. Di Pietro, Giorgio, 2010. "The Impact of Degree Class on the First Destinations of Graduates: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 4836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Mañé Vernet, Ferran, 2010. "El retorno a las competencias para los titulados universitarios catalanes," Working Papers 2072/179591, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    4. Johnes, Jill, 2006. "Data envelopment analysis and its application to the measurement of efficiency in higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 273-288, June.
    5. Massimiliano Bratti, 2005. "Social Class and Undergraduate Degree Subject in the UK," UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics unimi-1015, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
    6. Bratti, Massimiliano, 2002. "Does the choice of university matter?: a study of the differences across UK universities in life sciences students' degree performance," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 431-443, October.
    7. Arulampalam, Wiji & Naylor, Robin A. & Smith, Jeremy P., 2005. "Effects of in-class variation and student rank on the probability of withdrawal: cross-section and time-series analysis for UK university students," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 251-262, June.
    8. Koda, Yoshiko & Yuki, Takako, 2013. "The labor market outcomes of two forms of cross-border higher education degree programs between Malaysia and Japan," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 367-379.
    9. Fernando Alexandre & Miguel Portela & Carla Sá, 2008. "Admission conditions and graduates' employability," NIPE Working Papers 16/2008, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    10. Gabriele BALLARINO & Massimiliano BRATTI, 2006. "Fields of study and graduates’ occupational outcomes in Italy during the 90s. Who won and who lost?," Departmental Working Papers 2006-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    11. Giorgio Di Pietro, 2015. "Do Study Abroad Programs Enhance the Employability of Graduates?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 10(2), pages 223-243, March.
    12. repec:kap:jecinq:v:15:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10888-017-9350-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Massimiliano Bratti & Abigail McKnight & Robin Naylor & Jeremy Smith, 2004. "Higher education outcomes, graduate employment and university performance indicators," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 167(3), pages 475-496.
    14. Koda, Yoshiko & Yuki, Takako, 2012. "The Labor Market Outcomes of Two Forms of Cross-Border Higher Education Degree Programs between Malaysia and Japan," Working Papers 41, JICA Research Institute.
    15. Ireland, Norman & Naylor, Robin A. & Smith, Jeremy & Telhaj, Shqiponja, 2009. "Educational returns, ability composition and cohort effects: theory and evidence for cohorts of early-career UK graduates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28608, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. Naylor, Robin & Smith, Jeremy & McKnight, Abigail, 2002. "Sheer Class? The Impact Of Degree Performance On Graduate Labour Market Outcomes," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 659, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    17. Monaco, Luisa, 2011. "Measuring Italian university efficiency: a non-parametric approach," MPRA Paper 37949, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Feb 2012.
    18. Daša Farcnik & Polona Domadenik, 2012. "Has the Bologna reform enhanced the employability of graduates? Early evidence from Slovenia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 33(1), pages 51-75, March.
    19. Sergio Firpo & Sandro Carvalho & Renan Pieri, 2016. "Using occupational structure to measure employability with an application to the Brazilian labor market," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 14(1), pages 1-19, March.
    20. Massimiliano BRATTI & Robin NAYLOR & Jeremy SMITH, 2008. "Heterogeneities in the returns to degrees: evidence from the British cohort study 1970," Departmental Working Papers 2008-40, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
    21. Kuhn, Michael & Siciliani, Luigi, 2007. "Performance Indicators for Quality with Adverse Selection, Gaming and Inequality Aversion," CEPR Discussion Papers 6261, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Livanos, Ilias, 2009. "The Relationship Between Higher Education and Labour Market in Greece: the Weakest Link?," MPRA Paper 16239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Pietro Giorgio Lovaglio & Gianmarco Vacca & Stefano Verzillo, 2016. "Human capital estimation in higher education," Advances in Data Analysis and Classification, Springer;German Classification Society - Gesellschaft für Klassifikation (GfKl);Japanese Classification Society (JCS);Classification and Data Analysis Group of the Italian Statistical Society (CLADAG);International Federation of Classification Societies (IFCS), vol. 10(4), pages 465-489, December.
    24. Johnes, Jill, 2006. "Measuring teaching efficiency in higher education: An application of data envelopment analysis to economics graduates from UK Universities 1993," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 174(1), pages 443-456, October.

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