Intentions After Graduation Survey

Intentions After Graduation Survey 2016-17

These pages highlight key results of the 2016-17 Intentions After Graduation Survey and compare them with those of previous surveys. They also show how actual destinations after graduation compare with students’ original intentions.

To further explore the data behind the analysis, use the interactive charts in sections 4, 5, 7 and 8 of this guide. See the technical document below for details of the methodology used for the analysis and ways to use the interactive charts.

Key points

Between January and April 2017 final year undergraduates on first degree courses were invited to answer the survey about their intentions after graduation. Overall, nearly 83,000 final year students from 268 UK higher education providers that take part in the National Student Survey (NSS) responded to the Intentions After Graduation Survey. This analysis focuses on almost 70,000 students at 238 English providers.

A clear upward trend in the percentage of students who intend to undertake postgraduate study
2016-17 survey

While the students’ most frequent intention within six months from graduation is to ‘look for a job’ (around 50 per cent of respondents each year), there is a clear upward trend in the percentage of students who intend to undertake postgraduate (PG) study. Among 2016-17 respondents, more than one student out of five selected ‘further study’ as their intention after graduation.

To ease interpretation, we classify students into four groups of ‘intention to further study’, using responses to a combination of questions. As the surveys’ structures varied over years, we can look at this composite measure of intention only from 2013-14 survey onwards.


For all students, the intention to continue studying becomes greater further in the future (i.e. more than six months after graduation). Of students who are certain or likely to study at PG level in the future, 55 per cent intend to look for a job or have already been offered a job when surveyed.

In terms of motivation, almost 70 per cent of the students who intend or are likely to continue studying selected ‘interest in the subject’ as a reason for their intention. Only 35 per cent of the students would continue to study, among other reasons, to get a better job or to open up more career choices.

Female students are more likely to intend to continue to study than male students, as are black students relative to other ethnic groups. Also, young students from the lowest-participation areas are more likely to state an intention to continue study relative to those from higher-participation areas.


Technical document

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