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A longer-term investigation of the careers of UK graduates

Researchers: Professor Peter Elias

Project overview

This project aims to provide policy-relevant findings about the impacts of recession, growth in the supply of graduate labour, the longer-term impact of debt on graduate careers, and the factors that lead to success and underemployment in the graduate labour market.

The researchers will conduct a fifth wave of the Futuretrack survey and 200 detailed follow-up interviews with a sub-sample of respondents, to investigate 2009/10 graduates’ careers seven years on.  This cohort has experienced ‘3,000 tuition fees, with many accumulating substantial levels of debt and graduation into a precarious labour market in the wake of the 2008/09 recession. This project will provide a more comprehensive picture of these issues, including valuable evidence about graduate labour market integration beyond early careers and insight into the role of values, preferences, and access to relevant networks in understanding graduate outcomes.

Between 1995 and 2015, the structure and organisation of higher education and the UK graduate labour market have changed radically.  The timing of this project will enable comparisons with the research team’s previous study of the early career trajectories of 1995 graduates that had studied amidst a period of prolonged growth and subsidised education.

Latest on this project


  • Professor Peter Elias
    University of Warwick

  • Cheryl Lloyd
    Programme Head, Education
    Nuffield Foundation
  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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