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This is an archived section of the Scottish Government website. External links, forms and search may not work on archived pages and content/contact details are likely to be out of date.

This page relates to the 2007 version of the National Performance Framework. Information about the current version of the NPF is available on the Scotland Performs Home Page.

SP Two columns

Current Status

63.1% of students graduating in 2009/10 were in positive destinations 6 months after graduating compared to 66.5% in 2008/09.

In 2002-03, 61.5% of graduates were in positive destinations 6 months after graduating. During the following 3 years this proportion rose to 70.0% in 2005-06 and then 70.3% in 2006-07. The proportion of graduates in positive destinations then declined each year: to 63.1% in 2009-10.

More on Scottish domiciled graduates

National Indicator


Increase the percentage of Scottish domiciled graduates from Scottish Higher Education Institutions

Increase the percentage of Scottish domiciled graduates from Scottish Higher Education Institutions

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Why is this National Indicator important?

The Government's purpose, of delivering a significantly higher level of sustainable economic growth for the benefit of all, requires Scotland to have an increasingly skilled workforce and an economy in which the skills of all are fully utilised. The great majority of Scottish graduates ultimately find graduate level jobs. As people with graduate and post graduate skills will increasingly drive the step change in Scotland's economy, it is crucial that the learning and skills they have acquired during their time in higher education are put to immediate and effective use in the workplace. The match between demanding employers and highly skilled graduates is a key priority.

It is therefore important to ensure that all students have the opportunity to acquire and develop the skills employers need in order that they can make an immediate and positive impact on joining the workforce.

What will influence this National Indicator?

For more graduates and postgraduates to achieve positive destinations, there needs to be an increased demand for graduate and postgraduate skills within the Scottish economy and graduates in turn need to bring to employers the skills and capacities that successful businesses require.

The indicator will show a positive movement if:

  • Scottish employers are ambitious in taking advantage of the skills of our graduates
  • prospective students get the right advice on how to realise their aspirations and fulfil their potential; and
  • they learn skills in our universities that help them find high quality employment in Scotland

The design of higher education courses that provide students with employability skills, whether through including elements of work experience or by other means will have a role in this, as will effective information advice and guidance to help students select courses which will meet and build their capacities and lead to positive outcomes, and to identify career opportunities during the time that they are studying.

What is the Government's role?

As part of its wider Skills utilisation work government can begin to work with business and other partners, to increase the demand for skills as a function of ambitious, innovative businesses helping to create a virtuous circle whereby a thriving economy demands more graduates who in turn further drive forward Scotland's economic performance.

The design and content of university courses is the responsibility of individual institutions. Government can, however, through its guidance to the Scottish Funding Council, encourage developing the employability of graduates, whether through the adoption of specific employability programmes or as an integral part of HE courses. Working through Skills Development Scotland and universities and colleges, government will support the improvement of careers information advice and guidance services for prospective students, graduates and employers.

How are we performing?

Of the students graduating in 2009/10, 63.1% were in positive destinations 6 months after graduating. This is 3.5 percentage points lower than the equivalent figure of 66.5% for students graduating in 2008/09, indicating a worsening of the position.

Positive destinations 6 months after graduating

View data on positive destinations for graduates

Source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

A better measure of positive destinations would be one that looks at the percentage of Scottish domiciled graduates from Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) that are in graduate level jobs in Scotland or further study at a stage beyond the 6 month point. The development of a new measurement with sufficient historic data to allow a robust time-series to be identified is currently under investigation.

Data has been collected relating to the 3.5 year destinations of those graduating in academic year 2004/05. This data shows that in November 2008, 70.0% of Scottish domiciled graduates from Scottish HEIs in 2004/05 were in positive destinations.

SP NI 8 chart 2

Source: Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Longitudinal Survey 2007, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)


The evaluation of performance based on this proxy measure is based on the following consideration. Any difference in the percentage within +/- 2 percentage points of the previous year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. An increase of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas a decrease of 2 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening. The threshold of 2 percentage points chosen is based on an assessment of the data available at this time, and may need to be reviewed as more information becomes available in the future.

For information on general methodological approach, please click here.

Further Information

Scotland Performs Technical Note

Statistics Topic Page

Who are our partners?

Business Organisations


Scottish Funding Council

Sector Skills Councils

Skills Development Scotland


Related Strategic Objectives



Wealthier and Fairer

View National Indicator data

Downloadable document:

Graduate destinations dataGraduate destinations data [XLS, 33.5 kb: 27 Sep 2011]
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Performance Improving


Performance Maintaining


Performance Worsening

no info

Performance data currently being collected