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Findings so far...


The Survey:

Stage 1 Choices, funding and expectations: applying to higher education.

The Stage 1 survey went live in the summer of 2006. Applicants were encouraged to complete the survey, regardless of whether they decided to go into higher education, pursue other options or if they didn’t get the UCAS points to progress further.

There were nearly 130,000 useable responses from 277 higher education institutions. Of which:

  • 105,000 were in higher education
  • 22,000 doing other things (such as working)

  • 86% were UK applicants
  • 14% were international applicants
  • 80% were aged 21 or under.

Stage 2 Plans, aspirations and realities: the experience of students in their first year of higher education.

  • Over 80% of Futuretrack respondents agreed that the tuition and learning support their received on their course was excellent.
  • Students studying at highest tariff universities were most likely to be satisfied with access to library resources and web-based learning facilities.
  • Students from general HE colleges were most likely to take part in extra-curricular activities outside the university.
  • 36% worked both during term-time and in vacations.

Stage 3 How higher education courses and study contexts impacted on students’ assessments, evaluations and predictions of educational outcomes.

  • More than half of the mature students hoped to find employment related to their long-term career plans in the year after they graduated. They were the only group for whom this figure was over 50 per cent.
  • In most regions, between 40-50 per cent of the finalists had undertaken paid work, but students in Northern Ireland and Scotland were considerably more likely to have done so, whereas those in Wales and the East of England were least likely to have had such jobs.
  • Mature students, male students, black students, students studying discipline-based academic subjects, students studying at higher or medium tariff universities, and European or overseas students were more aware than other respondents of the services their University Careers Service offered.

Stage 4 Transitions into employment, further study and other outcomes

  • Approximately 40% of graduates were in non-graduate employment, and more than 10% had experienced significant spells of unemployment.
  • 60% graduates in employment were satisfied with their job. Ten per cent were very dissatisfied. Overall 29% said that they took their current job because it was exactly the type of work they wanted.
  • Almost half of graduates from English universities had debts of £20,000 or more. For those who attended a Scottish university only 1 in 6 had similar levels of debt.
  • Approximately 60% of graduates agreed to some extent that their degree had been good value for money and approximately a quarter disagreed to some extent.
  • Only 21% of graduates had no work experience at all at the time they graduated.
  • Around three-quarters of graduates thought they possessed all the skills employers were looking for when recruiting for the type of job they wanted.
  • Two thirds of all graduates agreed that they were optimistic about their long-term career prospects.
  • Just 4% of graduates would choose not to go into HE if they were facing today (the time of the survey) the choice they made in 2005/06


Stage 1

Stage 1 Summary Report(PDF Document)

Stage 1 Full Report(PDF Document)

Stage 2

Stage 2 Summary Report(PDF Document)

Stage 2 Full Report(PDF Document)

Stage 3

Stage 3 Summary Report(PDF Document)

Stage 4

Stage 4 Summary Report (PDF Document)

Stage 4 Full Report(PDF Document)

Stage 5

Stage 5 Summary Report (PDF Document)

Stage 5 Full Report(PDF Document)


Launch of Stage 4 Report(PDF Document)

Working Papers

'A New Classification of Higher Education Institutions'(PDF Document)

'Job Search and Motivations'(PDF Document)

'Paid Work and Debt'(PDF Document)

'Skills Development and Perceptions of Skills Required'(PDF Document)

'Classifying graduate occupations for the knowledge society' (PDF Document)

'The earnings of graduates: reviewing the evidence from Futuretrack' (PDF Document)

Northern Ireland

'Northern Ireland's students : key findings from the Futuretrack Stage 1 survey', Labour Market Bulletin, (22), 117 - 132 (1351-4504)(PDF Document)

'Northern Ireland's students approaching graduation: key findings from the Futuretrack survey of final year students on three year courses', Labour Market Bulletin, 24 97 - 105 (1351-4504) (PDF Document)

'Northern Ireland's students: key findings from the Futuretrack survey of final year students on three year courses: Report prepared for the Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI)' (PDF Document)