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Social class inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes: the role of spatial job opportunities

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number201
Early online date19 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2018


This paper provides new important evidence on the spatial dimension of social class inequalities in graduates’ labour market outcomes, an aspect largely overlooked within the existing literature. Using data from the HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Early and Longitudinal Survey (DLHE) for the 2008/09 graduate cohort and applying multilevel logistic regression models, we investigate whether and the extent to which social class inequalities in graduates’ occupational outcomes vary depending on the job opportunities in the geographical area where they find employment. By examining different macro-level indicators, we find wider social inequalities by parental social class in areas with fewer opportunities in high professional and managerial occupations and smaller inequalities in areas with more opportunities. Interestingly, this pattern applies only to graduates who moved away from their place of origin. We interpret this finding as the result of selective migration, i.e. areas with more opportunities attract the better-qualified graduates irrespective of their social origin. Finally, graduates’ HE experiences - in particular, their field of study - and sector of employment explain most of the social class gap in areas with fewer job opportunities

    Research areas

  • social class inequalities, graduates, professional jobs, job opportunities

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