UK Higher Education Overview
Updated over a week ago

The Higher Education Overview Report will help you understand the labour market demand for subject areas at a graduate level in a specific region. It includes structural economic data on the target occupations as well as Big Data metrics from job postings and worker profiles, plus the potential supply of new graduates into the labour market from HESA. In addition to being able to quantify the labour market opportunity with Openings* and job counts, the report includes measures of skills demand and supply, hiring companies, detailed job titles, and other subject areas that connect to the same occupations.

To generate the report, type in your selected subject area in the course field; alternatively enter the CAH code (viz. HESA’s Common Aggregation Hierarchy). Then choose a region or regions: either Government Office Region, home nation or UK, and the Qualifiers Year, which denotes the year of HESA data to be used in your query.

In this example, we will be looking at the subject area Accounting in the East Midlands; the time range selected is 2022-2027. When you run the report, the subject area will be associated with occupations that graduates could reasonably expect to target based on their subject of study.

* Openings are the amount of newly created jobs in addition to job churn for an occupation in the given timeframe. This includes retirement, promotions and changing employment.

Target Occupations

This is the first set of data in the Higher Education Overview. Use these structural economic metrics to quantify relevant labour market demand for graduates and the opportunity relative to the rest of the country.

The report begins with a summary of the total number of jobs that exist in the targeted occupations in the selected region. Here we can see the total number of jobs related to Higher Education study in Accounting in 2022 to be 42,567 in the East Midlands, that the number of jobs is projected to increase by 3.2% between 2020 and 2027, a higher growth rate than the national average, and that median annual salaries in the region are £6,200 below the national average.

Below the summary figures are the metrics for each of the targeted occupations associated with the subject area in a table. As well as the breakdowns of the data summarised above, the key metrics of Annual Openings and Location Quotient are included. Openings is a measure of demand and Location Quotient** indicates whether there’s a concentration of the occupation in the area relative to the national average.

** Location Quotient (LQ) is a way of quantifying how concentrated a particular industry, cluster, occupation, or demographic group is in a region as compared to the nation. It can reveal what makes a particular region “unique” in comparison to the national average. An LQ higher than 1 indicates a higher concentration than the national average.

Regional Qualifiers by Award Level

This data helps characterise the regional supply of new labour potentially available to the region’s graduate labour market in terms of the level of qualification held.

The Qualifiers metric is a count of the number of students completing a Higher Education qualification in the selected subject area in the selected year (NB the count is derived from Higher Education Statistics Agency data and is subject to HESA rounding requirements). In the East Midlands, we can see the distribution of Qualifiers for Accounting by award level in 2021 (other years can be selected from the left hand menu), and the vast majority are at Level 6 with a quarter at Level 7; HE awards at other levels are insignificant.

Regional Trends

Use Regional Trends to identify supply trends into the labour market. Juxtaposing these with labour market demand trends shown in the Target Occupations enable you to uncover potential areas of undersupply or oversupply of new graduate workers within the region.

The regional trends graph shows the number of Qualifiers in the region over time compared to the whole of the United Kingdom. While the growth in labour market demand projected for occupations relevant to accounting graduates is strong in the East Midlands, there is also a strong growth trend in Qualifiers. This illustrates the importance of contextualising labour market demand with talent supply.

In-Demand Skills

Use skills data to inform the design, development and delivery of provision to ensure it reflects employer demand.

Skills demand is provided in terms of specialised skills (knowledge and competencies requiring domain expertise) and common skills (attributes, human skills and competencies which are in demand across multiple occupations - hence the label ‘common’). The skills are listed according to the volume of citations in Lightcast’s online job postings data. Job posting data will only be shown for years where there is data, so future years do not generate a report and current year only includes the data available until the latest available month.

You can alter the time period of the job postings that the skills data is derived from using the Jobs Timeframe menu on the left hand side. When selecting the time frame, it’s worth considering that skills demand can change more frequently than other metrics, and the longer the time frame that's been selected, the more likely you are to see the most stable skills being reported.

The report defaults to showing data for hiring companies only. You can widen the sample to include postings from staffing companies (recruitment agencies) using the toggle on the left hand menu.

Top Specialised Skills

These are the top specialised or hard skills sought by employers for the occupations associated with the selected subject area using Lightcast’s Big Data from online job postings.

Top Common Skills

These are the top common skills, including soft, ‘human’, ‘21st century’, and transferable skills, sought by employers for the occupations associated with the selected subject area using Lightcast’s Big Data from online job postings.

Job Postings Overview

Use these figures to establish the sample size for the data derived from online job postings together with indicators for the ease of hiring relative to elsewhere in the country. Hard to fill roles can present an opportunity for new entrants into the labour market.

We often find that businesses post multiple times for a single position in order to attract a higher number of applicants. For example, though there were 29k postings for people in an Accounting related job over a one-year period in the East Midlands, only 14k positions were actually being advertised. This discrepancy comes out to be a two-to-one ratio, meaning that for every two job postings there was one unique posting.

The posting duration provides an insight into how long positions needed to be advertised before they attracted enough candidates or the positions were filled. Note that the maximum duration we record is 60 days.

Top Posted Job Titles / Top Companies Posting

Describe the job opportunities in terms of real world job titles and the actual companies hiring in your region to bring the data to life and provide tangible data for employer engagement.

Occupations tend to be broad job families and don’t always reflect the language used to describe actual jobs. Seeing which job titles are trending gives real-world insight into the positions employers have been seeking to fill. Knowing which companies in a region are recruiting for those positions is key to informing employer engagement and illustrating to students what the opportunities are.

Use these tables to understand the posting trends in your area. Like the job postings overview above, here you can see the number of unique postings and the posting intensity ratio, as well as the median number of days for postings to stay active online.

When reporting on Top Companies, check the Company Type filter on the left hand side to filter out recruitment agencies by selecting ‘Non-Staffing Companies’; this is its default setting.

In the East Midlands, we can see that Management Accountants, Project Managers, Buyers and Finance Business Partners are trending job titles and that jobs are prevalent across a range of industries, with opportunities driven by the NHS, Barclays and RSM.

Top Certifications

These are typically professional qualifications that we can see being mentioned in job postings.

Knowing which additional credentials have currency in the labour market can help with decisions around aligning courses to the requirements of professional bodies.

Similar Courses

This illuminates which subject areas might also be supplying the same graduate opportunities in the region and ranks them by the number of Qualifiers.

Very few jobs have a hard requirement for a specific degree, so understanding the other subject areas that might connect to one or more of the occupations you’re targeting is helpful to understand the competitive market for graduates entering the world of work.

As well as Accounting, students from courses in Business Studies and Management Studies are significant sources of new graduate labour for some of the same targeted occupations in the East Midlands. While there are 12 overlapping subject areas, only the top 5 in terms of Qualifiers are listed. The full data can be generated in the Education Pipeline report.

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