Scotland’s universities offer their graduates the best rates of success in the UK

Data published today by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), an Official National Statistic, showed graduates from Scotland’s universities have the highest rate of positive destinations in the UK, the highest starting salaries in the UK and the highest level of professional employment in the UK.

Although this year’s data are not comparable with previous years because of a change to the data collection, this is the third consecutive year Scotland’s universities have led the rest of the UK across the range of graduate employability measures.

  • 90 per cent of graduates from Scotland’s universities were found to be in positive destinations of work, further study or a combination of the two within six months of graduation. This compares to a UK average of 86 per cent.
  • The average (mean) starting salary for graduates from Scotland’s universities was £22,000 in contrast to the UK average of £21,000.
  • Of those in employment, graduates from Scottish universities had the highest proportion working in professional occupations within six months of graduation at 69 per cent compared to a UK average of 64 per cent.

Responding to today’s excellent figures for Scotland’s universities and graduates, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:


“The figures published today show yet again that Scotland’s graduates are the best in the UK. Not only do they outperform the UK overall for rate of positive destinations, have the lowest unemployment rate and can command higher starting salaries, but in terms of professional employment, graduates from Scottish Universities rate higher than the rest of the UK by 5 percentage points which is something they should be immensely proud of.

“These results reflect the immense work and care that Scotland’s universities dedicate to employability in all their students.”


Employability is a key focus for Scotland’s universities. Every university in Scotland has embedded graduate employability within their strategic planning in contrast to institutions across the rest of the UK, where as many as a third do not have a strategy for graduate employability[1].

Earlier this year and as part of the sector’s commitment to the priority of youth employment, Universities Scotland published a report, Taking Pride in the Job[2], having spent a year consulting with employers and employer groups across Scotland. The report made a series of recommendations as to what more could be done to contribute to graduate employment.



  1. Taking Pride in the Job (2013) Universities Scotland, p44.
  2. The report can be found here.
  3. The full data set for graduate destinations can be found on the HESA website here.