Why should I complete the Graduate Outcomes Survey during a pandemic?

Written by Jenny Sloan, Careers Consultant for Graduate Transitions at The Careers Service

The Graduate Outcomes survey is the biggest annual social survey in the UK. It’s run by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and asks all graduates who have studied a higher education course in the UK what they’re doing 15 months after finishing their course.

The survey asks:

  • what you are doing now, whether that’s employment, further study, running your own business or something else entirely,
  • why you chose that route or activity,
  • and if you feel that you are using the skills and knowledge gained throughout your degree.

You will receive a link to the survey via email, text or phone 15 months after you complete your course. It takes around 10 minutes to complete.

But, with everything else going on in the world, why should you take the time to do the survey?

In fact, taking part is an essential part of your Higher Education journey, and your response is more important now than ever!

We’re living in uncertain times, with many students and graduates experiencing difficult challenges. The Graduate Outcomes Survey can help the government better understand and measure the impact of the pandemic on graduates’ wellbeing and career plans. The results are also important to universities because it helps us understand this impact, allowing us to further enhance our careers support to make sure we help those who need it.

Still not convinced? Here are four reasons why taking part in the Graduate Outcomes Survey is a great use your time.

  1. Improve university careers support

Universities and other higher education providers look at the results of the Graduate Outcomes Survey to inform their student and graduate support packages. We look at the numbers of graduates who are employed, unemployed, in further study or looking for their next opportunity. Then, Careers Services across the UK use these figures to try to understand how we can further support the students and graduates who need us.

  1. Influence government decisions

The Graduate Outcomes is of national significance. Charities, policy-makers, researchers and the government use it to understand the higher education sector and the graduate labour market. The government can use survey responses to identify key trends within different sectors, which helps them to plan and take action to help struggling areas of the economy.

  1. Tell employers what success means to you

Student and graduate recruiters can look at the survey results to find out what graduates want out of their first jobs, be it healthy starting salaries, opportunities for development or progression, or work-life balance. Taking part in the survey allows you to have say about what a fulfilling career looks like for you.

  1. Have your voice heard

As the world begins to open up, it’s important to remember that the pandemic will have far-reaching consequences. It’s already clear that organisations and individuals will have to adapt and respond to changed ways of working and living. Taking part in the Graduate Outcomes survey gives you the opportunity to explain how the pandemic has impacted your careers-related decisions, future plans and wellbeing.

Not only will you be asked questions about what you’re doing, but you’ll also be asked how you’re feeling. The purpose of these questions is not to judge or pry, but instead to understand how graduates feel about the current situation and what impact the pandemic has had on you, in comparison to the rest of the population (questions on personal wellbeing feature in UK-wide surveys undertaken by the Office for National Statistics).  

For more information about the Graduate Outcomes survey, see the website. Remember, you can access the Careers Service for two years after you finish your course. This means you can continue to access all of our support and resources, from application advice appointments and one-to-one careers guidance meetings, careers events and fairs to CareerConnect.

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