As postgraduate study has become more popular, increasing attention has been paid to its benefits – particularly in the UK.
This means that data on career prospects and earnings with a Masters degree is now available from various sources.
The following is a quick guide to some of the main sources of information on postgraduate employment and earnings – including those we've used on this page.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
HESA is the largest and most comprehensive provider of information on the outcomes of university study in the UK. This includes information on what students go on to do, the kinds of jobs they end up in and how much money they earn.
HESA operates on a not-for-profit basis as a higher education charity, but the data it collects has an official status and is used by various groups, including the UK Government.
The Graduate Outcomes survey is an annual survey by HESA of university graduates in the UK. It collects information on the activities of students 15 months months after completing their degrees. Find out more about Graduate Outcomes.
The Graduate Labour Market Survey (GLMS)
The Graduate Labour Market Survey is an annual survey compiled by the UK Government using data from the wider Labour Force Survey (LFS). It takes a different approach to the HESA reports mentioned above, in that it assesses the current employment and salary status of all graduates within a certain age range – not just those who graduated in a particular year.
It's possible to filter the GLMS data by 'recent' graduates – those in the 21-30 age bracket – and the entire working population, which makes it somewhat easier to get an idea of what people are doing in the first few years after leaving university.
Graduate outcomes (LEO)
Each year, the UK Government uses tax data to provide information on graduate outcomes. This is known as the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset.
It doesn’t rely on graduates responding to a survey request, so provides a particularly large sample of data to draw from. The information looks at graduate salaries from a particular tax year, tracking the earnings of students at a series of intervals after their graduation with a Masters or PhD.
Using this information
The information on this page is based on the datasets and reports listed above. We’ve picked out some of the most important points to give you a general idea of the value of postgraduate study.
Sadly, we can’t predict the benefit of a specific Masters degree in a specific subject to a specific student in a specific career. We’re pretty good at helping people find Masters degrees, but, well, we’re not magical.
For more help judging the value of postgraduate study, see our guides to making the most of a Masters and our tips for making your Masters count with employers.