More graduates in Scotland are reaching positive destinations

New figures released from the Graduate Outcomes Report for 2020/21 indicate that Scotland’s graduates are entering into more positive destinations than in previous years. According to the report published by HESA on 31 May, 92% of respondents had reached a positive destination within 15 months of graduation, which includes employment, further study, a mix of employment and study, unpaid work, or volunteering. This is higher than graduates from the rest of the UK, which has a 89% rate of positive destinations. This year’s figure for Scotland is an increase of 2% on the last data set in Scotland.

This data outlines many successful outcomes for Scottish graduates including:

  • 64% of Scottish-domiciled graduates were in full time employment, an increase of 4% on the 2019/20 data.
  • Around 10% of graduates are in further study and 10% are in part-time employment.
  • 85% of undergraduate Scottish-domiciled graduates felt that current activity is meaningful.
  • Unemployment has decreased among graduates with only 5% unemployed 15 months after graduating compared to 6% in the last data set.

This data set relates to those who graduated in 2020, in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a time of considerable instability in the jobs market. Such a strong set of graduate outcomes in the midst of this context highlights there is a strong employer demand for the skills and attributes that graduates have acquired and points to high levels of graduate resilience.

Commenting on the data, Director of Universities Scotland Alastair Sim has said:

“It is heartening to see an increasing number of Scottish-domiciled graduates successfully using their talents 15 months after their studies. This cohort were met with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic as they entered the workforce but were resilient and able to achieve their ambitions. Each graduate has a positive impact on society and with so many in positive destinations, they each contribute to the ongoing economic recovery of Scotland.”



  • Find the full Graduate Outcomes data set on the HESA website.
  • The 2020/21 Graduate Outcomes cohort finished their qualifications in the second academic year affected by COVID-19.
  • HESA’s graduate outcomes data is a relatively new survey. These new statistics are not directly comparable with the results of the earlier Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.