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University of the Arts London

Graduate outcomes research

The brief 

UAL was looking to create an alternative to the Graduate Outcomes survey (the UK’s biggest annual social survey of recent graduates), which they felt didn’t suit the specific circumstances of their learners in many cases. Additionally, UAL wanted to investigate what they could put in place to help recent graduates to achieve their goals with regard to graduate outcomes. In light of COVID-19, they also wanted to expose and highlight some of the potentially inequitable impacts of the pandemic in this respect within the creative industries.

The approach

  • In order to understand the suitability of the existing Graduate Outcomes survey, 20 cognitive interviews were carried out with recent graduates to test key survey questions. ​
  • In order to understand UAL graduates’ current employment statuses, routes and barriers to employment, and any further support desired, the research used: a short online survey to all 2020 graduates to capture and quantify their outcomes and perspectives (with 238 usable responses), and mobile ethnography study of 32 under-employed graduates across UAL to investigate their past experiences and current work-seeking behaviours and experiences. ​

The value

In addition to detailing the suitability of existing survey questions, the study provided important information for UAL regarding:​

  • The current employment statuses of UAL graduates.​
  • Barriers to employment/desired employment.​
  • How those employed/in desired employment had obtained their position.​
  • The support required from graduates.