Uncovering employment outcomes for autistic university graduates in the United Kingdom: An analysis of population data

Vincent, Jonathan and Ralston, Kevin (2023) Uncovering employment outcomes for autistic university graduates in the United Kingdom: An analysis of population data. Autism. ISSN 1362-3613

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Abstract

International research suggests that increasing numbers of autistic people are entering higher education. Currently, very little is known about this population. For example, the rates of autistic people enrolling at UK-based higher education institutions, the demographics of this population, the subjects they study and particularly their graduate outcomes are unknown. This study is an exploratory analysis of autistic graduate outcomes. We compare outcomes between autistic students, other disabled students and non-disabled students, by sex. The article draws upon population data collected by the Higher Education Statistical Agency in the United Kingdom ( N = 1,326,416) across the years 2012–2018. Our findings indicate that the academic programmes studied at university by autistic students are more diverse than typically assumed. We also found that graduates make the transition into a range of employment sectors following graduation, but experience persistent and disparities in economic activity and income. We argue that higher education institutions must focus greater attention on developing more robust and effective employment transition support for autistic students and graduates. Lay abstract International research suggests that more autistic people are entering higher education. Currently, very little is known about this group in the United Kingdom, for example, we have little information about how many autistic people enrol at UK-based higher education institutions, their backgrounds, the academic programmes they study and what they do once they have graduated. Our study tries to explore these issues by comparing outcomes between autistic students, other disabled students and non-disabled students. We use population data collected by the Higher Education Statistical Agency in the United Kingdom, which included 1,326,416 graduates across the years 2012–2018. Our findings indicate that the degree subjects studied at university by autistic students are more diverse than often people think. We also found that graduates go on to work in a range of employment sectors following graduation but often experience worse outcomes in terms of access to full-time work and worse pay. We argue that universities and colleges must focus greater attention on developing better employment transition support for autistic students and graduates.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Autism
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3204
Subjects:
ID Code:
197865
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
05 Jul 2023 13:30
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 02:01