Official statistic: Key performance measure 17

Graduate wellbeing

Graduates who previously studied full-time were less likely to score very high for life satisfaction 15 months after graduation than the general population (including graduates).

What does this show?

KPM 17 compares graduates 15 months after graduation with the general population (including graduates) of all ages on two of the four Office for National Statistics (ONS) questions on personal wellbeing.

The benefits of higher education are not solely concentrated in greater employability or academic progress, vital though these are. Higher education also enriches lives in a much broader sense, and this measure seeks to go some way to capture that benefit.

The measure shows the percentage of respondents to the Graduate Outcomes survey who scored very high for life satisfaction and for feeling that things done in life are worthwhile.

Respondents are split into four graduate groups based on the mode and level they previously studied at. These percentages are compared to percentages from the ONS’ Annual Population Survey, reported as part of their "measuring national wellbeing" dashboard.

A lower proportion of full-time graduates score very high for both of the questions than part-time graduates, at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

For life satisfaction, graduates who studied full-time were less likely to score very high than the general population (as reported in the APS, which surveys UK residents aged 16-years-and-over and will therefore include both graduates and non-graduates).

The data used to produce this KPM was published previously and includes data on the other two ONS questions on personal wellbeing.

Get the data

About the measure

The measure shows the percentage of respondents giving the most positive scores to two of the four personal wellbeing questions on the Graduate Outcomes survey, by level and mode of previous study. These are compared with percentages from the Annual Population Survey.

These two personal wellbeing questions reflect the 'evaluative' and 'eudemonic' approaches to measuring subjective wellbeing, which best reflect our strategic focus on higher education that enriches lives and enables students to flourish. Find out more about the theoretical approaches used in the ONS personal wellbeing questions.

  • Frequency: Annual
  • Population: Graduates from English providers who responded to the wellbeing questions in the Graduate Outcomes survey, who were UK-domiciled at the start of their studies
  • Comparisons made with the April 2019 to March 2020 Annual Population Survey results, which surveys members of the UK public aged 16-and-over. Graduates are included in this survey. Please note this is more recent APS data than was used in Graduate wellbeing recorded in the Graduate Outcomes survey
  • Data sources: Individual student data from HESA and the Individual Learner Record from ESFA, responses to the Graduate Outcomes survey and data from the ONS’ “Measuring national wellbeing” dashboard
  • Available: Summer each year. The survey is carried out around 15 months after graduates have completed their higher education course.

For more details about the personal wellbeing data on the Graduate Outcomes survey, please see our report Graduate wellbeing recorded in the Graduate Outcomes survey.


If you have any queries about the statistics published as KPM 17, please contact Paula Duffin at [email protected].

If you have any queries about our overall approach or on individual measures, please contact Josh Fleming at [email protected].

OfS strategy

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Last updated 15 February 2021
15 February 2021
Availability changed to summer each year

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